Vegan Rising activists occupied the arena at the Bendigo Rodeo on Saturday, bringing the ‘brutal display of animal abuse’ to a halt in what they described as a peaceful but determined action.
Wearing ‘Say No To Rodeo’ T-shirts and carrying red smoke to resemble the blood and violence perpetrated against the animals, the activists sat in a circle in the centre of the arena and chained themselves together before the event could commence.
In a statement, Vegan Rising said, ‘People must stop supporting acts of violence against animals and start supporting the limitless cruelty free forms of entertainment that exist. Bendigo is a creative and vibrant regional hub. It can do so much better than this, as can all of our regional towns.’
The group says all state governments in Australia should make rodeos illegal. Vegan Rising is also calling on the public to ‘boycott this brutal form of entertainment that supports cruelty and violence towards innocent animals and to embrace the abundance of kind and creative activities available to them’.
Activists at Bendigo said, ‘The rodeo is one of the most blatant forms of animal abuse that exists in this country today.
‘These animals are tormented, terrified and physically abused by brutal cowards whilst the crowd cheers it on.
“Flank straps are tied tight around the animals’ sensitive underbelly. The addition of an unwanted rider on their back, often wearing spurs, forces them to buck violently out of sheer terror and pain.
‘Horses and bulls are flight animals so a tight strap around their body resembles an attack from which they will do all they can to escape whilst experiencing absolute panic and fear.
“Scared young steers run, pursued by a rider on horseback, before being lassoed. In Queensland, calves are captured, thrown to the ground, then bound, unable to move. Cattle prods are used to shock the bulls whilst they are trapped in the chute, their tails twisted and bent, so they emerge stressed and irritated.
‘It is a horrific experience for the animals and a sick form of entertainment for those who derive pleasure from watching such callous abuse. The message these events send to children encourages another generation to engage in brutality and cruelty to animals. We should be teaching children to protect and respect the vulnerable, not harm and exploit them.’
Vegan Rising described rodeos as ‘an absolutely vile form of entertainment that must be banned by all state governments. Regional councils also need to do their part by promoting kind forms of entertainment and working to find ways to prevent such brutal displays of violence occurring in their towns,’ they said.
The group have requested supporters to sign a petition directed at all state governments here.