2013 was a great year for animals in Nevada thanks to the passage of 10 bills, including S.B. 72, which greatly improves equine welfare throughout the state.
When S.B. 72 was signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval in June, it marked a historic moment for animal advocates in Nevada, enacting a strict statewide ban on intentional horse tripping. For years, similar measures had been defeated unceremoniously.
The enactment of S.B. 72 means that law enforcement can hold accountable individuals who engage in this cruel practice anywhere in Nevada. Prior to the passage of S.B. 72, only three of the state’s 17 counties had local ordinances prohibiting this act, leaving the majority of horses in Nevada without protection.
These local ordinances are extremely important. S.B. 72 does not replace these tough laws, but rather it elevates protections for horses across Nevada where none previously existed.
Recently, some well-intentioned advocates have taken to blaming S.B. 72’s passage on the recent attempts to weaken Clark County’s more comprehensive roping ordinance to accommodate the World Series of Charrería, or Charreada, a competitive event similar to rodeo. This argument stems from the belief that Clark County’s ordinance would be better off if the protections S.B. 72 enacted for the entire state did not exist. As it turned out, the county held strong and did not amend its law for the sake of a single event, and promoters decided to cancel the entire World Series rather than proceed without events that involved roping the legs of horses.
Strong local ordinances can, should and do exist alongside statewide policies that enhance animal welfare. The Clark County Commission proved that by defeating two separate efforts to weaken the local ban.
Ultimately, the pursuit of a statewide policy is going to present different challenges than policies pursued at the local level. However, those challenges should not force advocates to forsake an opportunity to fundamentally shift the state’s approach to animal welfare issues in the same manner as S.B. 72.
S.B. 72 would not have been possible without the hard work of Sen. Mark Manendo. Sen. Manendo’s passion for protecting horses was clear as S.B. 72 moved through the Legislature, and his commitment to animal welfare is evident, which is why the ASPCA named him a Humane Legislator of the Year for 2013.
Horses have been central to the ASPCA’s work since its founding in 1866, and the ASPCA currently works across the country to protect and aid domesticated and wild horses through legislation, advocacy, rescue, and millions of dollars of targeted grants distributed through the ASPCA Equine Fund.
For more information on the ASPCA, or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.