Anti-rodeo activists call for sport to be banned due to danger to humans

Animal activists are now turning their attention to "human injuries" as they fight to see rodeos banned.

ACC figures show claims for "rodeo accidents" have topped $1.3 million in the past five years.

Rodeo enthusiasts say their sport is one of the country's most exciting and thrilling and it's fair to say skilful.

But it's also described by opponents as one of the "most dangerous" sports, and it's because of footage showing humans injured during rodeo events.

"I would describe it as very violent," says Dan Challenger from the Animal Justice League. "It shows a very reckless attitude towards animals - not only that but it shows a reckless attitude towards peoples safety as well.

Animal Justice League provided Newshub with pictures of a man injured in a rodeo, saying they were shot last year at rodeos in Warkworth north of Auckland and in Winchester, in the South Island.

Figures show ACC paid out between $200,000 and $400,000 each year for the past five years on rodeo injuries. Overall, that's more than $1.3 million.

"That's a huge sum of money to be claimed against a sport the majority of New Zealander's don't support," says Mr Challenger.

But the Rodeo Cowboys Association has hit back, saying it's as safe as other contact sports.

"The rate of serious injuries in rodeo is actually less than many other contact sports in New Zealand, and we've had no fatalities in this country that we're aware of," says Rodeo Association spokesperson Michael Laws.

He's correct - last year rugby injuries cost the taxpayer more than $78 million. But Mr Challenger says that number doesn't tell the full story.

"Each claim totals around $1200, whereas rodeo tops around $6500. That tells me that rodeo is a far more dangerous event."

The sport has come under heavy fire in recent weeks. Protesters were back at Saturday's rodeo in Whāngārei again calling for a ban.

The Rodeo and Cowboy Association says this is simply another case of activists determined to shut down its sport. It says measures are in place to avoid injuries, but like many contact sports they can and will occur.