Cruelty concerns raised over Gympie Bull n Bronc
CONCERNS about the welfare of animals at Gympie's Bull n Bronc by animals activists who filmed a number of horses falling down on Saturday night have been met with a strong rebuttal by the Gympie District Show Society, which raises funds through the event.
Animal Liberation Queensland's rodeo campaign director Gayle D'Arcy yesterday questioned whether there was a problem with the Showground arena's surface after volunteers filmed "multiple instances of horses falling during bucking bronc events, barrel racing horses stumbling and some cattle falling."
"Any fall is concerning but when the number of falls gets to double digits, this is surely alarming and unacceptable," Ms D'Arcy said.
Show president Graham Engeman backed the safety of the annual fundraising event that on Saturday drew 181 competitors and a big crowd to the Gympie Showgrounds, though rain had kept some people away.
He said it was run according to National Rodeo Association standards, with NRA directors and a barrel racing volunteer present.
"Rodeos are a great sport for both riders and animals," Mr Engeman said.
"The activists are very aware of creating media attention to close down all animal activities.
"If it was dangerous, why was there only one person attended by ambulance and no obvious animal injury?
"I thought the rodeo was quite uneventful and enjoyed by all. Except Gayle D'Arcy."
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The animal rights group said volunteers on Saturday night also filmed instances of tail pulling, horses crashing into arena fences, bulls trying to jump out of chutes, bulls salivating excessively, a spectator reaching out to hit a bull in the face and animals lying down in chutes.
"Animals are not having fun at rodeos," Ms D'Arcy said.
"After a week where Queenslanders were horrified by a terrible act of domestic violence, surely what is needed in our state is more kindness, not acts of animal torment in the name of so-called entertainment.
"Rodeos have no place in a kind society and are rightly condemned by all animal welfare and animal rights groups in Australia, including RSPCA Queensland," Ms D'Arcy said.
Spokesman for RSPCA Queensland Michael Beatty said there had been no complaints made about cruelty at Saturday's event, but the organisation remains firm that "subjecting cattle and horses to these experiences is not justified."
"RSPCA Qld has been in consultation with Australia's major rodeo organisations on ways to improve animal welfare practices," Mr Beatty said.
"At the moment however rodeos are legal and we have to act within the law.
"Having said that if a person witnesses an action or incident that they regard as cruelty it can be reported to our animal cruelty hotline on 1300 ANIMAL."
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett added his support for the event after the claims.
"No one condones animal cruelty," Mr Perrett said.
"Rodeos are a longstanding tradition of the bush fabric of rural and regional Queensland.
"I understand that a vet was on call at the event."
Last year ALQ raised concerns about the safety of a bull at the Gympie's Bull n Bronc who appeared to go limp while in the arena amid calls for vets to be mandatory at all rodeos.