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Bullride ready for return

Action from last year’s Martinborough Parklee bullride. PHOTO/FILE

And so are protesters

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The sixth annual Martinborough Parklee Bullride is happening next week and once again protesters will be on the scene.

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

It’s hosted by the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association and last year’s event didn’t go as smoothly as hoped, with a bull being euthanised at the scene after breaking its leg.

This year’s bullride is taking place on Friday, February 1, at an arena on Lake Ferry Rd, Martinborough, and it will be the fourth consecutive year animal rights activists have demonstrated at the South Wairarapa event.

A statement from the group Speak Up for Animals said on Wednesday the event “is bullying disguised as entertainment”.

But NZRCA animal welfare convener Laurie Latta said the association always followed the Animal Welfare Act.

NZRCA launched an internal inquiry into last year’s incident.

Latta said there was never any guarantees against broken bones when people or animals were partaking in sporting activities.

It was unlikely the protesters would impact the event as people who attended rodeo events liked the adrenalin of the sport, he said.

“It’s a bit like rugby, it’s much the same thing, with mostly the younger ones who bullride.”

He said the association respected a persons’ right to protest.

“But if they weren’t protesting against rodeo they’d be protesting against something else.

“Two-thirds have probably never even been to one but if they get a kick out it then good on them.”

SUFA spokesman Paul Christeller said the protesters would be asking people to reconsider their participation.

“We wouldn’t accept this discriminatory behaviour against cats and dogs that live with us, so we shouldn’t accept this behaviour in relation to the animals that are forced to participate in rodeo.”

He said the group wanted to encourage education around rodeo events, and for people to make a stand by not attending and letting their MPs know animal rights was a serious issue to them.

“All sentient beings deserve to be treated with respect and our society needs an urgent conversation about how we treat non-humans,” Christeller said.


  1. SUFA are right. Who the hell has a right as a human to inflict this sort of torture. Rope burning, tail twisting and slapping the bulls is disgraceful and that’s even before they get out of the gates…you big tough cowboys! BS and disgusting- wake up NZ!

  2. We all need to have a serious look at this form of ‘entertainment’. It is no different to dog fighting.

  3. Rugby players choose to play. Bulls do not. The SPCA and NZ Veterinarians have serious concerns about the deliberate cruelty to animals in rodeo. Rodeo breaches the fundamental tenets of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Do some fact checking Hayley.

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