PUBLISHED ON: 28 June 2012
After receiving evidence from Animals Australia detailing the suffering and cruelty endured by animals at rodeo events, Kmart has announced it will not sponsor the Mt Isa rodeo and will steer clear of such events in the future.
A spokesperson for Kmart Managing Director, Guy Russo, has confirmed:
"In light of the evidence that you have provided and outlining for us the potential for animal cruelty and negligence we have made a decision not to continue our sponsorship of the Mt Isa Rodeo. Whilst we believe this is the only Rodeo that we have been involved in, we will look at ensuring no further activities like these are sponsored by Kmart." (Letter to Animals Australia, 14 June, 2012)
Kmart joins another iconic major Australian company, Telstra, in standing up for animals and refusing to sponsor rodeos.
Rodeos are 'entertainment' at the expense of animals. They involve inflicting cruelty on horses, bulls and calves who are often provoked into behaving ‘wildly’ through the use of flank straps, spurs or cattle prods. Animals Australia has monitored rodeos for many years and evidence reveals animals, particularly horses, in a constant state of anxiety and fear. Injuries, deaths and a clear disregard for animal welfare and the standards which govern such events have also been witnessed.
At the Mt Isa Rodeo, investigators have seen fireworks let off over the holding yards where horses were penned; calves being jerked backwards and dragged by lassos around their necks; traumatised horses rearing and scrambling in the chutes, desperately trying to escape — with others falling down in the chutes, having given up.
Rodeo events have been banned in the UK and some parts of Europe and the United States because of their inherent cruelty and likelihood to result in serious injury or death of animals. In the absence of Australian governments acting to outlaw such brutish events, we rely on caring companies like Kmart to take a stand against animal cruelty. After all, rodeos will only exist while there are companies out there willing to support them.