NZALA Press Release; “Rodeo is Illegal”

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Rodeo is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act and the Animal Welfare (Rodeos) Code of Welfare is legally flawed, says a report published today by the New Zealand Animal Law Association.

Report author, Barrister Catriona MacLennan, said the act protected animals from ill-treatment and required their needs to be met.“Rodeo breaches those provisions by deliberately placing animals in harm’s way for entertainment. Spurs and electric prodders are intentionally used to inflict pain, contrary to the act’s ban on the ill-treatment of animals.“The evidence on which the current, 2014 rodeo code was written was extremely flimsy and is now outdated. No New Zealand-based research or studies have ever been commissioned by the authors of the Code. An urgent review is required.”

Ms MacLennan said that codes could not legalise actions banned by an act. Overseas, there is a growing body of scientific research into rodeo. A 2016 University of Queensland study found acute stress responses in calves used in roping. German research, not considered by the code drafters, found horses in all 137 rodeo starts studied, displayed abnormal behaviour. In “Rider Down” sequences, 94 per cent of the animals displayed harm-avoiding behaviours.

New Zealand Animal Law Association President, Saar Cohen-Ronen, said the association decided to commission the report as there had never been an in-depth study in New Zealand about the law relating to rodeo. “We wanted to draw attention to the problematic legal status of rodeo. The report shows that activities that are prohibited under the act are rendered permissible under the code. That is not a sustainable legal scenario. “NZALA maintains that many rodeo practices – especially those involving cattle – are at odds with the primary legislation and should already be considered illegal. “We say there is an arguable case for the High Court to declare the code incompatible with the act. “This should be a concern not only to animal welfare organisations but also to rodeo cowboys.”

LAUNCH : 6pm, Wednesday 21 March 2018, West Foyer, Parliament Buildings.
Speakers: Report author Catriona MacLennan
Associate Minister of Agriculture Meka Whaitiri
Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

If you wish to purchase a hardcopy of the report please deposit $27.00 (includes P &P) into our account below with your name and “report” as references. Then send us an email at events@nzala.org to let us know to expect your payment and include your address details:

Account name: The New Zealand Animal Law Association Incorporated

Account number: 01-0527-0134515-00

Bank: ANZ, Branch: Lambton Quay

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