Romina Marinkovich and Stephanie Koks with their 5000-signature petition outside last month’s Rodney Local Board meeting in Warkworth.
Rodeo is animal abuse, a blight on rural New Zealand and not appropriate on Council-owned land – that was the message from protest group Direct Animal Action, when members presented a 5000-signature petition to Rodney Local Board last month.
Representatives Romina Marinkovich and Stephanie Koks urged Board members to ban Warkworth Rodeo from the Showgrounds and other rodeo from any Auckland Council land, parks and reserves under its management.
“I’ve lived in the area for more than 20 years and I’m a horse owner – we’re not farmers, but we’re far from townies,” Ms Marinkovich said. “From my time spent with horses I’ve learned how responsive they are. They’re highly sensitive.”
She said animals in rodeos were reacting in fear of humans.
“They’re terrified for their lives. If rodeo was natural, you wouldn’t need flank straps. And I’ve never known a farmer to use a flank strap or ride a bull.”
Stephanie Koks said there was growing disapproval for events that exploited animals, whether it was rodeo, the circus or racing, and the Board had the power say what local events were permitted on Council-owned land.
“You must ask yourselves, representing a progressive community, what you will allow and what you will support as entertainment,” she said. “The Rodney Local Board is now the only board in Auckland which continues to host rodeo on land under its management.”
Board chair Phelan Pirrie thanked the women for their attendance and said their passion for the welfare of animals was clear. A response will be made in the near future.