This week SAFE and the SPCA presented a very strong, well-researched submission to the Primary Production Select Committee in support of their petition signed by over 62,000 people calling for an end to rodeo.
They pointed out that rodeo relies on the use of a range of painful devices and practices in order to force animals to perform and provide a spectacle for the public.
Devices and practices that occur regularly in rodeos include the use of rope burning, electric prods, tail twisting, spurs, flank straps, and more. The use of all of these on animals for entertainment purposes is contrary to the spirit and intentions of the Animal Welfare Act.
They also made the point that while it would be possible to regulate or ban these devices and practices, this would in practice amount to a de facto ban on rodeo. This is because when these practices are not permitted, rodeo often disappears as animals are no longer able to be forced to perform.
The most shocking thing I learned was that the calf roping session can involve the same calf being repeatedly roped on the same day – greatly increasing the likelihood of serious injury.
Furthermore, it is not just the events themselves that are of concern. Practice sessions, where calves may be repeatedly roped and slammed to the ground until they are too injured to continue, also need to be looked into.
I hope that these and other points will be considered seriously by the Select Committee.