NSW rodeos to stay
YEE-HA! Rodeos have been given a reprieve after the State Government refused to bow to animal welfare group demands to ban them.
This week, Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan came out in support of the popular country events.
“Rodeos have been a part of this state’s history since the Bushmen’s Carnivals in northern NSW as far back as the 1920s,” he said. “There’s no question about it – rodeos are here to stay.”
His words were music to the ears of organisers of the Lismore Show, which can go ahead with the high-level traditional rodeo planned for later this month.
“The rodeo is creating a lot of interest and a lot of people will come to see it,” said John Gibson, president of the North Coast National Agriculture and Industry Society.
The society understood these events did not suit everybody, he said.
“But I’m pleased that a lot of our heritage events can still be held. It will be a terribly sad day if we lose these traditions,” he said.
Animal welfare groups say they will continue in their bid to have rodeos in their current form banned. “We are straight-out opposed to animals being used in rodeos,” said NSW RSPCA chief executive Steve Coleman.
But Mr Gibson said he was the first person to oppose cruelty to animals.
“The animals in rodeos are well looked after. They are like racehorses or showhorses – well fed and cared for,” he said.
The Government was working on an enforceable Animal Welfare Code of Practice that would set out how rodeo animals can be treated, Mr Whan said.
The draft code has been prepared in consultation with rodeo organisers and animal welfare groups. It will be up for review and comment in November.
The rodeo at the Lismore Show is a full-points score even, which means competitors earn points towards a berth at the Australian National Finals on the Gold Coast in January.
As a result, some of the top riders in the country will be competing, including leader of the 2010 pro tour bareback standings, Matt Makinson, team roping champions Aaron Bookluck and Terry Evison, and Darren Clarke, Peter Moffatt, Wendy Caban and Tenielle Little.