Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly announced on Tuesday he will no longer support any plans to bring back domestic horse slaughter to New Mexico and is suspending all horse roundups reports ABC news.go.com.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson met with President Ben Shelly over the weekend and have agreed to work together to find humane long term solutions to the overpopulation of feral horses drinking up the water supply and causing damage to the ecosystem. President Shelly will suspend all horse roundups where previously many of the horses were being sold to dealers who were sending the horses to slaughter.
Officials will be looking for support from the federal government for humane alternatives to the unofficial number of 75,000 wild horses stating the possible use of equine birth control, adoption opportunities to the public, land management, and public education. In a statement, President Shelly announced:
"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. For too long this issue has gone unaddressed putting us in the situation we are today where chapters are facing real problems with uncared for animals damaging local land and domestic livestock. I am thankful we can partner with agencies that have resources to help us find real long-term solutions."
Former Governor Richardson has joined actor, Robert Redford in the development of the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife and Animal Protection of New Mexico in a combined effort with numerous humane organizations against domestic horse slaughter returning to the United States.
Efforts to open a horse slaughter plant in Roswell, N.M. and in Missouri have been delayed by a temporary restraining order (TRO) which prohibits the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from dispatching inspectors to the horse slaughter plants. The USDA has been charged with violating federal law for failing to do environmental impact inspections where horse slaughter facilities could do environmental harm resulting from blood spills, improper disposal of carcasses, noxious odors and possible water contamination. Horses are routinely treated with drugs considered carcinogenic and not permitted in animals slaughtered for human consumption.
Richardson stated Shelly's position on horse slaughter "is exactly the outcome horse advocates, such as myself, had hoped for."
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