RODEO bull riding is under fire after two animals broke their legs at a weekend rodeo at Eastons Hill north of Brisbane.
Calling for the sport to be banned, RSPCA Queensland chief executive officer Mark Townend described rodeo followers as bogans as inspectors investigated the deaths.
Mr Townend said it was ridiculous that people needed cruel sports to entertain themselves.
“I believe we are breeding a bogan society, with people getting thrills out of seeing animals killed, maimed or injured all under the banner of entertainment or sport,” he said.
“Don’t believe the contrived lines these organisers put out that they love their animals. “
Mr Townend said RSPCA Queensland needed people to help them end the cruelty.
“If they want to see people knocked out and brain damaged in a boxing ring for big dollars well let them go if they are that silly,” he said.
“At least humans can say no.
“In rodeos the animals don’t get a chance to say no.
“It’s left to decent human beings to stand up for them.”
Jason Gills, who has been the Rathy Rodeo organiser for the past two years, said he was frustrated at how people could easily condemn the sport judging by one event.
“There isn’t a single rodeo person who doesn’t want to know what happened at the Eaton’s Hill event so we can all learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
“The trouble today is that people are so quick to blame all rodeos after something like this happens – it’s not like animals are going down as a regular occurrence.
“This doesn’t happen very often but injuries could happen in any sport like campdraft or rugby.”
Mr Gills said the negative attitude towards rodeo was hurtful to people who had been involved all their lives.
“We need to keep our western heritage alive but instead people are criticising without getting down to bare statistics and facts and see what’s going on in the rings,” he said.
“A lot of people don’t know that we raise bulls for the rings and care for our animals and we need to abide by an animal welfare code.”
Calf scruffing and bucking bulls
Mr Gills said assumptions, particularly from city people, were putting rodeos in jeopardy.
“The same thing happened with calf scruffing at Boonah after one woman complained about it,” he said.
“The two boys who didn’t follow the rules were dealt with by organisers but that wasn’t reported in any media outlets.”
In 2016, the Boonah Show Society banned calf scruffing after Animal Liberation Queensland accused organisers of animal exploitation.
While animal welfare groups called for a ban, Beaudesert Times readers overwhelmingly defended calf scruffing.
In 2012, Warwick rodeo organisers had defended their handling of a bull with a dislocated hip, after animal rights activists vowed to take legal action over the incident.
Organiser were criticised by Animals Australia for the length of time it took to get the bull out of the ring so it could be put down.