Take action against Rodeos – Written by Little Oak Sanctuary

Also see:  http://animalsaustralia.org/issues/rodeos.php

Words and images by Little Oak Sanctuary

“The immorality of rodeos extends to the arrogance of the riders and their attitude to the animals, and to the way the audience is demeaned by watching such a tawdry spectacle.” Veterinarian, on attending an Australian rodeo.

Early in November, we went along to the Bungendore Rodeo to bear witness to what the animals endure, and share their plight with the public.

Rodeos are strongly opposed by the RSPCA and are indeed widely condemned by all animal protection organisations.

Whilst we certainly appreciate how important for rural communities to come together and support each other, we disagree that this should come at the price of invoking fear – or a fight or flight response from animals for the sole purpose of entertainment.

We have attended several local rodeos ourselves in order to witness first-hand what happens at these events. We have witnessed the fear and distress of the animals, many horses showed stressed facial expressions (extended upper lip, widened nostrils, lips drawn back, tail squeezed in, tensed muzzle, which suggest a negative emotional condition ), we have seen calves and steers having their tails twisted to ensure they exit the chute into the arena where they will be pulled backwards into the air before being body slammed to the ground. We’ve seen excessive electric goading of bulls prior to them entering the arena. We’ve seen horses so distressed by the flank strap that they continue bucking, crashing head first into the fencing before a steward is able to release the strap.Horses with a wide-open mouth were also observed, which has to be attributed to the described stressed facial expressions. From an animal protection point of view, the flank strap has to be seen as a cause of suffering (stress, anxiety, fear) and as a potential cause of pain.

At this current event we saw much of the same, however we also saw something that we had not seen before, namely the “Wild Pony Race” where three men try to overpower a desperate, terrified pony – purely to create a spectacle for the audience. (Images attached).

An expert addressing the Wild Horse/Pony Event from the “Expert opinion regarding rodeo events in the Federal Republic of Germany from a legal1, ethological and ethical perspective” states:

“It was absolutely impossible to see the sporting aspect of this discipline, as it was apparent that the sole objective was to force the horse to do spectacular stunts for the spectators’ entertainment. The spectators are given the impression that it takes several men to “tame a wild horse“ (“wild horses fighting against men power“). Apart from the high injury risk for the horses, events that have men fighting against animals violate the established set of values for the handling of animals and cannot be tolerated anymore these days.”

As it turns out the ponies taking place in this event at Bungendore Rodeo were not wild horses. They were in fact, well bred hackney ponies, several of whom had been broken to harness, several others halter broken. Why anyone would subject such valuable horses to this form of treatment and threat of potential injury is beyond our comprehension, but goes to show that horses don’t have to be ‘wild’ to be terrified by this event.

When the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association became aware this event had taken place they were apparently very upset and are now investigating the inclusion of this event at Bungendore Rodeo as are NSW RSPCA and Animals Australia. The Bungendore Rodeo committee perhaps knew this event would be controversial, having omitted it from the program, advertising it only as a “novelty pony ride”.

It’s also worth considering the welfare codes that rodeos currently operate within. In 1988 the NSW Code of Practice said this event should be phased out by June 1989. It has been banned in South Australia and Victoria. In an attempt to make it appear more palatable it now occurs under the name of “rope and tie” but is in fact the exactly same event. The welfare codes that the Rodeo operates under are also supposed to be reviewed every two years (The Code is based on knowledge available at the time of publication and should be reviewed at intervals of no longer than 2 years to maintain the highest possible standards). Currently they have not been reviewed for over 27 years (Last Reviewed 30 April 1988).

“The immorality of rodeos extends to the arrogance of the riders and their attitude to the animals, and to the way the audience is demeaned by watching such a tawdry spectacle.” Veterinarian, on attending an Australian rodeo

Early in November, we went along to the Bungendore Rodeo to bear witness to what the animals endure, and share their plight with the public.

Rodeos are strongly opposed by the RSPCA and are indeed widely condemned by all animal protection organisations.

Whilst we certainly appreciate how important for rural communities to come together and support each other, we disagree that this should come at the price of invoking fear – or a fight or flight response from animals for the sole purpose of entertainment.

We have attended several local rodeos ourselves in order to witness first-hand what happens at these events.  We have witnessed the fear and distress of the animals, many horses showed stressed facial expressions (extended upper lip, widened nostrils, lips drawn back, tail squeezed in, tensed muzzle, which suggest a negative emotional condition ), we have seen calves and steers having their tails twisted to ensure they exit the chute into the arena where they will be pulled backwards into the air before being body slammed to the ground.  We’ve seen excessive electric goading of bulls prior to them entering the arena.  We’ve seen horses so distressed by the flank strap that they continue bucking, crashing head first into the fencing before a steward is able to release the strap.Horses with a wide-open mouth were also observed, which has to be attributed to the described stressed facial expressions. From an animal protection point of view, the flank strap has to be seen as a cause of suffering (stress, anxiety, fear) and as a potential cause of pain.

At this current event we saw much of the same, however we also saw something that we had not seen before, namely the “Wild Pony Race” where three men try to overpower a desperate, terrified pony – purely to create a spectacle for the audience. (Images attached).

An expert addressing the Wild Horse/Pony Event from the “Expert opinion regarding rodeo events in the Federal Republic of Germany from a legal1, ethological and ethical perspective” states:

 “It was absolutely impossible to see the sporting aspect of this discipline, as it was apparent that the sole objective was to force the horse to do spectacular stunts for the spectators’ entertainment. The spectators are given the impression that it takes several men to “tame a wild horse“ (“wild horses fighting against men power“). Apart from the high injury risk for the horses, events that have men fighting against animals violate the established set of values for the handling of animals and cannot be tolerated anymore these days.”

As it turns out the ponies taking place in this event at Bungendore Rodeo were not wild horses.  They were in fact, well bred hackney ponies, several of whom had been broken to harness, several others halter broken.  Why anyone would subject such valuable horses to this form of treatment and threat of potential injury is beyond our comprehension, but goes to show that horses don’t have to be ‘wild’ to be terrified by this event.

When the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association became aware this event had taken place they were apparently very upset and are now investigating the inclusion of this event at Bungendore Rodeo as are NSW RSPCA and Animals Australia.  The Bungendore Rodeo committee perhaps knew this event would be controversial, having omitted it from the program, advertising it only as a “novelty pony ride”.

CALF ROPING
It’s also worth considering the welfare codes that rodeos currently operate within.  In 1988 the NSW Code of Practice said this event should be phased out by June 1989.  It has been banned in South Australia and Victoria. In an attempt to make it appear more palatable it now occurs under the name of “rope and tie” but is in fact the exactly same event.   The welfare codes that the Rodeo operates under are also supposed to be reviewed every two years (The Code is based on knowledge available at the time of publication and should be reviewed at intervals of no longer than 2 years to maintain the highest possible standards).  Currently they have not been reviewed for over 27 years (Last Reviewed 30 April 1988).

NSW Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals Used in Rodeo Events
4.8 An animal which attempts to jump out of the chutes in a manner which may cause it to injure itself shall be released immediately

What you can do

Tormenting frightened and unwilling animals in an attempt to demonstrate the ‘brute strength’ of man is a spectacle that has no place in modern society. Please join other caring Australians who object to animal abuse by pledging never to support these cruel events.

  • Click here to sign the pledge to ‘Say No to Rodeos’, and ask your family and friends to do the same!
  • Write to your local MP or local council, as well as your local newspaper, stating the facts about the cruelty of rodeos and why they should be banned (Note: Rodeos are permitted in all States, and the NT, but not in the ACT).
  • Write to rodeo sponsors. Rodeos would not be financially viable without sponsors. If you see signs advertising Rodeos that mention sponsors, write to them and let them know why they shouldn’t be supporting these events.

    • Sponsors of the Bungendore Rodeo were:

      • Akubra
      • Amey Brothers
      • Baker Deane & Nutt
      • BJH Osborne
      • Bungendore Caltex Service Centre
      • Bungendore Chiropractic
      • Bungendore Concrete
      • Bungendore Country Butchery
      • Bungendore Drillers
      • Bungendore Foodworks
      • Bungendore Landscape Supplies
      • Bungendore Physio
      • Bungendore Produce
      • Bungendore Rural
      • Bungendore Veterinary Surgery
      • Bungendore Water Bores
      • Canturf Lawns
      • Carwoola Pastrol Co
      • Cleanseeds Pty Ltd
      • Corkhill Brothers
      • Ellendon P L
      • Elvin Group
      • Estate Realty Palerang
      • Gunna Doo Bakery
      • Hiscocks Saddlery
      • Holcim (Australia ) Pty Ltd
      • Impress Printers
      • Infigen Energy
      • Just Law
      • Landtasia
      • Monaro Concrete Pumping
      • Ogilvie Auto Repairs
      • Rural Patterson Co
      • Schmidt Quarries
      • The Feed Shed
      • The Royal Hotel
      • Taylors of Bungendore Pty Ltd
      • Tobiway Crushing
      • Veoila Environmental Services
      • W. J.Gibbs & Co

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.