Oregon Horse Tripping Bill Now Law!

Horse tripping.roping legsUpdate July 1, 2013: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has now signed S.B. 835, a ban on horse tripping, into law. For more on this important legislation, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Update June 26, 2013: The Oregon House of Representatives has voted 57-1 to ban horse tripping. The vote means S.B. 835 is one step closer to becoming law. The bill now goes to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature. For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below and go here for ALC’s role in passing this important bill for the horses.

Update June 20, 2013: The Oregon House of Representatives Rules Committee has passed the horse tripping bill, S.B. 835. The bill was referred to the Rules Committee after the Judiciary Committee decided not to make a decision about the bill.

It’s on to a vote by the full House of Representatives. A vote is expected next week. Read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below for more on the bill and how you can contact your Oregon state rep to urge him/her to vote yes on S.B. 835!

Original report: The Oregon horse tripping bill, S.B. 835, would make it a Class B misdemeanor to intentionally cause “an equine to trip or fall, or rope[] or lasso[] the legs of an equine, for purposes of a rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment or sport or as practice for” such events.

Opponents are pushing for an amendment that would allow a horse’s front legs to be roped if the neck is roped first. This is exactly what S.B. 835 would ban! The members of the committee and their contact information are listed below. Please help stop an amendment that would make the bill pointless. Please contact the Committee members and urge them to vote NO on any amendment that may be proposed to SB 835 that would allow the front legs of a horse to be roped if the neck is roped first. Urge committee members to pass S.B. 835 AS IS. The committee is considering this bill NOW so please don’t wait to voice your support for S.B. 835 WITHOUT AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ALLOW HORSE TRIPPING IF THE HORSE IS ROPED AROUND THE NECK FIRST. Here is a horse roped around the neck and legs at the 2012 “Big Loop” rodeo. The organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) obtained the photo. It is hardly less cruel. As the photo demonstrates, even if a horse is roped around the neck first, roping the front legs still causes the horse to trip and crash head-first into the dirt.

Horse tripping SHARK.2012 SHARK volunteer, Adam Fahnestock, from Vancouver, WA, was actually arrested by Malheur County, OR sheriff’s deputies for filming this and other horse tripping at the 2013 Jordan Valley “Big Loop” rodeo. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and later released on $1,000 bond. Sheriff’s deputies approached him and told him to stop filming and he refused. There was a scuffle as Fahnestock tried to protect his camera and he was handcuffed. The rodeo was on private property, but a number of people were filming or taking photographs. Here is more video of the 2013 rodeo. Only Fahnestock was singled out. Later that day, Steve Hindi, founder of SHARK, was stopped by a sheriff’s deputies as he was driving away from the rodeo where he was ejected from the rodeo for having a camera. The traffic stop was purportedly because Hindi allegedly failed to show ID at the rodeo.

Last year Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead was surrounded and threatened at the Harney County, OR rodeo as he tried to photograph horse tripping events there.Watch the video: http://animallawcoalition.com/oregon-horse-tripping-exposed/

Horse tripping is an event that originated in Mexican rodeos called charreadas, Horses are lassoed around the front legs, and the rope is then pulled back, causing the horse to trip forward and smash full-force into the ground.

Rodeos in the U.S. follow variations of this practice. At the Jordan Valley Big Loop rodeo in Oregon, the horses are roped around the neck and then the legs and slammed to the ground. The result is the same: The horse is tripped or slammed to the ground in a terrifying and painful ordeal.

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. Horse tripping or roping is also illegal in New Mexico, N.M. Stat. § 30-18-11; Oklahoma, 21 Okl. St. § 1700; California, Cal Penal Code 597g; Florida, Fl. Stat. Sec. 828.12; Illinois, 510 ILCS 70/5.01; Maine, 7 M.R.S. § 3972; Texas, Tex. Penal Code § 42.09; and Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-20-4. 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….   

In fact, charrerdas banned horse tripping in the US years ago. Ramiro Rodriguez, President of the American Charrerdas 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.”

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.

Oregon state Senators Mark Hass and Bill Hansell introduced the bill which passed the state senate by a vote of 22-6.  The bill has now moved to the state House of Representatives where a hearing was held on May 13, 2013 by the Judiciary Committee.  At the May 13, 2013 hearing, Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead disputed testimony that horse tripping or roping does not occur at rodeos in Oregon. Mead went to the Harney County Rodeo in Burns, Oregon on July 7, 2012 and obtained photographs of horse tripping and roping taking place as rodeo events.

A cowboy still wearing his spurs came from Central Oregon to testify and told committee members, “There’s no reason to trip a horse.”

Previously, SHARK, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, obtained video of horse tripping at the 2012 Big Loop Rodeo.


Find your Oregon state representative here. Call or write (letters or faxes are best) your state rep and urge him or her to vote YES on S.B. 835 and end the cruel practice of horse tripping in Oregon.

Reps. David Gomberg and Sara Gelser are House sponsors of the bill.

ALC Undercover Photos Help Pass Horses Tripping Ban

Update July 1, 2013: Gov. John Kitzhaber has now signed S.B. 835.
Original report: On June 25th 2013 the Oregon House joined the Oregon Senate and passed a ban on the rodeo event of horse tripping. It’s now up to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber to sign the bill, S.B. 835, into law.

Animal Law Coalition has been fighting to end this cruel fringe rodeo event. Horse tripping involves rodeo cowboys roping the front legs of horses, bringing them crashing to the ground. Tripped horses often 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.

In the last Oregon legislative session opponents of the bill persuaded lawmakers that this event was not taking place in Oregon. We heard arguments that it was a waste of legislative effort to ban a practice that did not exist. Horse tripping does exist in Oregon and Animal Law Coalition set out to prove it. Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead went to the Harney County Rodeo in Burns, Oregon on July 7, 2012 and obtained photographs of the event showing horses being slammed to the ground. This was not easy, as rodeo organizers did everything possible to stop Animal Law Coalition from taking these photos.

Animal Law Coalition showed this evidence at both the Oregon House and Senate committee hearings in this legislative session. The graphic photos showed the horses being choked by neck while a second mounted rider roped the horses front legs, bringing the horse to the ground. A cowboy still wearing his spurs came from Central Oregon to testify and told committee members, “There’s no reason to trip a horse.”

For more on this bill…..

Help Limit Drugging of Horses Used for Racing

ThoroughbredCongressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have introduced H.R. 2012, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. The bill would provide the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with authority to clean up the sport and enforce anti-doping standards in races with simulcast wagering.

The Senate version, S. 973, was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-CO).

“Doping is a serious problem in today’s horseracing industry.” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.

“[I]t’s important that we shed light on a scandal that is plaguing horse racing in America—doping,” said Congresswoman Eshoo. “This cruel and dangerous practice with race horses not only causes an average of 24 horses to drop dead every week, but it is still permitted by law in the U.S.”

USADA is a non-governmental organization that is designated as the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympics and works with sports leagues to strengthen clean competition policies.

Under the new legislation, USADA would develop rules for permitted and prohibited substances and create anti-doping education, research, testing and adjudication programs for horseracing. The Act would require USADA to issue rules prohibiting race day medication and clarifying those substances that cannot be administered to horses participating in a race as well as those that can. The bill provides USADA would implement ‘programs relating to anti-doping education, research, testing, and adjudication to prevent any horse participating in a horserace …from racing under the effect of any substance, method, or treatment that could affect the performance of the horse [(unless otherwise authorized by USADA)]”.

USADA would also be responsible for issuing regulations that would exclude from horseracing where simulcast betting is allowed any person that the USADA or a State racing commission determines—

(A) has administered a banned substance to a horse participating in a race (a one and done penalty); (B) has violated 3 or more times a rule relating to substances that can be administered to a horse participating in a horserace in the context of the veterinarian-client relationship or relating to a ban on race day medication (3 strikes and out penalty); or (C) is subject to a suspension from horseracing activities by any State racing commission.

There is a provision in the Act that would allow USADA to suspend a ban on racing if the offender assists USADA or other authorities in uncovering other violations.

There is also a phase in period for the use of furosemide if the horse is at least 3 years old, complies with the requirements of the document entitled ‘‘ARCI-011-020 Medications and Prohibited Substances’’ published by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc.; and is within the context of a veterinarian client-patient relationship.

The move to put USADA in control of regulating medication and other substances given to race horses is good news for the horses.

The lack of effective regulation is shocking. Take the case of trainer Doug O’Neill that has drawn media attention. Doug O’Neill’s horse, I’ll Have Another, won the Kentucky Derby and 
the Preakness.

But take a
look at his other record, the one that shows he has multiple violations across
several states, 25 since 2005, particularly for doping his horses with drugs,
steroids or other substances that mask injuries and increase speed. -www.ThoroughbredRulings.com
O’Neill was 
suspended in California for just 45 days and given a $15,000 fine for milk shaking a
horse in 2010. This means he is accused
of illegally giving a horse a mixture of bicarbonate soda, electrolytes and
sugar with the idea of enhancing performance by reducing fatigue. A blood test on his horse, Argenta, at the
August 25, 2010 race at Del Mar revealed elevated levels of TCO2, a measure of
carbon dioxide in a horse’s bloodstream, a sign of milkshaking. O”Neill has
previously been fined for milkshaking but he denies ever doing it, telling AP
reporter David Ginsburg, “everything will be fine…. I’m very confident
everything will be dropped.” For its
part, the California Horse Racing Board delayed the suspension until after the
Belmont Stakes. Again, the race, the win, the money, are more important than
the safety of the horses.

has reason to be confident that the labyrinth of state racing commissions,
controlled by the industry, will never stop him from racing no matter how many
times he may violate restrictions on drugs and other substances given to
horses. Attorneys for violators have been very successful in delaying hearings
and appeals so that there is virtually no disruption to their racing careers.

Also, look at 
trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., for example. He was suspended Oct. 12, 2011 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for ten
years from racing in New York. The last violation
involved illegally giving butorphanol, a pain killer, to a horse at Aqueduct in
New York. Syringes containing Xylazine, another painkiller and tranquilizer,
 were found in his possession. His violations over the years had resulted in 64
sanctions in 9 states at 50 racetracks.

Yet, Dutrow is
currently working in racing in New York, training horses. Even with the suspension eventually goes into effect, nothing would 
stop Dutrow from training at tracks in other states.

Industry “Regulations”
the last few years the alphabet soup horse racing organizations, National Thoroughbred
Association (NTRA), the Jockey Club, the Association of Racing Commissioners
International (ARCI) and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC),
have claimed they can “regulate” doping in the industry. They
have “model rules” which, of course, are voluntary and unenforceable.
is more, the ARCI model rules take a very limited view of “horse doping”. ARCI claimed in a Sep. 1,
2011 report, “DRUGS IN U.S. RACING – 2010 THE FACTS” that there were only 47
cases of samples tested in 2010 that could qualify for the term “horse
Only the
“non-therapeutic” use of anabolic steroids is prohibited, for example.
Violations are listed on the RMTC Recent Rulings website at http://www.rmtcnet.com/content_recentrulings.asp.

Use of what
 the DEA classifies as Schedule III drugs are not counted as doping under the
industry’s “model” rules. This would include anabolic steroids like
nandrolone and the drug clenbuterol. ARCI may also exclude “milk shaking”
(TCO2) violations!

The ARCI model
rules permit race day Lasix, a diuretic almost universally given to horses to
eliminate water weight. Bute, a painkiller, is administered like aspirin.
Flunxin, a popular Non-Steroid Anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is also used to
mask injuries. The list goes on. (Some like Lasix or ACE, an anti-anxiety
medication, mean big money as well for the veterinarians and manufacturers.)

On top of
that, ARCI rules don’t count as doping the “overages” of
“therapeutic medication” that are Schedule III and IV drugs. It’s a simple matter to call a drug
“therapeutic” and then administer more than prescribed. And it would not be
illegal under the industry’s vision of regulating abuse of horses with drugs.

It should be
noted that state drug testing practices are as notoriously ineffective as their
penalties. The New York Times found, for
example, that New Mexico Racing Commission has found no bute positives
recently. NMRC admitted the Commission has not been testing for bute, a
commonly used painkiller, because of a limited budget. What else might not be currently tested for?

The use of
drugs and steroids to force horses to run with even severe injuries and push 
them to the point of dehydration and collapse is epidemic.- and virtually 

Congress has substantial power to demand changes that will
truly protect the horses and the wagering public who believe each race
consists of sound horses and an equal field. After all, horse racing
is about gambling dollars, and it is Congress that has permitted simulcast
betting across state lines pursuant to the Interstate Horse Racing 
Act, 15 U.S.C. §3001 et seq. And that has made horse racing a $40 billion a
year industry. Congress has also exempted internet gambling on horse
racing from restrictions on online gambling under the Unlawful Internet 
Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), 31 U.S.C.§§5361-5367.

are substantial giveaways to an industry. If we plan to continue to support
horse racing in this way, then we should make sure this industry is not a 
front for animal cruelty, a fraud on the betting public who have no idea the
extent of drugs used to mask injuries and increase speed. Please support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, H.R. 2012/S.B. 973.

Find your U.S. representative here. The House version has been assigned to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. If your rep is on the Subcommittee, please call or write (letters or faxes are best) your rep and urge him or her to support H.R. 2012. If your rep is not on the Subcommittee, contact him or her anyway and urge him/her to contact Subcommittee members in support of the bill.

Find your two U.S. Senators here. The Senate version has been assigned to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. If your senator(s) are on the Committee, please call or write (letters or faxes are best) your senators and urge them to support H.R. 2012/S.B. 973. If neither of your senators is on the Committee, contact them anyway and urge them to contact Committee members in support of the bill, S.B. 973, to restrict drugging of horses used for racing.

NV Horse Tripping Bill Signed into Law

Update June 4, 2013: The Assembly approved this bill in short order, and Gov. Brian Sandoval has now signed S.B. 72 into law.

For more on this new law, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.

Original report: Nevada bill, S.B. 72 is moving closer to becoming law. S.B. 72 would ban horse tripping, a cruel event at some rodeos. The practice is illegal in 10 states, and a bill is pending in Oregon to prohibit horse tripping in that state.

The Nevada bill has passed the State Senate by a unanimous vote. The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources has approved S.B. 72 by a 10-2 vote. It’s onto the full Assembly!

The bill defines horse tripping as “roping of the legs of or otherwise using a wire, pole, stick, rope or other object to intentionally cause a horse” or other equine “to fall”. A permit could be obtained for an event that involves catching a horse by the front legs and then releasing him. Veterinary treatment would also be exempt. The bill prohibits anyone otherwise from intentionally engaging in horse tripping for sport, entertainment, competition or practice. Anyone who knowingly organizes, sponsors, promotes, oversees, conducts or receives money for an event that includes horse tripping would also be in violation of the law.

S.B. 72 would amend the state’s animal cruelty law, N.R.S. 574.050. Horse tripping would be a misdemeanor on the first offense and also on the second offense within 7 years and a Class C felony for a third offense within 7 years. Violators could be ordered to surrender ownership or possession of the mistreated horse.