Car crash at South Island rodeo protest
A woman who crashed into a stationary car at the entrance to the Canterbury Rodeo claims she was distracted by protesters outside the event.
About 50 protesters were gathered outside the Canterbury Rodeo in Mandeville on Saturday morning with placards claiming the sport was cruel to animals.
Driver Olivia Stewart was travelling along Mandeville St when she collided with the back of a car waiting to turn off for the rodeo at about 10.40am. No one was seriously injured in the crash.
Stewart said she was distracted by the protesters' signs.
"As I was driving along I saw all the protesters along the side of the road," she said.
"I was looking at them and all their signs and then turned round to look at the front of me and the car ahead had stopped.
"I went into the back of her and pushed her aside. It was quite scary."
Stewart collided with a car driven by Trish Moore of Dunsandel, who had two children on board.
Moore was upset by the crash.
"We came to enjoy a day at the rodeo," she said.
A spokeswoman for St John Ambulance said two people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
Protest organiser Will Appelbe of SAFE NZ said they had made sure the protest was safe.
"They rammed into the back of the car in front. It was really unfortunate. We don't want to see anyone hurt," he said.
Appelbe said they were protesting the rodeo because they believed it was cruel to animals.
"We are standing up for the animals that are tormented, bullied and abused at all rodeos across the country every year," he said.
"It is only a matter of time before animals are killed. Four animals were killed last year during the rodeo season."
Canterbury Rodeo Association president Jono Reed said he did not know the details of the crash. He said warm weather had attracted strong crowds to the rodeo.
He was not concerned about the protest.
"It is just a peaceful demonstration," he said.
"It is their opinion and they are expressing it. I don't personally agree. We have practices in place to make sure the animals are fit and well."