A ban on sheep at a popular rodeo in Whanganui has led to an idea to dress men up as sheep to take part at the event instead.

The Kakahi Rodeo is on this Sunday and organisers have introduced a new sheep-chasing event which will involve not sheep, but men.

It comes after the sheep-chasing event held previously was found to have been out of touch with rules laid out by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The idea has been praised by animal activists but they are still calling for a complete ban on rodeos and asking the public not to attend them.

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Save Animals From Exploitation is asking people to boycott the events in a bid to stop cruelty towards animals.

SAFE spokeswoman Marianne Macdonald praised the idea of men taking the place of sheep, but acknowledged more needed to be done to prevent animal cruelty.

"It sounds like they're coming up with good ways of avoiding cruelty to animals so I'm all in favour with that,'' she told Newstalk ZB today.

"The trouble with rodeo is really, however you make little changes to it, it's still really just abusing animals for fun and that's really what it comes down to it.

"It's really like bullying animals for entertainment. And I don't know about you, but I certainly think that bullying is something that we need to stamp out.

SAFE's Marianne MacDonald tells NewstalkZB's Larry Williams the whole idea of rodeos should be scrapped.

"We don't want to be teaching our kids that it's okay to bully animals,'' she said.

NEW RODEO CRUELTY EXPOSED. Every time rodeo is investigated, we see animals bullied, tormented and distressed - and here's even more. You DON'T need to watch this, but animals do need you to take action. Please help ➡ http://bit.ly/BillEnglishBanRodeo

Posted by SAFE on Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Macdonald's comments come after new footage was released by the animal rights group highlighting animal treatment at rodeo events.

The video shows cows fighting to get out of the cages they have been put in at a rodeo.

Most of the animals appear stressed and overwhelmed.

At the end of the one-minute clip, a message appears on the screen: "Please, for their sake, don't attend a rodeo.''

Macdonald said the activists were using such footage to raise awareness with people who may never have attended a rodeo and, therefore, had not seen what goes on at them.

"The facts speak for themselves. Every time you see the footage, you can actually see what those animals are going through. They're stressed, the fear in their eyes.

"And really, we've got to remember that this is being done for fun, for entertainment,'' she said.

"And there's so many other ways to enjoy the rural environment.''