Cancel the Bull Riding event at Melbourne Arena on June 27, 2020

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We call on Minister for Sport, the Hon. Martin Pakula MP and the Board of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust to cancel the proposed bull riding event at the Melbourne Arena on June 27, 2020. 

Bulls buck instinctively in response to the tightened flank strap around their underbelly and being repeatedly kicked with metal spurs. These events create a scenario in which the bulls' reactions as prey animals are similar to being attacked by a predator. They experience fear, stress and panic, and buck repeatedly in order to get the rider off their back. Some animals become so distressed that they charge dismounted riders, which is further evidence of their fear response. 

A study of bull behaviour at rodeos determined that nearly one third of animals assessed showed signs of distress leading up to the start of bull-riding events and that those who did not react may have either become habituated to the aversive situation or have given up and endure the negative experience [1].

We no longer accept animals being used as a form of entertainment in circuses. We shouldn't allow bulls to be used in stadium shows with loud music, pyrotechnics and lasers. 

As quoted by Animals Australia: “Rodeos are a cruel spectator sport, condemned by all animal protection organisations, in which bulls, horses and sometimes other animals are physically provoked into displaying 'wild' behaviour by the use of such devices as spurs, electric prods and flank straps. Rodeo animals suffer many kinds of injuries, and are sometimes killed or have to be destroyed.” Read more here: https://animalsaustralia.org/issues/rodeos.php

The RSPCA is opposed to rodeos and rodeo schools because of the potential for significant injury, suffering or distress to the animals involved. Read more here: https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-are-the-animal-welfare-issues-with-rodeos/

It is out of step for an event such as this to be held at Melbourne's iconic sporting and entertainment facility. Melbourne is known for our world class sporting, arts and entertainment events, and not for outdated modes of entertainment that rely on using animals as their centrepiece. Bull riding does not align with the best that Melbourne has to offer and our contemporary attitudes towards animals and their wellbeing.

Please join us in seeking the cancellation of the bull riding event at Melbourne Arena scheduled for June 27, 2020.

Reference: [1] Goldhawk C, Bond G, Grandin T, Pajor E (2016) Behaviour of bucking bulls prior to rodeo performances and relation to rodeo and human activities. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 181:63–69.