Bill aiming to ban rodeo cruelty welcomed by SAFE

File Photo.

SAFE says a Member’s Bill, announced by Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, means some of the cruellest aspects of rodeo could be banned. 

The Bill aims to ban steer wrestling, calf rope and tie, and the use of flank straps which SAFE says are extremely cruel.

SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald welcomes the news and calls on the Labour Party to take the opportunity to make progress on addressing rodeo cruelty. 

“Prior to the election, the Labour Party promised to ban some of the cruellest aspects of rodeo. Action on that promise is long overdue,” says Marianne.

“Young calves experience severe distress in rope and tie events, where they’re chased down by ‘cowboys’ on horseback, lassoed and thrown to the ground, and have their legs roughly tied together. Normally docile bulls and horses buck wildly when irritating flank straps are pulled tight around their sensitive hindquarters, just as they are forced into the rodeo arena. Gareth Hughes’ Bill will put an end to these and other abusive practices.”

Gareth Hughes’ announcement follows an open letter published in the New Zealand Herald in January, signed by twenty-four veterinarians, animal welfare authorities, and law experts who all support SAFE’s demands that the Labour-led Government uphold its pre-election promise. 

“The writing is on the wall for rodeo. Horizon Research shows that the majority of New Zealanders support a ban on rodeo. Local and international experts have joined these caring Kiwis and now we have the opportunity to outlaw the bullying of animals for entertainment,” says Marianne.

“Labour now faces a Bill that reflects parts of their pre-election promise. We encourage the Government to listen to the wishes of the majority of New Zealanders and take this on as a Government Bill to end the barbaric treatment of animals in rodeo.”