Ban rodeos, activist says

The Government's rodeo code is "complete nonsense", animal rights activists say, and should be replaced with a ban on the sport.

The 2003 Rodeo Code of Welfare, which sets the minimum standards of care and best practice for rodeos, is under review.

Save Animals From Exploitation executive director Hans Kriek said rodeos were "essentially an animal abuse industry" and the code of welfare a "complete nonsense".

"We see no point at all in the review of the code," he said. "We will make it clear to the Government that it is time to ban rodeos. Every single animal rights organisation is against rodeos."

Vet Steve Williams and Canterbury SPCA manager Geoff Sutton disputed the claim at the Methven Rodeo yesterday, saying organisers went above and beyond the current code.

Sutton has worked with Canterbury rodeo organisers for five years, and was pleased with the care animals received.

"It's about ensuring the animals that are used are treated as well as they can be," he said.

"Risk can't be eliminated, but we can minimise it."

Canterbury Vets owner Steve Williams, who vetted every animal at the ground yesterday, said organisers went above and beyond the current code of practice.

He does not allow animals to compete if they are not up to the task.

In almost 30 years working rodeos he has had to put just one horse down, when it broke its leg.

"A stockman is a very rare thing to see these days," he said. "This is their opportunity to shine."

All rodeo stock is brought in at least three weeks before the event. Animals are wormed and deloused then practise running through the arena into chutes so they know what to do on the day.

The Press