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Horse Event Showcases Cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States

By Julie Hauserman

When posters started showing up for a rodeo event called “horse roping” in Christmas Valley, Oregon, an anonymous caller contacted The Humane Society of the United States.

The person said the event showcased cruelty before cheering crowds and asked The HSUS to look into it. In August 2008, The HSUS captured this shocking video at the event.

During the event, riders chase yearling fillies and colts and lasso the animals tightly around their necks and legs. Fleeing at top speed, the terrified animals are brought to a sudden stop by the neck, then fall violently to the ground as their front legs are pulled out from under them.

“The horses are strangled by the lasso and struggle to breathe as they are dragged by the neck. They continue to gasp for air even after the ropes are removed,” said Scott Beckstead, senior state director for Oregon for The HSUS, who recorded the event.

Bringing out the Worst

“It’s appalling to see people abusing these young horses in the name of sport,” Beckstead said. “It was equally appalling to watch the crowd cheer at the most violent incidents. This kind of event really brings out the worst in people, and it’s got to stop.”

If other horse roping events are held, the HSUS plans to attend them and document the cruelty, Beckstead said. The HSUS also urges Oregon leaders at the local and state levels to ban the events.

“It is egregious and unspeakable cruelty and it should be outlawed,” said Stacy Segal, HSUS Equine Protection Specialist. “The horses suffer terribly, and it sends a bad message to the people who are watching it – the message that it is okay to cause animals to suffer for the sake of entertainment.”