Legal requirements for rodeo operators

The operation of rodeos and rodeo schools in Victoria is regulated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA Act) and POCTA Regulations 2019. This legislation sets out requirements including need for a licence or permit to operate a rodeo and rodeo school in Victoria.

The main objective of legislation governing rodeos in Victoria is to ensure the welfare of animals used in rodeos.

It is important for any person operating, competing in, working at, or just attending a rodeo to be aware of their legal responsibilities. This includes:

  • licence and permit holders
  • attending vets
  • competitors
  • anyone who breaches the legislation.

Licence and permit requirements to operate a rodeo

Rodeos can only be operated under a licence or permit issued by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

Rodeo schools can be operated under permit only.

Applications for a licence or permit can only be made by an Approved Rodeo Organisation (ARO), or person or body corporate that is accredited by an ARO.

Rodeo application forms

Application and granting of licences/permits and conditions for operation of rodeo/rodeo schools are regulated under the POCTA Act and POCTA Regulations 2019.

Application for a permit must be made at least 28 days prior to the rodeo start date, or for an annual licence,at least 28 days before the date of the first rodeo to be held under the licence.

Permit and licence applicants must include an Animal Welfare Plan that includes:

  1. a description of the role or roles that any person employed to assist the applicant will undertake to monitor or discharge requirements under the POCTA Act and Regulations 2019; and
  2. a description of the reporting and communication processes that will be implemented by the applicant, and any person employed to assist the applicant, and the veterinary practitioner, to ensure compliance with the POCTA Act and Regulations 2019.

Application forms for a rodeo licence, rodeo permit, or Approved Rodeo Organisation, can be obtained by emailing:

An Animal Welfare Plan template  is provided with each application form, or on request to the above email.

Licence and permit holder responsibilities

Rodeo licence and permit holders must be aware of and comply with requirements of their licence or permit as well as the general requirements set out in the legislation. Failure to comply could result in infringement notices, court prosecution or revoking of licence or permits.

Conditions of a rodeo licence or permit include:

  • taking responsibility for the management of all animals involved in a rodeo (regardless of whether the licence or permit holder provided them or whether they are from another stock contractor)
  • provision of proper and sufficient food, water and shelter for all animals at the rodeo
  • ensuring no stimulant or hypnotic substance is used on any animal
  • ensuring the rodeo arena, chute and yard fencing is strong enough to contain the animals and clearly visible to the animals
  • chute and yard fencing is constructed in a manner that is not likely to cause injury or harm to any animal
  • ensuring any animals in a chute are immediately released if they become caught, try to jump out more than twice or otherwise appear in danger of injury or harming themselves.

Additional conditions may be added to a licence or permit.

Licences and permits must be produced to an inspector on demand.

The holder of a rodeo licence must provide the following information to the Department Head at least 28 days before a rodeo is operated:

  • the dates the rodeo will be held
  • the estimated start and finish times for each day of the rodeo
  • the location of the rodeo
  • the name, address and telephone number of the veterinary practitioner that will attend the rodeo
  • a list of all the rodeo events to be held at the rodeo
  • the name of the approved organisation with which the licence holder is accredited.

Licence and permit holder - vets

Licence and permit holders must:

  • ensure both they and the nominated vet are in attendance at all times when the rodeo is in progress
  • accept and implement the instructions of the vet in relation to the animals used at the rodeo.

Vet responsibilities

The nominated vet must:

  • ensure he/she has experience in cattle and horses, with a minimum caseload of 20% for those species over the previous year, prior to agreeing to attend the rodeo.
  • where the nominated vet cannot attend the rodeo, advise the permit/licence holder within 72 hours of the replacement appointed vet
  • inspect animals before and after a rodeo or rodeo school
  • provide a veterinary report to the Department Head detailing the condition of the animals involved in the rodeo or rodeo school and any injuries sustained. The veterinary report form template can be obtained by emailing


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 $192 to $576.

Maximum court penalties vary from 5 to 20 penalty units, depending on the offence — approximately $960 to $3,840.

Penalty units are updated each year on 1 July. In the 2023-2024 financial year a penalty unit was valued at $192.31

Page last updated: 20 Feb 2024