Petition to end rodeo presented to Parliament

6:02 pm on 17 March 2016

A petition calling for an end to rodeo signed by more 60,000 people will be handed to Parliament today.

Protesters, who want rodeo to be banned, presented a petition to parliament.

Protesters, who want rodeo to be banned, presented a petition to parliament. Photo: RNZ/Maja Burry

About 60 people including animal rights campaigners, the SPCA, SAFE, and Farmwatch are at the steps of Parliament, and will hand the petition to the Green Party MP Mojo Mathers, asking for the government to make this rodeo season, which finishes this month, the last.

Jasmine Gray from Farmwatch, left, SPCA chief executive Ric Odom, Green Party MP Mojo Mathers and Hans Kriek from SAFE. Animal welfare advocates presented a petition to parliament asking them to ban rodeo.

Jasmine Gray from Farmwatch, left, SPCA chief executive Ric Odom, Green Party MP Mojo Mathers and Hans Kriek from SAFE. Photo: RNZ/Maja Burry

SAFE director Hans Kriek said the animals were put under severe stress in the arena, and it was time for the government to step up.

Protesters, who want rodeo to be banned, presented a petition to parliament.

Protesters outside parliament. Photo: RNZ/Maja Burry

In Auckland rodeo is already banned from Council land but the SPCA, SAFE and Farmwatch want to see the law changed to enforce a nation-wide ban.

SPCA chief executive Ric Odom said rodeos were for the entertainment of people and not for the benefit of animals.

"Sixty three thousand people have signed a petition to say they want rodeos gone, so that's a significant milestone in New Zealand - it sends the message that most New Zealanders, we believe, are saying that rodeo is not something that needs to be in our future. It effectively is cruelty to animals and there is no need for it."

Miss Mathers will present the petition to Parliament and said the government needed to step up and tackle the issue.

"I would hope that the government would take this very seriously because our reputation as leaders of animal welfare is at stake and because this is what New Zealanders want."

But the NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association North Island club director Shane Bird said it abided by the animal welfare code for rodeos.

Mr Bird said it wasn't too worried the petition and crowd numbers at events were up.

"This year I would say crowd numbers on average have been up at every rodeo this year, so it's pretty fair to say the community are still behind rodeos staying within New Zealand and running every weekend during the summer."

Mr Bird said the rodeo community was comfortable with what it was doing and so was the government.

"We take the best care of our animals that we possibly can," Mr Bird said.

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