Monday, August 10, 2009

RSPCA ropes in rodeo over wild horse race / AU

By Kate Dennehy
August 9, 2009

Mount Isa Rodeo (AU) organisers last week axed an event after the RSPCA threatened to prosecute them for cruelty.

RSPCA Queensland senior inspector Tracey Jackson said the wild horse racing event was "traumatic" for the animals and, had it gone ahead, the organisers would have been prosecuted under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

Ms Jackson said the event involved "terrified" unbroken horses being roped, saddled and mounted and raced around the arena.

"In the past, horse's ears were bitten and lugged and horses are pulled over on their backs," she said.

"The entire entertainment value of the event relies upon the horses being distressed, in fear and terrorised and constitutes an offence under the act.

"Community standards have changed since the inception of this event and it is clearly no longer acceptable to put these animals through this kind of trauma just for entertainment."

Animal activists welcomed the decision.

Jeanie Walker, who runs the anti-rodeo website, said her group had been trying to have the "horrendously cruel event" banned for years. She sent a letter and wild horse racing footage to Premier Anna Bligh last year.

Animals Liberation Queensland's Annette Guice said the event was about "terrorising horses for public spectacle" and hoped it would be banned from all rodeos.

Ms Guice and Ms Walker also called for the calf-roping event to be banned, but it is still included at the rodeo.

Calf roping of young calves is banned in Victoria and South Australia.

Rodeo manager Patricia Esdaile said the wild horse racing had been dropped because of the RSPCA's concerns and another reason on which she would not comment.

Ms Esdaile said the calf roping had not been dropped because "it's not illegal".

Australian Professional Rodeo Association general manager Steve Hilton said he was disappointed the wild horse racing was dropped.

"It's not cruel," he said. "The horses aren't terrified, they're just trying to get away because they're not broken in."

The rodeo started on Friday and finishes today.

Source: The Sun-Herald

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