Hamilton City councillors received a hard-hitting message today with a powerful protest from SAFE and local supporters proclaiming ‘Rodeos are animal abuse and your council supports it'. The provocative message highlights the council's support of animal cruelty, with the revelation that the council provided financial support to rodeo organisers.

A huge 6x3 metre billboard was erected directly in front of Hamilton City Council buildings, a day ahead of the international rodeo event. The rodeo event is again being supported by the council in contrast to the action of Auckland City Council, which, in 2008, banned rodeos on council land.

"SAFE received information that not only has the council set a policy that allows cruel events on council land, but they spent ratepayer’s money on it too, by giving sponsorship to the rodeo in 2011. I'm sure rate-payers don't want to fund animal abuse and SAFE is joining locals today in protesting against this cruelty." says SAFE Campaign manager Mandy Carter.

"Animals in rodeo suffer. Our new footage, shot at last year's Hamilton International Rodeo, shows just how much stress and fear they are experiencing. Animals don't want to perform - they are confused and afraid. It's certainly no fun for them, says Ms Carter. "We hope this public message will make the council think again about their events policy. With the rodeo code of welfare also under review right now, the spotlight is on this issue more than ever and there is the chance this is the last year it happens."

The international rodeo was also held in Dunedin last weekend, although Mayor Dave Cull has indicated sympathy for the animals' cause. SAFE will be talking to Dunedin Council, asking them to join Auckland Council in making a commitment to banning all future events of this type.

23 November 2012