By the Waikato Rodeo Association
Rodeo occupies an important place in regional New Zealand.
The sport offers top quality, family friendly entertainment along with outstanding displays of cowboy skill, daring and stockmanship.
In 2016, after a substantial inquiry, Parliament found that "rodeos are one of the many competitive events that occur in rural communities, and they play an important part in building and maintaining the cohesion of these communities".
It also found that existing animal welfare legislation relating to rodeos and their conduct is working well.
The Animal Welfare Act 1999 established strict principles for the conduct of rodeos and the treatment of associated animals.
The legislation created the National Animal Welfare advisory committee. That body is responsible for administering and updating the Rodeo Code of Welfare.
The Rodeo Code is a detailed guide as to what behaviour is acceptable with regards to animals at New Zealand rodeos, and adopts a commonsense and science-based approach. The Code was updated in 2014.
The NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association strongly supports existing animal welfare legislation and its updated Codes and practice.
Under intense pressure from some animal activist groups, the House of Representatives conducted its own inquiry into rodeos and animal welfare in 2016.
After receiving the latest scientific, veterinarian and policy advice, Parliament concluded that there was no need to change existing codes and practice.
Rodeo animals do not suffer in NZ Rodeo Cowboy-organised events.
Indeed, there is an overwhelming evidence that modern rodeos remain one of the safest and most entertaining of public events. There is far more risk of injury to the participants than to the animals.
Recent scientific studies — peer reviewed and academically published — relating to animal welfare and rodeo management, do not find any long-lasting effects for the animals involved.
These include recent academic studies including a University of Queensland paper on calf-roping (April 2016) and a University of Calgary study on bucking bulls in rodeos (August 2016). The latter concluded that such bulls exhibit no fear at all. Most are specifically bred for rodeo.
Veterinarians are now required by law to be present at all rodeo events and to regularly assess animal welfare. There have been recent glowing reports from veterinarians as to how NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association member clubs, like Waikato Rodeo, are meeting their animal welfare responsibilities.
The association is always open to reviewing any rodeo practices that might be considered harmful, but note that none have been found by the relevant animal welfare authorities.
NZ Rodeo's aim is always to produce high-quality family entertainment and events.
Rodeo participants, like those who will be competing at Kihikihi on February 17, demonstrate their skills and courage to widespread and popular acclaim.
Harming any of the animals involved would be directly counter-productive to the national association's member clubs aims and views.