Update June 5, 2011: Despite the efforts of advocates to salvage the NV bill to ban horse tripping, S.B. 364, it was not reconsidered this session either as part of another bill or otherwise.
Update June 1, 2011: The NV bill to ban horse tripping, S.B. 364, was thought to have died in the Nevada Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Maybe not. A youtube video showing a Winnemucca, NV charreada where a horse was flipped on his back, has caused legislators to reconsider. The video gives lie to the claim that the cruel practice does not occur in NV. NV voters have flooded the capitol with calls to pass this legislation.
The legislative session ends this Friday, June 3, 2011. BUT, if Sen. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas), Senate Majority Leader, and Assembly member John Oceguera (D-Las Vegas), Speaker of the Assembly, BOTH sign a waiver to resurrect SB 364, the committee can vote on the bill. If it passes, the bill could then be voted on by the full Senate and the Assembly.
Two Nevada counties, Clark and Lyon, have already banned horse tripping, and Washoe (Reno) is considering a ban.
In fact, charrerias (Mexican rodeos) outlawed horse tripping in the US years ago. Ramiro Rodriguez , President of the American Charrerias Association, wrote, "The charros in the US do not trip the horses when they do manganas in any competition, whoever trips a horse (intentionally) is suspended for a whole year."
During committee hearings this past month, horse tripping supporters have said the proposed statewide ban would undermine rodeos. Not so, says Willis Lamm, a NV resident who is an equine expert. Lamm explained, "Horse tripping is not a recognized event in any form of sanctioned rodeo. It is a shadow sport similar to dog fighting. So the issue has absolutely no relationship to rodeos…. This issue has absolutely nothing to do with rodeos nor is it some back door attempt to attack rodeo and livestock events. I’m one of the first to tout Nevada’s safety record when it comes to sanctioned rodeos and livestock events, but I certainly testified in favor of this bill."
Curiously, during the first committee hearing, one speaker argued that a horse tripping ban would mean Texas would take away the National Finals Rodeo from Nevada. But committee members pointed out that Texas bans horse tripping and the speaker sat down…
For more on horse tripping and S.B. 364, read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below.
Original report: Yet another western state will consider banning horse tripping. Nevada state Sen. Copening has introduced S.B. 364 which would make it an act of animal cruelty for anyone to engage intentionally in horse tripping for enjoyment, entertainment, competition or practice. It would also be illegal for anyone to knowingly organize, sponsor, promote or receive money for admission to an act of horse tripping.
"Horse tripping" means to use a wire, pole, stick, rope or other object to cause a horse, mule, burro, ass or other animal of the equine species to fall or lose its balance."
Horse tripping is an event usually in Mexican rodeos called charreadas, and involves two cowboys on horseback chasing a horse, causing the animal to run. When the horse has reached full speed, a third horseman lassoes one of the horse’s front legs, then stops and pulls back on the rope, causing the horse to trip forward and smash full-force into the ground.
Most recently Arizona outlawed the cruel practice in 2009, A.R.S. § 13-2910.09 and Nebraska in 2008, R.R.S. Neb. § 54-911. In some states the practice is exempt from animal cruelty laws as a rodeo event and so must be specifically prohibited by law. For more on exemptions from animal cruelty laws for rodeo events….
Tripped horses typically suffer serious injuries, from broken bones to spinal damage, sometimes dying as a result. Those who survive are usually so psychologically traumatized that they cannot even look at a rope without becoming terrified.
Under S.B. 364 a first offense within 7 years would be a misdemeanor carrying a jail sentence of 2-10 days, a fine and community service. A 2nd offense within 7 years would also be a misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence of 10 days to 6 months, a fine and community service. A third offense within 7 years would be a Category C felony.
Under Nevada law, counties can enact ordinance prohibiting animal cruelty but must provide a criminal penalty.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO
Write (faxes or letters are best) or call committee members and your Nevada state senator and urge them to vote yes on S.B. 364.