LEGENDARY SINCE 1959

Protestors expected to buck the rodeo

The 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo is set to welcome additional attention if rumours received prove correct that members of animal welfare organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are planning to stage a protest at the annual rodeo events this weekend in Mount Isa.

It is not the first time the Rodeo Capital of Australia has come under fire from animal activists. Rodeo both domestically and internationally has been the focus from many believing that conditions and treatment of the beasts is inhumane and below an acceptable level.

With websites such as www.peta.org and www.buckthebronco.cominciting fallacies that all rodeo’s, bull riding and bronc riding events create fury in beasts through cruelty.  It is the organisers of the Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo (the largest rodeo event in the Southern Hemisphere) and industry groups such as the Australian Professional Rodeo Association that are attempting to educate protesting groups of the measures in the place that promote a safe environment for the animals involved.

Headed up in Australia with a campaign titled ‘Nobody likes an 8 second ride’ with glamour girl Imogen Bailey as the face of PETA, quotes from Ms Bailey’s website (www.imogenbailey.com.au) such as, “Bull riders may tout the so-called “sport” of bull riding as a harmless form of entertainment, but the fact is that the animals pay a high price during these events… Animals who are used in rodeos are considered cheap and expendable”. Such un-researched statements containing animal rights propaganda and fabrications designed to lend credibility to the argument do nothing more than promote negatives as a standard in the sport which are incorrect.

The Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) and its members share the philosophy that animals should be treated humanely and with dignity. APRA rodeo livestock are valued by all those associated with the sport and considered to be the lifeblood of rodeo and as such are safeguarded in rodeo competition by the APRA’s strict animal welfare rules which were first introduced in 1951, thirty years prior to Animal Liberation being founded in Australia.

The APRA’s code incorporates not only its own rules but the best features of relevant animal welfare legislation, Commonwealth Model Codes of Practice and similar provisions for rodeo in the USA and Canada. There is no valid support for the argument that rodeo animals are treated cruelly or harmed by rodeo competition.

Most large animal veterinarians, support the view that professional rodeo animals appear to enjoy their work and are not harmed by it.

Even studies carried out at American Universities indicate rodeo animals experience little or no stress. This is confirmed by observations of behavior in the yards after an animal has been used at a rodeo, they routinely settle and feed well without signs of stress related behaviour.