IN THE NEWS: Clarke's rodeo stance receives seal of approval

IN THE NEWS: On JUN 28, 2009

MORE public figures such as Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke should speak out against rodeos to raise awareness of their cruelty, says animal protection group Animals Australia.

Cr Clarke said in The Sun-Herald this month he thought rodeos were "horrifying" and "human entertainment at the expense of animals" after attending one at the coast two years ago.

"I'm an animal lover and get upset when I see them being tormented to act out of character.

They [rodeos] are definitely human entertainment at the animals' expense," he

said.

Last week, Animals Australia's president Joy Verrinder presented him with its inaugural Compassionate Citizen Award at the council chambers.

"Public figures who speak out against rodeos

greatly help us educate would-be rodeo attendees, many who are totally unaware of the cruelty involved," she said.

Cr Clarke said the award was "unexpected but greatly appreciated".

Animals Australia is the nation's second largest animals protection organisation, with 40 member societies and thousands of members.

Ms Verrinder said thousands of animals each year are forced to display "unnatural and dangerous acts" in rodeos.

The Australian Capital Territory is the only jurisdiction to issue a total ban on rodeos and animal activists are lobbying industry and governments elsewhere to issue similar bans.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisale said he thought the day would come when rodeos were banned and welcomed debate on the issue.

"I don't think there should be any cruelty to any animals," he said.

"I'd be guided by community attitudes and I haven't had anyone calling me up saying we should ban them."

Ipswich City Council votes on Tuesday on banning animal circuses. Brisbane City Council Mayor Campbell Newman declined to comment but this month refused to support a ban on the use of circus animals.

Premier Anna Bligh is pro-rodeo.

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www.animalsaustralia.org