Dear Beagle Editor and Readers
I noted with interest and concern the advice provided by Eurobodalla Shire Council relating to its consultation on the renewal of the licence for the Rodeo Association of Moruya to conduct events at the showground ("Submissions sought on Moruya rodeo licence", The Beagle, January 6th 2023).
My concern relates to the gratuitous information about the history of the rodeo ("The rodeo has run for 48 years and is consistent with Council’s plan of management for the showground, and to obtain a new licence the rodeo must continue to comply with all relevant legislation") , but, more importantly, to the following sentence:
"Council is also considering mandatory compliance with the NSW Code of Practice for animals used in rodeo events as an additional condition should a new licence be granted." This is not something that councillors decided upon at their meeting of 22 November 2022, when it was agreed to put the matter of a licence renewal out for public consultation. On whose authority is this statement being made? Moreover, whoever wrote this has very little knowledge of the legislative requirements around the conduct of rodeos, which (outrageously) are given an exemption from the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 on the condition that they comply with the NSW Code of Practice for Animals Used in Rodeo Events (see Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2012).
Should the Council decide to renew the rodeo licence under this condition, it simply means that the rodeo must comply with the law as it stands, nothing more. No further safeguards or animal welfare protections will have been added.
In terms of the Code itself, it is 35 years old and is riddled with phrases such as "it is expected ..." and "should be ..." , which allow for failures to adhere to the Code with no penalty. Furthermore, the Code itself states:
"The Code is based on knowledge available at the time of publication and should be reviewed at intervals of no longer than 2 years to maintain the highest possible standards."
There is no indication that there has ever been a review, so the Code is not even compliant with itself! As for having a law which specifically prohibits activities that are clearly animal cruelty, then exempting those same activities in certain circumstances, that simply beggars belief. We as a society are either committed to the welfare of animals or not. As long as we close our eyes to the cruelty involved in rodeos, we are complicit in that cruelty.
If you still don't think rodeos are cruel, check out what the following organisations have to say:
I encourage readers to take the opportunity currently on offer to tell Council that tormenting animals for entertainment is not acceptable, and not to renew the rodeo licence. Here is the link: https://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/council/have-your-say/public-exhibition/other/public-notice-licence-for-mor
Editor's NOTE: Council advise in their agenda:
"A licence fee in accordance with Council’s adopted fees and charges to conduct a rodeo at the Moruya Showground will apply".
If you go to Fees and charges 2022-23 (2.9 MB) the only specific mention of rodeo is for cleaning
What is evident from the above is the lack of transparency of just how much Council stands to lose financially if it says NO to the rodeo.
Council clearly states: "A licence fee in accordance with Council’s adopted fees and charges to conduct a rodeo at the Moruya Showground will apply" in its agenda.
As such it is directing the ratepayer to find that fee clearly listed in its 2022-2023 Fees and Charges.
The decision to either continue granting the licence or cancelling it only affects Council's revenue. The financial loss is only the licence fee.