Stanthorpe Rodeo organisers respond to arena horse death
THE National Rodeo Association hopes the serious injury and death at its events will become less frequent after it finalises a new animal welfare code of conduct.
The overhaul comes after a horse died in the Stanthorpe Rodeo ring on Saturday.
NRA animal welfare officer Steve Augustin said the death was a shock.
"The horse stumbled as it left the chute, fell over on top of itself; it died seconds after the incident," he said.
As soon as the animal fell, about one dozen rodeo participants rushed to its side before carrying it from the arena on a fence panel.
Mr Augustin could not confirm if a vet had assessed the animal before it was moved.
"I am not sure if a vet was there," he said.
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He added that the current NRA guidelines only required a vet or animal welfare officer to be on-call for an event.
They are not required onsite at all times.
The incident occurred in full view of thousands of spectators and was filmed by Animal Liberation Queensland rodeo campaign director Gayle D'Arcy.
It was the ninth rodeo animal death documented by ALQ in the past 18 months.
"The industry does not report animal deaths, and we only get to about 10 per cent of events, so the numbers are probably a lot higher," Ms D'Arcy said.
Mr Augustine denied that claim and pointed to NRA research that put the national rate of serious injury or death at 0.5 per cent.
"These animals are bred to do what they do," Mr Augustin said.
"It is like a racehorse bred to run or a trotter bred to trot - they know nothing else.
"It may be this horse tried too hard and lost its footing."
Despite ALQ criticism of the rodeo industry, Mr Augustine said the NRA worked with it to develop the animal welfare code of conduct.
"We are trying to find the balance between the industry and the activists," he said.
"Everyone is entitled to a view and the activists are more visual these days, but we tell our members to respect their views."
The NRA code of conduct is expected to be finalised by the end of 2020.