Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE) is "deeply frustrated" that two rodeo events will take place in the Far North this summer, despite widespread calls for a national ban.

The Far North Rodeo is in Kaitaia on January 2, and the Ōruru Valley Rodeo at Ōruru the following day.

SAFE's head of campaigns, Marianne Macdonald, says rodeo participants abused animals in the name of 'entertainment'.

"The horses and cattle made to perform in rodeo events are tame, and normally docile animals, often riled up to give an aggressive display before being forced into the ring. Vulnerable young calves are particularly mistreated in the so-called 'rope and tie' (calf roping) events," she said.


"In calf roping, calves are chased down by bullies on horseback, wrenched off their feet and thrown to the ground, only to be left immobile and distressed after having their legs tied together. To be pursued in this way is frightening for any animal, especially a baby."

The rodeo season had already had its first casualty, a horse dying at the Methven Rodeo in October, just weeks after the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys' Association introduced new 'suggested practices' in response to growing animal welfare concerns at rodeo events.

"Despite the new suggested practices, animal welfare has clearly not been adequately addressed," Ms Macdonald said.

"Even when animals aren't killed, they endure significant pain and distress.

"Rodeo is condemned in New Zealand and internationally by vets and animal welfare experts. The recent NAWAC report on rodeo events stated that they have a variety of negative impacts on the animals forced into the ring, and the Greens and Labour both have policies reflecting the tide of public opinion, which is increasingly turning against rodeo cruelty."

SAFE was calling on local residents to avoid the Far North events, and encouraged everyone who was concerned about animal cruelty to email the Prime Minister, demanding that rodeo be banned.