Over the last few weeks there has been a commotion about banning rodeos.
It came about because a few people have collected a 60,000 name petition that calls for a ban. The petition was handed to the Green Party in front of Parliament today.
I will be honest that I have never been to a rodeo in my life and have no huge desire to do so. However, I find the idea that there is suddenly a need to ban them to be nauseating. New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association says that from 146 rodeos involving 41,000 or more animals between 2010 and 2014, 12 deaths have been recorded. The rodeo is also supposed to be a fun family event with a rural theme to it. It could be made into an opportunity to show how rodeo events can be done safely.
I think banning rodeos is a sort of step towards a nanny state. It is not that they are squeaky clean. Of course there are numerous practices that could be put in place, such as limiting the number of competitions an animal can participate in before it is retired, and having a veterinary check of animals that are about to compete. There are worse practices in New Zealand that kill far more animals unnecessarily than rodeos. Do we do enough to check the licensing and conduct of people who go duck shooting, or go hunting – how many shooters, once they realise that they have downed a protected bird have second thoughts about continuing that day?
I note also that S.A.F.E. (Save Animals From Exploitation)are one of the groups calling for the ban. Given that S.A.F.E. have also been linked to calls to stop the large scale slaughter of rabbits which are an introduced species, a creature classified as a noxious pest under the Resource Management Act 1991 and known to be hugely damaging to farms, the call for a ban is somewhat undermined by a group that does not necessarily have the best interests of New Zealand or New Zealanders at heart.