Rodeo commentator defends rodeo, calls out 'mainstream media'

Rural Exchange 10/02/2018

Rodeo culture in New Zealand continues to be under fire each year by activists who urge the Government to ban the events.

While various organisations claim rodeos are cruel to its animals, long-time rodeo supporters have refuted activists as being uneducated on the facts.

Craig Wiggins, a well-known rodeo commentator, joined Rural Exchange to help shed light on the pressure the rodeo community faces and the mistruths that circulate the mainstream media.

Mr Wiggins explained that anti-rodeo, or rather “anti-farming” spokespeople “seem to have a very good link to a lot of emotion in mainstream media”.

Because the topic is quite controversial, he said that the mainstream media uses emotional rodeo headlines as clickbait.

Rodeos have been called ‘inherently cruel’ by animal welfare organisations like Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) NZ, citing that animals are stressed, frightened, sustain injuries, and are tormented.

Mr Wiggins pointed out that bulls gain injuries “just from the simple act of breeding” on farms.

Are we going to stop breeding animals next?

The rodeo industry has continuously assured the public that rodeo events adhere to the Government’s Code of Welfare for Rodeos, keep vets present at events, and that no practice employed by the industry is illegal.

Canterbury Rodeo tells visitors on their homepage that there is no animal cruelty at their event, stating that they “take Animal Welfare very seriously.”

“Rodeo is the lowest hanging fruit [for activists],” he told RadioLIVE.

The rodeo commentator later explained that the events provide farming communities to get off the property for a day to spend time with their family and friends.

“Communities do not need to be stripped of any more assets,” said Mr Wiggins.

The discussion earlier in the week on RadioLIVE

Full interview with Craig Wiggins and host Wendyl Nissen above.

Mr Wiggins called in to RadioLIVE earlier in the week after host Wendyl Nissen featured animal justice league spokesperson Tara Marie on her show, The Long Lunch.

The emotion surrounding rodeo is misinterpreted.

He shared with Wendyl a controlled study on the stress levels of calves to determine whether they would be overly stressed during a rodeo event.

According to Mr Wiggins, calves left in a pen were actually more stressed then those who were released then captured and held down.

“We take the emotion out of it and start looking at the facts,” he told Wendyl.

“The emotive side of that is quite easy to get blown out of proportion when you start looking at the animal activist people.”

Watch the full interview with Craig Wiggins above. 

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.