South Canterbury Lions clubs are able to make their own decision on whether to support rodeos, the district governor says.
Lions’ South Canterbury district governor Lorna Inch said while the national body had not backed down on its view clubs should dissociate from rodeos, clubs were autonomous and were able to make their own decisions about whether or not to support rodeos.
She stressed that while Lions did not support cruelty to animals, there had been no evidence of this happening in rodeos and any debate over cruelty was between rodeos and the anti-rodeo groups.
However, this contrasts with a media statement released by the Lions Council of Governors in late November that the national Lions body will “not support Lions Clubs in New Zealand to participate in any profiting or provide support for rodeo events using the Lions Clubs New Zealand [brand]”.
A New Zealand Anti-Rodeo Coalition spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Courier via social media the original media statement from the Lions national body covered the organisation’s position well.
“If an individual club decides to bring their governing body into disrepute we imagine the fallout would be immense with both the governing body and the general public who overwhelmingly support a full ban on rodeo.”
The coalition was the main group pushing for Lions to quit its involvement in rodeos and had since been promoting the work of Lions clubs online since the announcement was made.
Waimate Lions member Martin Merhtenssaid he had threatened to resign from his club and start his own group if the decision was not changed.
Mrs Inch said the original statement from the national Lions Council of Governors was in reaction to criticism Lions received over involvement with rodeos.
Clubs were able to continue their services of directing drivers parking at events and taking the gate entry fees at rodeos.
“They do a service at the rodeos.”
There are three rodeos in the South Canterbury area, at Omarama, Winchester and Waimate. The Omarama event has no involvement with Lions clubs.