Rodeo opponents gather outside parliament

Protesters gather outside Parliament. (Newshub.)
Protesters gather outside Parliament. (Newshub.)

Protesters have taken to the streets outside Parliament this afternoon to call for a permanent end to New Zealand's rodeo scene.

Led by advocacy organisations SAFE, SPCA and Farmwatch, the protesters claim rodeo is unethical, cruel and condones aggressive behaviour towards animals leading to injury or deaths.

A petition to end the practise has now attracted 63,000 signatures, and SPCA chief executive Ric Odom says it is a clear sign that a lot of Kiwis no longer want rodeo in New Zealand.

Rodeo opponents gather outside parliament

"What we have got today is 63,000 people have signed a petition to say that they want rodeos gone.

"It is a really significant milestone in New Zealand. It sends a really significant message that most New Zealanders, we believe, are saying that rodeo is not something that we want in our future."

According to Mr Odom the protesters aren't trying to make out that rodeo-goers are bad people, but the act of hurting animals for our entertainment is "not ever okay".

Rodeo opponents gather outside parliament

He says the SPCA knows of two animals which have died because of the rodeo scene this year, but injuries usually go unreported as the animals are treated at the scene or back at the farm afterwards.

"When you see a calf that is racing along at full pelt, only to be brought to a sudden halt by a rope around its neck, that is pretty wrong, isn't it?

"The problem with knowing about the injuries is that they aren't reported that well. The SPCA doesn't tend to treat many incidents, but we do get some people telling us this is what happens at rodeos and complaining."

Mr Odom recognises that rodeo has been around for a long time and that it has a strong culture, much like other sports involving the use of animals.

He told Newshub arguments that polo and horse racing should be banned as well are a "smokescreen".

"Today we are here to protest rodeo."

Rodeo is banned partially banned throughout parts of the UK, Europe, the US and Australia.