Mid Northern Rodeo animal handler guilty of animal cruelty

We welcome the news that an animal handler at the Mid Northern Rodeo has been formally warned for cruelty by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) but it is not enough. Charges were laid over evidence compiled by volunteer investigators from Anti-Rodeo Action NZ at the rodeo, in January 2017, showing young calves being shocked with an electric prod – cruelty which is prohibited under the Rodeos Code of Welfare – as well as inflicting painful electric shocks on older cattle, deemed unnecessary and unreasonable, which contravenes Section 29(a) of the Animal Welfare Act.
“At every single rodeo we see abuse of the most vulnerable of animals,” says SAFE campaigns director Mandy Carter. “In calf roping, weeks old calves are forced to endure being chased, wrenched off their feet by ropes, slammed to the ground, then have their legs roughly tied together. Even worse, at the Mid Northern Rodeo they were goaded with painful electric shocks before even entering the arena. This kind of treatment of those who most need our protection cannot be allowed to continue. MPI must take urgent action to prohibit rodeo events, starting with calf roping.”
In 2014, three formal warnings under the Rodeos Code of Welfare led to the closure of Huntly Rodeo, after rodeo officials stated they could not guarantee the safety of the animals at future events. In November 2016, MPI confirmed that seven rodeos were in breach of the Rodeos Code of Welfare in the 2014/15 season, with numerous breaches in the following season. MPI are still investigating complaints from the 2016/17 season.
The footage on which the formal MPI warning to the Mid Northern Rodeo animal handler was based, shocked New Zealanders and led to a number of sponsors including LJ Hooker, Harcourts and Ray White, dropping their support of the rodeo after being contacted by SAFE and members of the public. 

The repeated breaches of the Rodeos Code of Welfare, and this most recent warning show that the regulations fall well short in protecting animals. The only real solution is a rodeo ban, with an immediate end to calf roping being a top priority. 

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1 June 2017