Kudos to Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clarke, for speaking out against the cruelty of rodoes. In an interview last week, Mayor Clarke, expressed his disgust at the 'sport': "They (rodeos) are definitely human entertainment at the animals' expense." For his outspoken act of compassion Animals Australia has awarded Ron Clarke the inaugural Compassionate Citizen Award.
As an Aussie sports legend, Ron Clarke knows what being a true sportsman is all about. Ron can boast a running career including an Olympic medal and the breaking of 17 world records. So after seeing a rodeo first hand, it's no wonder he's appalled by the brutality of the 'sport'.
To make horses and bulls buck, a tight strap (called a 'bucking strap' or 'flank strap') is used to squish their senesitive hind area, causing pain and discomfort. To make things worse the animals are physically taunted, and may even be zapped by electric prods (despite this being illegal in most Aussie states). Check out this footage, taken at the 2003 National Rodeo Finals at Tamworth, to see for yourself:
While the riders may volunteer to participate (beats me why!), the animals are helpless victims. Earlier this year at an SA rodeo, Animals Australia's investigator, Wendy Parsons, witnessed first hand as a bull broke his leg and was shot, and a steer limped off on 3 legs. And at another rodeo this year, on the Gold Coast, a horse died after crashing into a fence.
It's great to see Mayor Clarke speaking out for these animals. If you have a moment, you may even like to write to congratulate him.