By PATRICIA HAIGHT, Ph.D. | Updated July 31, 2008
Liberty and Justice for All?
Not for Arizona horse lovers at the mercy of AZ Senator Timothy Bee
This July 4, I am questioning my fundamental beliefs in our American political system. As the maternal granddaughter of a woman who walked across Russia and stayed for weeks on Ellis Island to pursue the American dream and as the paternal granddaughter of an Illinois farmer whose family fought in the American Civil War, American Revolution and the French and Indian Wars, I was confident that my country’s political system runs on a democratic process in which our laws are the reflection of the moral values of the people as implemented by our State and Federal Representatives.
Timothy Bee, President of the Arizona State Senate, taught me to question this. During the Arizona legislative session that ended Friday, I worked with dedicated people from across Arizona who skillfully guided through the legislature, SB 1405, a bill banning the cruel practice of horse-tripping. Horse tripping is a serious illegal action that occurs in some kinds of unsanctioned backyard rodeos. Young horses are run at full speed, roped around their legs, and pulled to the ground. As one equine veterinarian put it, the outcome is a “no brainer.” Injuries are serious and often deadly. Eight States including most States that border Arizona ban it.
SB 1405 had bipartisan support in the Arizona House and was transmitted to the Senate at the end of April where it sat waiting committee assignment. Finally, after much pressure on the bill sponsor and on Bee, it was assigned near the end of the session to caucus. Again SB 1405 received strong bipartisan support. Only a final read was needed. It never came. Despite scores of emails, phone calls and pleas from people across the State; despite last minute assurances from Bee’s office that they would try to help; Mr. Bee solely and on his own decided not to put SB 1405 on the final read calendar on Friday, thus killing a bill, with such unprecedented support that everyone was sure it would sail through.
Mr. Bee taught me that our laws, at least at the State level, do not reflect the people’s desires for government or even the majority of the legislative body. They are the reflection of a miniscule number with far too much power and of political dealings with favorites who have their ear. Painful and excruciating injuries and deaths of scores of Arizona horses will continue solely because of Timothy Bee.
This issue will be back next year, and this time, no more Nice Guy. The gloves are off. I’ve learned well from Mr. Bee. Whatever it takes, there will be a ban on horse tripping in Arizona. We owe it to all the House and Senate members who supported it; to the people who worked so hard on it; to Arizonans who wanted it to protect our horses, who are the historical backbone of this state. We will get it done and we will campaign to have people like Mr. Bee replaced to rectify a situation in which the desires of the many can be killed by a very few invested with too much power and too little compassion or fairness.
I deeply regret that I did not obtain a permit to bring my horse Conquistador, who is blind in one eye, yet a four time champion, to the Capitol to show Timothy Bee true courage, dignity, and nobility and to plant his lovely hoof squarely on Bee’s jaded foot.
The blood of scores of Arizona horses is on Timothy Bee’s hands.
Patricia Haight, Ph.D.
President, the Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program
Dr. Pat Haight graduated from Arizona State University with a doctorate in experimental psychology and specialties in human and animal learning and cognition; she has Peruvian horses and is President of the Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program.