They are feared, though not loathed, loved but given due respect. They are the true stars of the rodeo and treated like royalty.
Rodeo as a sport has a long and proud history in Australia. Based on the work practices of Australian Stockmen, the sport emulates the skills required for handling livestock on traditional cattle properties.
A key part of the Isa rodeo’s reputation for providing outstanding rodeo competition, year after year, is based on our respect and commitment to the welfare of the livestock. As with any sport, human or animal, peak performance is only achieved through proper care and good health. We believe our animals will perform their best when they are happy, healthy and in top condition.
As a result, the Isa Rodeo has some of the highest animal welfare standards guided by the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) Animal Welfare Code of Conduct.
How Often Are Animals Injured?
A survey conducted by the APRA showed the injury rate for animals used in rodeos throughout Australia is 0.072 per cent. Our target for the Isa Rodeo is zero animal injuries for each event.
Just in case, we have a qualified veterinarian on hand. More often than not, the rider comes off second best, so we have paramedics on hand too.
We also ensure our livestock, including all bulls and horses are specifically bred and trained for the rodeo arena and comply with changes to competition rules, such as this year’s introduction of a Ropersmate™ roping device.
Back in 2013 we are introduced the Ropersmate™ roping device – a unique product developed in consultation with industry to reduce the risk of injury on both horses and cattle during rodeo events. The roping device works as a “shock absorber” to lessen the force experienced by both the horse and the calf, when the calf is roped.
Similar to abseiling equipment, it is made from high strength anodised aluminium and attached to the rider’s saddle horn. The lasso rope is threaded through the device with a backstopper knot to prevent the rope from running through the end. The device has demonstrated high durability during all field testing and proven to reduce the impact by up to 75 per cent.
The roping device has been endorsed by all major Rodeo Associations in Australia as a standard minimum equipment requirement for competition in all Australian-based rodeo rope and tie events.
We are also committed to improving education about, and understanding of animal welfare standards in rodeo. For example, a beast’s bucking action is not caused by pain inflicted from the flank strapped wrapped around the animal’s genital area.
The lined portion of the flank strap must be positioned over the flank and belly of the animal. It must also be covered with sheepskin or other suitable material and fitted with a quick release.
At no time does the flank strap come in contact with the genitals and is rarely pulled tighter than your trouser belt.
We do not use electric prods on animals in the arena or where it is unable to move in response to the prod such as the chutes. Prods can only be powered by dry cell batteries, as used in torches, must be used with restraint and restricted to the minimum amount necessary.
Prods can only be used by stock contractors or by a person nominated by them under direct supervision.
Spurs used by contestants in bucking horse events must have blunt, free running rowels and must be at least 3mm thick and 2cm in diameter so they will not bruise or cut an animal. Spurs for bulls are semi-locked. Non-regulation spurs result in disqualification.
If you would like more information, please contact the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) on (07) 4661 8183 or visit www.prorodeo.asn.au