Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) has introduced Senate Bill 835 after seeing a video from 2012s Big Loop Rodeo in Jordan Valley. Activist group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) from Geneva, Illinois filmed and released the video last year. It documents a bucking horse that broke its leg as well as several horses falling violently to the ground during the event. The Bill would outlaw ‘horse-tripping’, something opponents claimed wasn’t happening here in Oregon before the gruesome video was released. Last year, those same opponents were able to stop the attempt to ban the practice. The act, performed at rodeos for entertainment, involves roping a galloping horse by the neck and legs, causing it to fall. The Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo has been hit with tons of backlash from the public which might help to explain the treatment of a SHARK volunteer at the rodeo on May 18th.
SHARK issued a press release on May 19th detailing what they describe as the “violent arrest” of volunteer Adam Fahnestock. It reads, “Adam Fahnestock was peacefully sitting monitoring the Big Loop Rodeo when rodeo personnel and a Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputy approached him. After a very brief conversation, the deputy suddenly grabbed Fahnestock and threw him violently to the ground where rodeo personnel then also set upon him. Fahnestock was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He is currently being held in Malheur County Jail, Vale, OR on a $1000 bail.”
Malheur County Undersheriff Travis Johnson said since the rodeo is held on private property they are entitled to make rules about filming. Apparently, a deputy told Fahnestock to stop filming but he refused. “When Fahnestock refused, the deputy took the camera and started to handcuff him. Fahnestock pulled away from the deputy, apparently lunging for the camera, and deputies then handcuffed him,” said Johnson. Fahnestock was released on bail on Sunday.
There is good news for animal activists and Oregonians who are disgusted by horse tripping. Bill 835 passed the Oregon Senate with a vote of 22-6. Rep. Val Hoyle’s (D-West Eugene/Junction City) asked for a “rodeo bill of rights” amendment that would allow for roping a horse around the legs if they needed to protect people at a rodeo. A longtime rider testified that she had never encountered a time where a horse needed to be roped around the legs to protect others and that it would only serve to frighten an unruly horse further. A Work Session is scheduled for May 30th.