Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has spoken out against animal welfare groups that are campaigning to stop cruel rodeos. In a recent media statement, he said, “For as long as I’m around, and my team are around, we’re not going to allow these sort of more fringe groups [to] continue their agenda”.
Campbell must be either unaware of or chooses to ignore the abuse that animals in rodeos are forced to suffer. Bulls and horses buck through the use of restrictive flank straps and electric prods, and calves are forcibly dragged to the ground and trussed up â€“ all for “entertainment” and profit. In Australia and New Zealand, thousands of animals are used in rodeos every year. Many animals suffer catastrophic injuries or even die. The few regulations that are in place at rodeos are not effective in terms of preventing injuries or deterring abusive treatment.
Newman’s surprising outburst follows a campaign by our friends at Animals Australia that has resulted in Kmart’s withdrawing its support of the Mt Isa Rodeo in Queensland. The premier stated that he thinks rodeos show “the character of this state”. Unfortunately, the character that is shown through rodeos is one of exploitation and abuse â€“ not one that most Queenslanders are likely to see as a good representation of their home.
In calf-roping events, for example, young animals that run at full speed suffer trauma to their necks when they are lassoed with ropes and violently slammed to the ground. The force of being lassoed by the neck can make calves become airborne before full-grown men throw themselves on top of the terrified animals and tie them up with rope. Common injuries include severe bruising, broken bones, internal bleeding and even paralysis.
Dr Hugh Wirth, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Australia, says that the RSPCA opposes rodeos for the simple reason that “these events pose unacceptable risks to the animals involved purely for human pleasure”. During one Tasmanian rodeo, a bull who had collapsed after a spinal injury was repeatedly kicked in the head to force him back onto his feet, even though he was partially paralysed. He was then hauled onto a truck, where he suffered for hours before he was killed.
Please write to Newman and ask him to reconsider his support for such cruel events. Tell him not to be so quick to pass the buck when it comes to the issue of animal cruelty.
Posted by Jason Baker