End of the road for rodeo?
A COFFS Coast animal rights group has called for rodeos to be banned as the Sawtell Rugby League Club continues its preparations to host an event on January 2.
Judy Chesney-Coward, a spokeswoman for Coffs Harbour and Environs for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says she appreciated the Sawtell club was using Saturday's rodeo as a fundraiser and she did not want to stop this show, but she hoped they would not make it an annual event.
“We are not taking any action because we believe it was organised in good faith,” she said.
Sawtell Rugby League president Mark Maynard said the club had no involvement with the animals or riders but was hosting the event at its venue, with rodeo animals and riders organised by the NRA.
Ms Chesney-Coward said she believed most people had no idea of the cruelty involved in the rodeo industry, with the use of electric prods and flank ropes to make horses and bulls buck.
She said the industry promoted the animals as 'wild' but they did not buck without flank straps, while cattle and horses were often injured or suffered broken bones.
She rejected the suggestion the animals were trained and that bucking was natural behaviour, saying if this were so no straps or spurs would be needed.
Next week Ms Chesney-Coward plans to send the rodeo organisers video footage of injuries to an animal which had a leg broken during a calf roping at a Tamworth rodeo in 2003 as an example of ethical problems with rodeo events.
There is no calf roping on Saturday.
Sawtell Junior Rugby League president Steve Sanders said he had seen the rodeo animal organisers at work and was confident they were very professional.
“I'm an animal lover and if I was a bull in a paddock with two trucks at the gate - one for the abattoir and one for the rodeo, I'd be headed for the rodeo truck for sure,” he said.
He added the rodeo was part of an eight-hour program of entertainment to raise money for children's sport.
Saturday's rodeo will be held at the Coffs Harbour Sports Club (the old Rugby Club) on Hogbin Drive.
Gates will open at 2pm on Saturday with children's rides, live bands, market stalls and other activities.
The rodeo, an official round of the 2009 National Rodeo Association competition, will be held from 5pm until 9pm. The five-event rodeo program will include open and novice bull rides, saddle and bareback buckjumping and a poddy ride.