Policy on the run

No-one wants to deliberately hurt animals and the vast majority of people would oppose events that do.
But in life there are many shades of grey and when the Adelaide Hills Council passed a resolution last week not to support entertainment activities that had the potential to cause distress or harm to animals, and to align itself with the recommendations of the RSPCA and Animals Australia, it took a philosophical position that placed the whole district on the side of the anti-rodeo and anti-jumps racing lobby.
The RSPCA and Animals Australia are emphatic about their opposition to these entertainment activities.
There are many people in the Hills who support that view which is why 700 people  signed a petition opposing the Adelaide Hills Rodeo scheduled for Lobethal in November.
However, there are many people who are not opposed to rodeos and jumps racing.
The Adelaide Hills Council might not know about them because they didn’t sign a petition but, in light of the fact that the rodeo organisers had no problems organising a sell-out fundraising dinner and attracting local sponsorship, significant support is out there.
Support is also there for the Oakbank  jumps racing carnival judging by the 100,000-plus crowd which flocks there every Easter.
And that is the nub of the issue – consultation.
In stark contrast with their approach to the two sides of the car rally debate, councillors passed a resolution last week without a survey, a policy workshop or even a report that outlined the recommendations and standards of the RSPCA and Animals Australia.
There was almost no debate on the issue.
The only councillor who raised an objection was Deputy Mayor Bill Gale and he was shut down because he didn’t follow meeting procedure.
He declined to speak later so he missed his chance to possibly change the outcome, but he’d said enough that should have caused his fellow elected members to perhaps pause and consider the wider implications of what they were passing.
This resolution was policy on the run.
The wording is ambiguous and open to interpretation.
Exactly what constitutes distress or the potential to harm animals is unclear.
Does showjumping, cross country competition, polo, campdrafting, lure hunting with hounds or even sheepdog trails at country shows fit these categories?
Those issues should have been considered before the council committed itself to a values statement that will now be used as a rallying cry for protesters.

11 Comments on "Policy on the run"

  1. I suggest the AHC read the paper submitted by Dr I. GOLLAN at the symposium entitled “Recreational Animal Welfare convened by the AVA (Queensland Division ) Copies may be purchased from AVA house 70 Station road, Indooroopilly QLD. 4068. It will give them facts by a person qualified to judge and who knows and understands animals. A person who actually attended rodeos for the sole purpose of studying the animals used. It makes very good reading.

  2. ‘Policy on the run’? Firstly it is not a policy it a resolution on a position. The policy has not been developed yet so this is misleading. There has not been a policy workshop because there has not been a policy developed yet. Please get the facts straight before you report them. The council did however make a statement about how their policy will be informed and yes, they have indeed taken “a philosophical position that placed the whole district on the side of the anti-rodeo and anti-jumps racing lobby.” It is the councils right to make a statement about where they sit on these issues, in fact they need to in order to develop policies. The recommendations of the RSPCA and Animals Australia are widely publicly available (do a quick internet search) and the Council has had many weeks of discussions and time to review the information before taking this position, it was far from an ill thought out decision. What exactly was the Deputy Mayor’s objection? I would like to know. I would have also thought it was pretty obvious when animals are in distress and as for injuries and deaths, this is self evident. Why should a community tolerate this sort of treatment of animals? The Adelaide Hills Council have taken a strong and admirable stand.

  3. I am so proud of the AH council for taking a stance against animal cruelty. Activities such as rodeos and jumps racing have no place in a compassionate society. The treatment of animals in rodeos is appalling and as for jumps racing, 6 horses dead in SA and Vic this season (which is not over yet).

  4. Amy. May I suggest you look for it yourself. Obviously the Council did not research the subject but relied totally on a group of people who presented plenty of emotion and no supportable evidence. Coucillor VONOW admitted it was his own personal opinion. On what did he base that opinion. If the council makes decisions about what ratepayers money is spent on with the same lack of consultation and research as they did this issue then I feel sorry for the ratepayers in the area. Animals Australia has not put forward any research papers. Only photos from American rodeos (we live in Australia remember) and dialogue that is long on emotion and short on facts. The RSPCA being a partially funded government agency can only report offences against the act. They cannot make policy. Only the Government has that power. Likewise the RSPCA has not proven (Plenty of talk but no facts) that rodeo animals are traumatised by rodeo. I wonder how many of the Inspectors employed on big salaries by the RSPCA actually have any but a rudimentary understanding of any animal other than dogs and cats. Rodeo is a legitimate use of animals in sport, as much as racing, eventing and showjumping to name a few. The injury rate for rodeo animals is 0.034% or about 1 in every 2,500 . That is a researched fact.

    • Robert, the council had plenty of information at their disposal to make this decision. Were you involved in the process Robert? No, you were not, and you are misrepresenting the way the council reached their decision. I presume you are the Robert that’s on the Committee for the Rodeo, are you not?

      There is plenty of documented evidence of animals being traumatised, injured and killed by rodeos (hundreds of hours of footage and photos).

      As for this so called research, it’s really strange but this research is not actually available anywhere as far as I can tell. Even APRA can’t provide a copy of it. So if you can, Robert, please post it online or tell us where to get a copy. That I would be willing to pay for. The statistic of 0.034% or 1 in every 2,500 is highly dubious to say the least. This seems to be the fallback of the rodeo argument but I have yet to actually be shown this so called research.

  5. The AHC is to be commended for a progressive and thoughtful resolution, in touch with public opinion, which is becoming more opposed to events which involve pain and suffering to animals, as rodeos and jumps racing so obviously do. There are myriad events which DO NOT, so why not concentrate on these,and make a Fun Day truly FUN for ALL concerned – the decent and civilised thing to do!

  6. Exactly what constitutes distress and potential harm to animals is unclear? No consultation? The Hills Council consulted with the best and most informed people they could – RSPCA and Animals Australia. These 2 organisations have a long and respected view of not just what is good for humans but also animals. Its a win-win way of thinking as anyone knows that when animals are used for entertainment and profit there is potential for abuse. We have seen many cases of abuse in action in the past and it doesn’t look like its slowing down. Prevention is better than cure. Of course following guidelines does not mean banning the lot – it means just that – making informed decisions and deferring to experts in the field of animal welfare. I think Mr Osterman wrote his article on the run. Perhaps The Courier was running short on articles that week.

    AHA you did the right thing. We live in a compassionate world now and you lead the field. Never tire of following your conscience and doing right. There is always opposition and criticism when you take a courageous stand. You didn’t just talk; you took action. Those who lack that resolution can only descend to criticism. Talk is cheap. Let the dogs bark at the Oak Tree.

  7. Go have a look into how animals are given electric shocks to make them jump for the enterainment of people, that alone is cruelty to animals and the reason why more and more places are banning rodeos. The same for Jumps Racing, go look into the reasons why South Australia and Victoria are the only states to still permit it and again its because of cruelty to animals.

  8. You can get a copy from AVA (Queensland Division). AVA HOUSE. 70 Station road Indooroopilly QLD 4068. Yes. you will have to pay for it. Yes I have a copy. I hate to tell you but the RSPCA and Animal Australia are not the experts you seem to think they are.

  9. Actually Amy, it would appear that the council had plenty of information put forward by the animal activists but nothing put forward by people who actually know about rodeo. I believe the council was misled by the nose and were unable to see the forrest for the trees. Not to worry. When a nice cheque is handed over to the local community I am sure councillors will make sure they are present for the photo opportunity. In the mean time lets cowboyup.

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