13 Jan 2018

Animal rights protest at Northland rodeo

4:59 pm on 13 January 2018

Protesters were at a rodeo event in Northland this afternoon, but a rodeo spokesperson said the action just promotes the sport.

A rodeo protest in Northland by the group Direct Animal Action.

A rodeo protest in Northland by the group Direct Animal Action. Photo: Supplied

Animal rights group Direct Animal Action held large stop signs outside the entrance of the Mid Northern Rodeo in Whangarei, calling for a government ban.

About 100 protesters were at the last event held in Warkworth and some travelled from the Waikato today to attend.

About 70 people turned up to the protest.

However, New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association national spokesperson Michael Laws said the protests do not stop people from attending.

"If anything actually the protest sort of draw attention to the fact the events are happening in an area. In a funny kind of way it promotes our events to the wider public," he said.

Mr Laws said rodeos were held under strict codes and the animals well treated at events attended by thousands.

But Direct Animal Action spokesperson Apollo Taito said support for their cause was growing.

Mr Taito said there was a mixture of old and young people and ex farmers and people had come from as far away as the Waikato.

The next protest is scheduled for 17 February in the Waikato.

"There's this picture that we're a small minority of New Zealanders, but that's not the case at all. We're getting more and more people as demonstrated by our numbers coming to the protest.

"Online there's a whole lot of support from New Zealanders in general and we're not just talking about townies, there's a wide demographic seeing rodeos for what they are."

Mr Taito said the Green Party had introduced a private member's bill against calf-roping and flank straps.