A report citing "serious concerns'' with some rodeo practices has been welcomed by the sport's governing body.

Yesterday, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee released a report aimed at recommending animal welfare improvements in rodeos to Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri.

It cited "serious concerns'' with steer-wrestling and rope and tie events.

However, committee chairwoman Dr Gwyneth Verkerk said "positive changes'' were expected to be introduced this rodeo season as a result of the discussions held while developing the report.


In the rope and tie event, the report said calves would potentially experience "significant negative mental states'' from the event, "particularly given their young age and inexperience overall''.

It requested further study on its effects on the animals and recommended modifications to the event or its replacement with one which had less impact on calf welfare.

The panel wanted additional information about "anecdotal evidence'' animals used in steer-wrestling were purposefully kept at low body condition.

It recommend the establishment of a new rodeo animal welfare committee with representatives from inside and outside the rodeo community collaborating to improve animal health.

Last month, the NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association said it would implement changes to rodeos to improve animal welfare.

They included improving the "training and competence'' of contestants in both events.

Association president Lyal Cocks, of Wanaka, said it welcomed and supported the report.

Many of the recommendations were addressed in the changes announced for the season and the association would continue to review and improve the sport.


"Despite calls from animal activists to ban all rodeo events, it is clear that the policy aim is to improve our sports standards. That's a serious shift in emphasis, and we welcome it.''

The organisation pledged ongoing co-operation with the committee and independent animal welfare agencies, he said.

Animal welfare group Safe has led the charge against the sport, saying it should be banned.