Oregon lawmakers have voted to pass legislation that will ban the cruel rodeo event otherwise known as horse tripping.
The bill, SB 835, which was sponsored by Senators Mark Hass and Bill Hansell, and Representative David Gomberg, passed the Senate with the House’s amendments by a vote of 24-6 and now goes to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for a signature.
The event in question is exactly what it sounds like and involves roping horses by the legs while they’re running and causing them to fall. For a fast-moving large animal, the crash is as violent as you can imagine and often leaves horses with serious injuries ranging from rope burns and internal damage to broken bones and death, never mind the psychological trauma it inflicts on them.
Advocacy organizations including Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Animal Law Coalition have been fighting to end this cruel event, along with caring members of the public — a Care2 petition supporting a ban gathered more than 20,000 signatures.
A previous attempt to ban it failed because rodeo supporters had legislators convinced this wasn’t going on and also argued that a ban on horse tripping could eventually lead to a ban on other roping events and may adversely affect what owners are allowed to do with their animals.
Last year, SHARK released footage from the Valley Big Loop Rodeo in southeastern Oregon that infuriated the public and reignited the call for a ban. This May, Adam Fahnestock, a member of SHARK, was arrested for videotaping one of these events in the state. This is what he saw:
Clearly there’s evidence and this time around, legislators were presented with it at committee hearings by the Animal Law Coalition so they could see that even though it may not occur at events sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, it clearly still goes on.
Said Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon state director for The HSUS:
Horse tripping events are traumatizing for the animals and can cause catastrophic injuries such as broken legs, necks and backs. Watching a horse fall to the ground and suffer is not entertainment―it’s inhumane and has no place in Oregon. We are grateful to Senator Mark Hass and Representatives David Gomberg and Val Hoyle for their strong and principled leadership in moving this bill through the legislative process, and we urge Gov. Kitzhaber to swiftly sign this measure into law.
The bill will make horse tripping for entertainment or sport, or as practice for entertainment or sport, a Class B misdemeanor, leaving violators subject to up to six months in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both.
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