Animal welfare groups gained a couple of powerful champions in the cause to block horse slaughter when both actor Robert Redford and former governor Bill Richardson joined the battle. The groups and Redford and Richardson soon found themselves embroiled with the Navajo Nation whose president asserted his support for horse slaughter via a letter sent to Congress.
According to Navajo president Ben Shelly, the wild horses are costing the tribe an annual damages cost to property and range of $200,000. Shelly emphasizes that Redford is in no position to “interpret the struggles of the Indians.”
Maybe Robert Redford can come and see what he can do to help us out. I’m ready to go in the direction to keep the horses alive and give them to somebody else, but right now the best alternative is having some sort of slaughter facility to come and do it.
There are 75,000 feral and wild horses in the United States. They have no owners and many are believed to be native to the West.
The tribes want to find an efficient way to deal with the free-roaming horses. There are too many of them to deal with and money can be made by rounding them up and selling them.
To be sure, the wild horses have been at the center of constant dispute that has been playing out over the years. The lands have been scarred by years of drought and there is much poverty. Every drop of water and bit of forage a horse needs could be used by the native peoples and their cattle.
The wild horse population on the tribes’ lands is often blamed for overgrazing throughout the West.
Further, there is a problem that the federal government did not consult the tribes before proposing language in the Department of Agriculture’s appropriations bill to withhold money for slaughterhouse inspections. [Language was covertly put back in last year by a few people.]
Richardson acknowledges that conflict. He recalls the problems within the ranks of the tribes since many cite the special relationship of the tribes with “the magnificent four-legged animal who has a part in creation stories.”
Institutionally, there have to be some issues that have to be dealt with and that's why the ultimate solution is to find a natural habitat, or a series of natural habitats and adoption for the horses.
Per the president of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, the animal welfare groups’ efforts were unified to stop killing the horses for human consumption meat. The effort is to prevent turning horses into a “global food commodity.” He cites alternatives to slaughtering the horses such as using contraceptives to contain the horse population.
Source: China Daily
If you enjoyed this article by Heidi Rucki, please click the link above to subscribe and get others. It’s free, informative and anonymous. Read Rucki's articles on Examiner.com.