Call for ban on rodeos ignored by Hamilton

By Nikki Preston

Calls for a blanket ban on rodeo-style events appears to have been ignored under a Hamilton City Council draft policy, to the dismay of animal rights activists.

The Save Animals From Exploitation group wants the council to follow Auckland's lead and include a ban on rodeos in its new event venues booking policy, which is to be discussed by the council's Strategy and Policy Committee tomorrow.<inline type="poll" id="4563" align="outside"/>

Under the draft policy - which would apply to all events at council-owned facilities including Claudelands Event Centre and Waikato Stadium - events would be banned if they breached any New Zealand legislation, national codes, council bylaws or policy or had a significant and direct negative impact on the community that could not be offset.

If an event was deemed by staff to fall outside the policy, either the chief executive or the political wing would be tasked with deciding whether it should go ahead.

In February SAFE presented a 266-signature petition to the council and was told its position on rodeos would be considered as part of the policy review.

But SAFE campaign manager Mandy Carter wanted the policy to include a blanket ban on rodeos on council land - preventing events such as the international rodeo at Claudelands Event Centre last November.

"It basically comes down to does the council want to allow animals to be abused on their land because that's what is going to happen. If they are actually opposed to animal cruelty then they can stop it by not allowing the rodeo to take place there. It's not out of the question for them to do so.

"Just because something is legal doesn't mean it is okay," Ms Carter said.

The Rodeo Cowboys' Association has previously rejected claims animals were mistreated and said a strict code of conduct was followed.

The council was already contracted to host the rodeo when SAFE asked for it to reconsider hosting the event in 2011, but the group was hopeful the council would listen to its concerns before allowing another. A provisional date for the next event at Claudelands has been set for November.

- Hamilton News

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