Horse roping

The problem with special-interest politics is, eventually, special interests collide. Take Clark County’s horse roping ordinance. The animal welfare crowd, as emotional, invested and unrelenting as any political group you’ll find, got it approved.

Enter the Latino community. The lassoing of horses by their legs is part of traditional Mexican rodeos, events Latino leaders would like to attract to Las Vegas. So this year, the Legislature passed a bill that allows local governments to issue permits for events with horse roping, while banning horse tripping — bringing the animals to the ground. The law allows the roping of legs if they’re released before the animal trips.

Last week, the Clark County Commission considered lifting the horse roping prohibition, but the measure lost 6-1. The World Series of Charreria Las Vegas 2013, scheduled for Sept. 25-29 at the South Point, hoped to have horse roping at its event. Without it, attendance could suffer.

The Nevada Legislative Hispanic Caucus has expressed its disappointment with the commission’s decision, and there have been suggestions that cultural discrimination is to blame. Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani says she’ll bring the horse roping ordinance back again for reconsideration.

The animal welfare crowd is ready for war. “It’s going to be an all-or-nothing offensive,” said Gina Greisen, president of Nevada Voters for Animals. “We’re seeking help from national groups to support our efforts to block this from happening.”

These horses are not being sent to slaughterhouses. The commission should allow horse roping at next month’s event and have county officials monitor the treatment of horses for compliance. If they’re not satisfied, commissioners can re-institute the ban.

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