Rodeos in Victoria - Information for Participants
Ensuring the welfare of animals used in rodeos is the responsibility of not just the licence/permit holder but of all persons participating in the rodeo. Changes to legislation in Victoria mean that participants of rodeos can now be prosecuted for failing to comply with the regulations governing the conduct of rodeos.
Participants at rodeos include competitors, stock handlers and employees of the licensee/permit holder as well as, in some cases, spectators.
Note: For the purposes of this brochure "rodeo" also refers to a rodeo school unless specifically stated otherwise.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (POCTA) Act and Regulations set out the requirements for the licensing and operation of rodeos in Victoria. The legislation sets out requirements for both the operators of, and participants in, rodeos. The information in this brochure is for the benefit of participants and highlights regulations that they need to be aware of and comply with.
Licence /permit requirements
Rodeos can only be conducted under a licence or permit issued by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), while rodeo schools can be conducted under permit only. Applicants must be accredited stock contractors with an approved rodeo organisation. Licence or permit holders are ultimately responsible for the health and welfare of the animals used at the rodeo, ensuring a vet is present at all times during the rodeo and that the legislation is complied with. For full details of the permit or licence holder responsibilities refer to the Act and Regulations. The general rodeo information sheet also provides more information on requirements for holding a rodeo.
Amendments to the regulations in 2008 mean that participants at rodeos can now be fined or prosecuted if they breach certain requirements.
Competitors, stock contractors, animal handlers and even spectators at rodeos have a responsibility to be to be aware of and comply with the following requirements:
- Animals must not be struck or poked with any item in such a way that unreasonable pain or injury is caused to the animal.
- Spur rowels may be worn when riding a horse but must be free running.
- Spur rowels must be capable of at least half a turn if worn or used when riding a bull.
- Spur rowels must not be worn or used unless they are dulled, a minimum of 3 mm in width (at the narrowest part) and have a minimum of 2 cm to the point of the rowel.
- Sharp or cutting objects must not be used in the cinch, saddle, girth or flank strap.
- When roping animals, a roped animal must not be pulled backwards off its feet or allowed to be dragged.
- Animals, other than cattle and horses used in the rodeo, must not be taken or allowed in the arena during an event or training.
- Fireworks must not be used during a rodeo event or used on the premises of a rodeo school while the school is being held.
- A person must not ride in, take part in or handle animals used in a rodeo if they have a blood alcohol concentration over 0.05 or are under the influence of a drug (same as for driving a car).
- Electric prodders:
- must not be used on cattle less than 3 months of age
- must not be used on horses at any time (unless the attending vet has authorised the use for emergency reasons)
- if used, can only be used on the hip or shoulder of cattle must not be used in the arena or a training area
- can only be used on cattle in the chute where:
- the animal is down in the chute but in a position to rise; or
- the animal has refused to leave the open chute.
- must not be used excessively or where the animal cannot move away.
Failure to meet these requirements could result in a fine or prosecution for the person who commits the offence. Fines vary from 1 to 3 penalty units (approximately $117 to $350*) or a maximum court penalty of between 5 to 20 penalty units (approximately $580 to $2,340*) depending on the offence. (* penalty unit is $116.82 for 2009/2010 year however they are indexed and are updated on 1 July each year).
Copies of the full legislation are available from the Acts and Regulations page. This does not replace the legislation, the Act and Regulations should be read and understood by all licence or permit holders prior to operating a rodeo.
Further information in relation to rodeos, licences and permits can be found on the rodeo page.
Remember it is your responsibility to ensure that you treat all animals used in a rodeo humanely and comply with these conditions if participating in a rodeo.