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Rodeo cancelled, but not because of animal rights concerns

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Be vary of anyone calling this a “victory.”

Stuff reports that the annual Richmond Rodeo has been cancelled. Following the press attention at this year’s event, when a bull was caught on film jumping around on a broken leg and later euthanized, animal rights advocates decided to act. But it wasn’t the SPCA, Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) and Farmwatch gathering 62,000 signatures that enacted the end of this rodeo – the president just stepped down and no feels like taking the helm.

These groups have tried to promote that the event ending is proof of people not wanting cruelty of animals for entertainment, but president Ian Parkes is happy to prove that’s false. He told Stuff that the decision to cancel the event was due to a “lack of support” from within the club, and not concerns over animal rights.

“We were a bit upset that the bull broke his leg, but that really didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said. “Rodeo has always followed its code as best as it could and you do get situations where things go wrong but you get that in a game of rugby too.” Okay, so no one has had a change of heart here and other rodeos are more likely to worry about avoiding a PR disaster on animal treatment (and a loss of sponsorship) then they are about closing. 

This is now just one less opportunity for Kiwis to take in the “sport,” as The New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association newsletter lists 36 other rodeos taking place throughout the country over the next six months. The Richmond Rodeo will even return funds to the nation rodeo organization, which continues unfazed. Still, groups like SAFE are happy to report this win nearby their “donate” button. These groups are no doubt taking a page from the large welfarist animal orgs, relying on single-issue campaigns and confused messaging that ultimately makes people comfortable with animal exploitation in some ways, while boycotting others.

Yes, rodeos are awful, but so is all animal use. And the only way to ensure we have a real impact on ending all use, is to go vegan. Groups should promote veganism as the first and most important way that people can change, not chequebooks and signatures.

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