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Bullride on despite protests

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

The Martinborough bullride is locked in for next Friday night despite plans for a protest from animal rights activists.

Bullriding is a rodeo sport that involves a rider getting on a bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck them off.

New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association secretary, Shane Bird, said it was the fourth time the event had come to the region.

“It’s just bulls at this event – there’s no horses or anything like that.

“There will be something like 40 riders, with an age range of about 16 to 36.”

The event starts at 6pm next Friday, and will run for about 2-and-a-half hours.

The event had dealt with protests before, including last year, and they were prepared to deal with it again.

“It certainly doesn’t change our plans at all,” Mr Bird said.

Wellington Animal Rights Network spokesperson, Jasmine Gillespie-Gray, said the group supported a ban on rodeo entirely.

“Last year we had about 20-30 people at the protest, and it will probably be the same this year.

“We think it’s cruel to use animals for entertainment, especially when you’re purposefully making animals stressed so they perform for the event.

“When the cowboys get points for their rides, half of the performance points go to the cowboy and half go to the animal, which means the horses have to be bucking and bulls have to be jumping and that doesn’t happen without them being forced to do that.”

The Martinborough event had other factors that increased concerns around the animals’ safety, she said.

“Last year I attended the rodeo and the arena is tiny.

“I was right by the fence and quite a lot of the bulls smacked into the fence and fell down.”

She said that although rodeo may be part of the tradition in some places, it was important to encourage people to think about what the animals went through.

“It has been to the select committee to discuss making a ban on it.

“It’s part of the culture in some communities and it’s difficult for people to want to interfere with that even though it’s clear there is cruelty to the animals.”





  1. I think it’s good to see what some rural people like to do for fun. They work with these animals everyday and so I’m inclined to think that they have more of an understanding of these animals than the people from the urban centre’s.

  2. Barbaric and cruel. Truly no thought for the hurt and pain they cause.
    Should be stopped. Right now not for the next time.

  3. Since when is animal cruelty part of our culture? Guess it is if you’re a redneck. People need to get the fact that these animals suffer a raft of internal injuries. If your idea of fun involves hurting others, then is it really fun?

  4. You have to wonder about the ethics of some in the community. This is like fighting any other large animal for entertainment.

    Clearly there’s a lot of inadequate feeling men out there.

  5. I think it is cruel and unnecessary. Time to grow up and act like adults and stop terrorising animals for fun. People need to see Wairarapa as being progressive, not Hicksville.

  6. No it needs to be banned ! Clearly it’s animal abuse . NZ is rife with animal cruelty , we should as a nation be better than this but it seems this government is intent on allowing cruelty so it doesn’t lose votes . These events are free for under 12 year olds , that to me is disturbing teaching them it’s ok to abuse animals and the cycle continues .
    This election year take animal welfare into your voting decision as well .

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