The government is now taking public submissions on the draft Code of Welfare for rodeos, which governs animal welfare standards for animals used in rodeo, and SAFE is calling for a total ban on this brutal 'sport'.

SAFE and the SPCA, New Zealand's two largest animal welfare agencies, plus respected animal advocacy organisations worldwide, oppose the use of animals in rodeos on animal welfare grounds. This disturbing and outdated form of ‘entertainment' subjects animals to fear, stress, risk of injury and death. It must end - make a submission to call for a ban on all rodeo events.

The draft of the Code proposed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) suggests minor changes that include shortening rodeo events and technical adjustments to the use of spurs - changes which do not address the continued, legalised animal abuse that routinely takes place in the rodeo.

SAFE believes rodeos are in breach of New Zealand's animal welfare act which states (section 4) that animals should be "physically handled in a manner which minimises the likelihood of unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress". By their very nature rodeos deliberately subject animals to fear, stress and torment.

"The review is ineffectual because there is simply no way to make rodeos humane. Rodeos have no place in New Zealand. It's nothing to do with our traditions. It's time for them to go the same way as other brutal blood sports like bear baiting and cock fighting. A total ban on this cruel practice is the only solution," says campaign manager Mandy Carter.

SAFE will be rejecting the 2012 draft code and will call for a ban on rodeos and challenge NAWAC to provide credible research and evidence to support their proposed standards and practices.

"Although legislative action to reduce the level of injuries to animals used in rodeos is a step forward it does not change the fact that rodeos will always be cruel. We urge the public to take a stand for rodeo animals and make their own submissions calling for a total ban on this cruelty," says Ms Carter. "The other key way to help these animals is, of course, to simply never go to a rodeo."

October 2012