Officials at the Eastern Oregon rodeo where an activist was arrested Saturday were very clear about their policy forbidding videography.
It applied only to animal rights activists, the media and those pesky city folk from Western Oregon.
Or more specifically, the restrictions against videography applied to everybody except the “good folks who want to film their relatives or friends.”
While the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo in Malheur County is a private venue, meaning it has the right to restrict videography, it is questionable as to whether it can pick and choose who is allowed to shoot video based on geographical residence or personal relationships.
Especially when Malheur County sheriff’s deputy Bob Wroten, one of two deputies who violently arrested the activist Saturday, charging him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, happens to serve on the rodeo board.
And especially when deputies ejected animal rights activist and SHARK founder Steve Hindi on Sunday for taking still photos – even though that was not specifically barred – following him for more than ten miles before they finally pulled him over for having refused to provide identification at the rodeo.
That video is below along with the video that activist Adam Fahnestock recorded before he was arrested.
Saturday’s incident might affect an upcoming legislative vote where the state senate is considering passing a bill that would forbid horse roping.
In fact, it was an Eastern Oregon resident who wrote the following letter to legislators Monday, informing them of the selective enforcement policy against videography.
The letter was published in the Eugene Weekly:
Hello, I wanted to let you know that I went to the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo this last weekend, and I would like to tell you what I saw there. As I testified previously I grew up in Eastern Oregon and have gone to rodeos since I was a small child. I am embarrassed to admit I’m from Eastern Oregon after going to Jordan Valley.
1. There were signs prohibiting taking videos, however the announcer said that just applied to “people from Western Oregon, animal rights activists, and the media.” The announcer stated that didn’t apply to the “good folks who want to film their relatives or friends.” There were lots of cameras visible. He also stated that if the people from Western Oregon, animal rights activists, or the media were observed taking video they would be arrested and escorted off the property. They violently arrested a man about 10’ from where I was sitting, took him down in the seats, and took him to the Malheur County Jail where he was booked for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest. They ejected three other people that I saw, one man who stated he was just taking pictures, not video. I understand that it is private property, and that they have the right to make the rules, but I feel the rules should apply to everyone.
2. They mentioned the bill and that they had made trips to testify. The announcer stated that the bill “looks like it’s going to pass, but that it would not affect their rodeo” at all.
3. The announcer stated that people from Western Oregon should just stay in their cities and leave them alone.
4. The horses used in the” Big Loop” event are thin enough that you can count their ribs, and seem young.
5. Because I was so uncomfortable being there, I did not stay for the entire rodeo. During the first round of the “Big Loop” event, they managed to rope two horses by the neck, one fairly close to the throatlatch, did not rope any horses by the feet, so in the first section all the competitors got “no time”. However, one horse crashed violently into the wall, and they continued trying to rope it after it got up. I did not see them check the horse out by a veterinarian.
6. The horses that were in the “Big Loop” event were completely terrified.
I wanted to share my experience with you. I have never left a rodeo before it was over before. I was uncomfortable there and felt threatened by their general attitude. The crowd cheered when people were arrested and ejected.
Thank you for considering this statement. I urge you to pass this bill and protect those that have no voice in this event, the horses.