After intense efforts between the Navajo Nation’s President Ben Shelly and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Shelly made a welcome announcement on October 8 regarding wild horses on Navajo lands. The Navajo Nation is ending public support for horse slaughter in the U.S. and, equally important, it is ending all further wild horse roundups.
Shelly, speaking on behalf of the Navajo Nation, said:
We will suspend horse roundups and forfeit support for horse slaughtering and horse slaughtering facilities.
Richardson represents the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife - an organization that he founded with actor Robert Redford. The primary mission of the foundation is to stop the slaughter of horses and particularly to fight all efforts to open horse slaughterhouses in Roswell and other locations in the United States. The foundation is seeking to better control wild horse population, develop humane alternatives to horse slaughter and work in harmony with advocacy groups such as Return to Freedom headed by famed horse advocate NedaDeMayo.
I commend President Shelly for calling for an immediate end to horse roundups and for making it clear that moving forward the Navajo Nation will not support horse slaughter or the return of horse slaughter facilities. This is exactly the outcome horse advocates, such as myself, had hoped for.
Shelly and Richardson agreed to suspend roundups while all involved groups work to develop alternative policies to manage feral horse populations. They will intensify studies into horse birth control, adoptions, land management and public education.
Our land is precious to the Navajo people as are all the horses on the Navajo Nation. Horses are sacred animals to us. Both the land and the animals must be responsibly managed . . . I am thankful we can partner with agencies that have resources to help us find real long-term solutions.
The two leaders are working out a memorandum of understanding that is expected to be signed within two weeks.
Without doubt, countless people extend their gratitude today!
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