Have you ever seen a rodeo? It’s not pretty. If you’ve seen it in a movie or on TV, chances are that’s not as bad as it gets in real life. Not be to insensitive, but rodeos are essentially animal abuse for amusement. Do this to an animal like a cat and a dog and you would be jailed. Do this on a farm and you could be investigated and prosecuted. Do it in front of a crowd at a rodeo and it is called entertainment. In New Zealand, animals are being terrified, hurt and killed for fun.

This summer rodeo season in New Zealand has been its usual big event. However, protesters have been drawing attention to what they regard as the cruel and outdated nature of this “entertainment sport”. Tensions are rising between supporters and protesters of rodeos, with animal welfare activists attending rodeos and filming events, while organisers try to ban the use of cameras.

Animal rights activists are demanding that rodeos be outlawed in New Zealand. However, this has already been considered by the current Government and rejected. While there was an acknowledgment of public concern, it was decided rodeos were too popular in many communities. As the Rodeo Association themselves stated, “there are many more people who would like to see rodeo continue as a sport in NZ than those who would like it banned.”

There is a growing sense of inevitability in much of the debate about rodeos being eventually consigned to history. Year by year more and more people are speaking out strongly against rodeo. It’s really not something that New Zealand, in 2018, wants. It’s something that really needs to be consigned to the history books. Rodeos are banned in the UK, the Netherlands and parts of Australia, the United States and Canada. It’s time for us to make a change.

Ask yourself, is this really how we want to have fun in a supposedly civilised country in the 21st century? Personally, not a part of me can support rodeos. Just because some people enjoy the entertainment they get, that isn’t enough of an excuse. There are a lot of things that are illegal for good reason, even if some people enjoy them. Taking drugs is illegal, even though some people enjoy it. Refusing to pay your taxes is illegal, even if some people enjoy the extra income. Vandalism is illegal, even though some people spraying graffiti art on walls. Reckless driving is illegal, even though some people love to drive carelessly. These things are illegal for a greater purpose. The laws are there to protect us, help us, and enable us to live great lives collectively, rather than individually. Should we not want the same for animals?

To me, rodeo is on the way out. At least it one-hundred-percent should be. It’s on the wrong side of history, and there isn’t much left to save it. The truth of the matter is that rodeo is toast. Yee-ha!

Critical Thinking Questions:

1. Do you think rodeos should be banned?

2. What would be the negative effects of banning rodeos?

3. How long have rodeos been around for? What has caused them to become illegal in many parts of the world?

Practical Thinking Questions:

1. Is there a solution you can think of that doesn’t involve banning rodeos altogether?

2. Ask your classmates what they think. Even if all your classmates think that rodeos can be good fun, ask yourself if this justifies the toll rodeos take on the animals involved.

3. What would be a good way to help rodeos become illegal/stay legal? (e.g. Protesting, writing a letter to your local council, advertisements?). Think of a good idea and describe how you would implement it.


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