On March 26, Arizona’s House of Representatives gave tentative approval to Bill 2539 that would make the deliberate tripping of horses and other equine animals illegal in the state.
Bill supporters acknowledge horse tripping is part of Mexican rodeo tradition, but they say it often leads to serious injuries and death for horses.
“If anyone respects the Mexican culture and community it’s me, but it’s wrong to support hurting animals for sport,” says Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix democrat and the bill’s prime sponsor.
If passed, House Bill 2539 will make horse tripping a class one misdemeanor in Arizona, carrying a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. In addition to horses, the bill will apply to ponies, mules, donkeys and hinnies.
In an amended version of the bill under consideration, equine tripping would not include horses that accidentally fall during jumping, steeplechase, racing, calf or steer-roping and a number of other Western rodeo events.
Seven states, including California, New Mexico and Texas, prohibit horse tripping. Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska are considering legislation to ban the practice as well.