4/18/2014

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Animal-rights worker arrested for taping rodeo

JORDAN VALLEY, Ore. (AP) - A member of an Illinois-based animal-rights group has been arrested after refusing to stop videotaping at an annual Eastern Oregon rodeo where horses are roped by the legs in an event the state Legislature is considering outlawing.

The Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo along the Idaho border is the only rodeo in Oregon known to include the event, called "horse roping" by its advocates and "horse tripping" by opponents such as the organization Showing Animals Kindness and Respect of Geneva, Ill.

The group has campaigned against the event and has posted videos on YouTube from previous rodeos. The timed event involves cowboys lassoing horses by the legs, causing the animals to fall to the ground.

The Oregon Senate last month voted 26-6 to outlaw horse roping for entertainment purposes. Ranchers and veterinarians still would be able to do it. The measure is in the House, where it's had a committee hearing but hasn't been sent to the floor.

The Malheur County sheriff's office said a volunteer with Showing Animals Kindness and Respect, 30-year-old Adam Fahnestock of Vancouver, Wash., was arrested Saturday on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The rodeo was being held on private property, so the rodeo association was within its rights to bar the audience from videotaping, Malheur County Undersheriff Travis Johnson told the Ontario Argus Observer.

Johnson said a deputy told Fahnestock to stop recording. 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, Johnson said.

In a news release, the president of the animal-rights group, Steve Hindi, described the incident differently: "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."

Hindi called it "clearly an abuse of the law and an example of the 'good old-boy network' that exists in the rodeo world."

Johnson said nobody other than the deputies was involved in the arrest.

The sheriff's office said Fahnestock was released Sunday after posting $1,000 bail. A court date was not immediately set.

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Information from: Argus Observer

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