New Zealand releases new code of welfare for rodeos

New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy.

The revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), and sets out minimum standards and best practice guidelines for all rodeo animals – including those used in training and rodeo schools. It replaces the existing code issued in 2003.

NAWAC committee member, Virginia Williams, says the new code highlights how essential it is for those involved in rodeos to have animal welfare at the forefront of their minds at all times.

“Maintaining the welfare of rodeo animals depends on the experience and training of those handling animals. This code of welfare has been designed to encourage all those responsible for the care of rodeo animals to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling,” she says.

“There are a number of new or heightened requirements in the code to better protect animal welfare – most significantly, the use of sheep in rodeos is no longer allowed, nor are fireworks or other pyrotechnics.

“More broadly, the code includes minimum standards on stockmanship, food and water, selecting and handling animals, gear, and the requirements around the use of animals in each of the events.

“These standards have been developed after receiving feedback from the public and those directly affected by the code – and we are confident that the minimum standards in the code provide sufficient safeguards to protect the welfare of rodeo animals,” says Dr Williams.

NAWAC is an independent committee formed to give advice about animal welfare to the Minister for Primary Industries.

Codes of welfare expand on the requirements in the Animal Welfare Act 1999, with minimum standards and recommended best practice designed to provide for animals’ overall physical, health and behavioural needs.

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