PRESS RELEASE: Gold Coast Mayor Receives Inaugural Compassionate Citizen Award

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On JUN 23, 2009

Animals Australia has awarded its inaugural Compassionate Citizen Award to Australian sporting legend and Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke for speaking out against the cruelty of rodeos.

In an interview last week Mayor Clarke publicly described rodeos as "horrifying" and "human entertainment at the expense of animals". Clarke has vowed to oppose any request to acquire council funds for the promotion of rodeos.

"As a revered Australian sportsman Mayor Clarke is in a very good position to state what is sport and what is animal abuse. His public opposition to rodeos will resound through the Gold Coast community and hopefully stop many people from attending the rodeo at the Carrara Equestrian Ground this Friday night," said Glenys Oogjes Animals Australia's Executive Director.

Referring to a rodeo he witnessed at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre two years ago, Clarke recalled, "I hated seeing what they do to animals to make them buck. They (pro rodeo people) say that they love bucking, so why do they stop bucking when the riders are off and the belts around them are loosened?"

In rodeos, naturally placid animals such as horses and cattle are physically provoked into displaying 'wild' behaviour. Straps are pulled tightly around the animals' flanks causing them to violently 'buck' in an attempt to free themselves of the 'flank strap' and rider. This can result in horrific injuries and even deaths, often in front of children.

Animals Australia is urging Gold Coasters to follow Mayor Clarke's compassionate lead this week and not support the privately run 'Bulls on the Beach' rodeo at Carrara Equestrian Ground on Friday.

Executive Director of Animals Australia Glenys Oogjes added, "Rodeos equate to bullying animals for 'fun' and have no place in today's society. Ron Clarke epitomises the outstanding sporting tradition of fair play we are proud of in this country. It is no wonder that he is so appalled by the cruelty of rodeos and has taken a stand on behalf of these animals. All who care about animal welfare are grateful to Mayor Clarke for speaking out. He is a very worthy recipient of Animals Australia's inaugural Compassionate Citizen Award."

Animals Australia's Compassionate Citizen Award recognises the actions of individuals that promote compassion towards animals.

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