24 Jan 2017

Rodeo abuse claims: Three firms pull sponsorship

5:58 pm on 24 January 2017

Three national real estate companies have cancelled their sponsorship of a Northland rodeo because of concerns around animal mistreatment.

Rodeo footage shows animals restrained, in distress

Anti-Rodeo Action filmed the alleged breaches at the Maungatapere Mid Northern Rodeo. Photo: RNZ / YouTube

Checkpoint with John Campbell yesterday revealed footage of the Mid Northern Rodeo that appeared to show calves being electric-shocked, which is against government regulations, as well as animals in states of distress.

A Ministry for Primary Industries investigation into the allegations is still under way, but today real estate companies LJ Hooker, Harcourts and Ray White all cancelled their sponsorship of the rodeo.

LJ Hooker and Harcourts said they would be directing their franchises not to sponsor rodeo events.

LJ Hooker said in a statement it "does not condone any form of animal cruelty", despite its New Zealand general manager, Keith Niederer, earlier saying the company had "more important things to worry about".

Ray White NZ said it only learned today that one of its franchises sponsored the Mid Northern Rodeo, but it "does not endorse the sponsoring of rodeos", and requested the sponsorship be withdrawn.

Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy said he spoke to the companies' Whangarei branch 10 minutes after he learned of its sponsorship of the rodeo.

"This is not something that I as a CEO condone and this is not something we as an organisation condone. We're a franchised operation and we can't be across every level of sponsorship in every province in every town and every region.

"I don't enjoy seeing animals suffer and I'll take fairly swift action with our franchise owners and ask them to remove that type of sponsorship."

Several other large businesses listed as sponsors were yet to respond to requests for comment.

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