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Byron Shire
April 16, 2024

No April Fool’s Day Tweed rodeo

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A proposal for an annual rodeo was put forward for Tweed Shire. Photo https://kb.rspca.org

A proposal for an annual rodeo at the Council-managed Les Burger Sports Field, Cabarita Beach was knocked back by the majority of Tweed Shire Councillors at yesterday’s council meeting. 

The proposal to Tweed Council was for an event to take place on 1 April that would also include live music, motorbike show etc for 1,500 to 2,500 attendees. 

‘A similar event had recently been run on the sports field in Evans Head without issue, and with Richmond Valley Council support. They appear to run these rodeos regularly in the Kyogle area,’ said the staff report. 

‘The proponents have advised that bulls are the primary animal involved. Horses are involved but only for an equine demonstration. They have a vet onsite for the duration of the event – but are not legally required to provide this. They have also advised they have the RSCPA attend all events and they have apparently been happy with proceedings at their events.’

Councilor Dr Nola Firth put the motion to say the Tweed Council ‘does not support the rodeo event proposed’, which was seconded by Cr Meredith Dennis.

‘Looking at the application it is proposed to be an annual event. It is on Council land and we as leaders in the community need to be taking a lead on this issue,’ said Cr Firth. 

‘We heard from Lisa Ryan that this is entertainment at the expense of animals.

‘The RSPCA is opposed to rodeo and rodeo schools because of the potential for significant injury, suffering or distress to the animals involved,’ she explained.

The rodeo proposed that they would primarily be riding bulls at this event and that horses would be involved but only for an equine demonstration. 

A proposal for an annual rodeo was put forward for Tweed Shire. Photo https://kb.rspca.org

‘The RSPCA comment is that “horses and bulls buck repeatedly as an instinctive reaction to being repeatedly kicked with metal spurs and to the tightened flank strap around their sensitive underbelly. They experience increased fear, stress and panic”,’ quoted Cr Firth.  

‘[There is emerging a] new form of rodeo where bulls are ridden while subjected to loud noises and pyrotechnics. Forcing animals to endure this suffering for sport and entertainment is unnecessary and inhumane.

‘Rodeos have been outlawed in Victoria and South Australia.

‘It is time for us to have an animal welfare clause in our events strategy. So I am pleased that this has been flagged. 

‘As Lisa Ryan noted the insurance notes there is no cover for injured animals whatsoever.’

Mayor Chris Cherry pointed out that,  ‘This is Council-managed land. So we do have a responsibility to ensure that events carried out on Council managed land are in keeping with council’s ethics and policies going forward. Although this may have been considered appropriate in the days gone by it is probably time we move on and not look at animals as a means of sport in this way. It may be the end of the era of the rodeo.’

Councillor Warren Polglase did not speak to the motion but was the only councillor not to support it. 

The motion also deferred Council’s ‘decision on its position regarding the use of live animals on Council-managed land, so that it may consider an appropriate position and the potential impacts prior to inclusion in the Draft Events Strategy. ’ 

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  1. If you want to foster new rodeo stars, include sheep rodeo! It’s stage one of rodeo. Put Pads and helmet on the kid and get them on the sheep’s back…backwards. Sheep naturally buck things off of their backs, usually other sheep, and they get an endorphin rush when they manage to do it. Eventually the sheep gets too good at it and can’t be used for rodeo any more and you have to get a fresh one. Passive sheep that don’t like it will simply stand there and not move. Most sheep like it. It’s fun throwing humans around for a change.

    • Expert in sheep endorphins aye? I reckon we should abuse a few more animals for human entertainment. How about chasing greesy puppies or pin the tail on the kitten for kids entertainment. FFS Christian…get a grip mate!

      • I spend far more time with animals than people, which is normal if you live way out west, and it’s pretty easy to tell what they are feeling. They are not cagey with their emotions – animals living wild will let you know what they do and don’t like with a complete lack of inhibition. It rubs of on us humans. Some may have noticed this with me.

  2. Firth’s comment, “we as leaders”, shows the difference between councillors and ratepayers of what their role actually is. They are not our leaders, they are our representatives. Their voice should be the voice of the community regardless of their own opinion or the opinion of noisy minorities. Hey councillors, how about getting out and talking to the ratepayers to find out what the people really want.

  3. Good decision! Rodeos seem akin to the amusements indulged in at the Colosseum. How anyone can find them entertaining is beyond me.

    • You all seem keen on prolonging the war in Ukraine by sending more weapons. The animals see it as a game, like a dog would. If they don’t like it, they don’t play along. It’s based on the instincts of certain types of animals. Try getting a cat to dangle from a sock. They just won’t. Your dog on the other hand…


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