Virginia, USA- Western heritage is being attacked once more. Senate bill number 1081 was proposed January 14 of this year under referral to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The Bill proposal was intended to amend and reenact the code of Virginia, against intentional tripping of equines. However, the language of the proposed bill is very deceiving and would outlaw any kind of roping, lassoing, or interference of an animal causing it to fall.
The Mexican Federation of Charreria -USA chapter is one of the targets for this bill proposal. The federation independently withdrew and omitted any kind of horse tripping at their official nationally sanctioned events back in 1994. Currently there are no teams or individuals associated with the organization in the state of the Virginia.
The main concern for this bill is diction.
“…ropes, lassoes, or otherwise obstructs or interferes with one or more legs of an equine in order to intentionally cause it to trip or fall for the purpose of engagement in as rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment, or sport unless such actions are in the practice of accepted animal husbandry or for the purpose of allowing veterinary care;” (S 1081)
It would generally outlaw any form or use of ropes with equines for any purpose other than veterinary, even if it does not harm the animal.
Along, with the proposed bill is the amendment proposition of “a violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony.” (S 1081 section G) It would not only prohibit certain activities within charreria to occur, but Professional rodeo as well. Considering there are sports that involve ropes, equines and bovines, as well as the act of the animal to possibly lie down to reenact traditional animal husbandry practices. Participation in any of the actions stated above would result in any individual involved to become a felon if they subsequently commit the same action after the initial misdemeanor has been issue.
As a result of being convicted of what is being proposed as a crime, “Any person convicted of violating this section any be prohibited by the court from possession or ownership of companion animals.” (S 1081 Section H)
Animal welfare is a major concern for professional and amateur rodeo events whether it is the PRCA or the FMCH-USA. Let’s help educate the public of what our heritage and recreational events are about and the effort we make to ensure the wellbeing of the animals being utilized at our events whether it is local, national, and/or international events.