A proposal to tighten restrictions for rodeo operators to ensure animals arent being subjected to cruelty was described as ridiculous and offensive by Lismore councillor and cattle owner Peter Graham at Tuesdays Council meeting.
The proposal included banning all electric prods, restricting calf roping to animals over 200kg and ensuring an adequate supply of water for animals. It also demanded that the RSPCA be notified of an event four weeks in advance and that a veterinarian be in attendance at all times. By adopting the proposal, Council would become responsible for policing the events and checking compliance something the NSW Government is not currently doing according to Cr Ros Irwin, who put forward the motion.
Cr Graham claimed the restrictions penalised those who did the right thing simply because of a few bad apples.
However, Cr Irwin said responsible operators would not find the measures onerous but it would weed out those who were doing the wrong thing.
Putting her case for the changes, Cr Irwin referred to an Animal Liberation video seen by councillors which graphically portrayed prods being used on the testicles of bulls and calves with broken necks, caused by excessive roping, being put down.
Her stance raised the ire of Cr Graham, who said the suggestion that some operators werent treating their livestock humanely was a crock of garbage. He argued that banning electric prods was taking away a tool of the industry although he did admit that sometimes they were abused.
Cr Irwin applauded Cr Graham for his passionate rebuttal, but said her motion was about catching the worst of the worst. She argued that sometimes good people had to give away rights to protect those who cant protect themselves.
This is about ensuring small, shonky operators cant get away with it (cruelty), Cr Irwin said. These animals are sentient beings they feel pain as we do. This would not mean the end of rodeos but would ensure cruelty to animals did not occur.
The motion was lost 5/7 (Crs Irwin, Dowell, Ekins, Tomlinson and Swientek for).
Talking to The Echo, Cr Graham said he was glad common sense prevailed.
Its not Councils role to police these events the Pro Rodeo Association of Australia has a Code of Practice thats strong enough and its their responsibility to enforce those regulations, Cr Graham said. Were in the cattle industry and theres always people who like to push the limits, but they are definitely the minority. Its self-regulating if they go overboard the officials will give them a rap over the knuckles.
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