News State QLD News Warwick Rodeo beefs up animal welfare standards

Warwick Rodeo beefs up animal welfare standards

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The rodeo industry says formal guidelines should ease concerns about animal welfare issues ahead of the Warwick Rodeo on Queensland’s Southern Downs.

The Warwick Rodeo begins tonight and is one of the biggest competitions in Queensland.

Last year’s event made headlines for the wrong reasons when footage emerged of organisers attempts to move an injured bull out of the arena.

Animal welfare groups said handlers breached rules by not putting down the animal immediately.

The Australian Professional Riders Association (APRA) says an emergency chute has now been installed at the arena.

Rodeo director Steve Hilton says animal handling rules have also been formalised.

“When these sorts of situations do happen, things are in place to make sure the right people [are] in the right places to accommodate the situation,” he said.

“We’ve actually formulated a set of rules that are written down rather than being in people’s heads.”

He says APRA is working with other groups to ensure all 450 rodeos across Australia follow the same guidelines.

The RSPCA says it is satisfied organisers have improved standards at the Warwick rodeo.

RSCPA spokesman Michael Beatty says while there was no breach, it has been working with organisers to improve standards across all rodeos.

“It did prompt a number of the major rodeo organisations in Australia to actually get together and look at ways to improve sort of possible incidents from happening again,” he said.

“In other words, to hopefully prevent incidents such as that … from happening again and … to handle them better.”