Navajo Nation rounds up horses on drought-stricken reservation; those unclaimed will be sold to Mexico to be slaughtered.
Navajo Nation rangers have rounded up numerous horses on the reservation under an operation conducted as part of the tribe’s response to the continuing drought.
A natural resources law enforcement official says least 248 horses were seized through Thursday and that additional horses were seized in operations late last week. The operations were conducted in the Iyanbito, Canyon de Chelly, Pinedale, Chinle, Black Mesa, Ganado and Blue Water Lake areas, the Gallup Independent reported.
The horses seized are said to be either feral or belong to residents who lack grazing permits or have more horses than their permits allow. Grazing official Wilbur Murphy said horses unclaimed by residents will be sold to a buyer either for resale off the reservation or for transport to Mexico for slaughter for meat.
The Navajo Nation has voiced support for a plan by a Roswell company, Valley Meat Co., to begin slaughtering horses for meat. A spokesman for Navajo President Ben Shelly has said the reservation can no longer support the estimated 75,000 feral horses that are drinking wells dry and causing ecological damage to the drought-stricken range.
The Navajo Nation Council has approved $3 million in emergency funds to combat extreme drought conditions on the reservation and nearly $1.4 million in additional funds for feral horse roundups.
Leonard Butler, a tribal Natural Resources law enforcement official, said tribal chapters that approved resolutions to conduct the horse roundups in their communities will be compensated with about $20 per head.
“That’s the incentive for the chapter to pass resolution to participate in the roundup,” Butler said.
Ranger Lorenzo Lapahie said horses that are branded will be kept for three days to give owners time to reclaim the animals by showing a grazing permit and proof of ownership.
Valley Meat’s plan has sparked a national debate about whether horses are livestock or companion animals and how best to deal with the tens of thousands of wild, unwanted and abandoned horses across the country. Horses were slaughtered domestically for decades until Congress cut funding for inspections for horse plants in 2006. That funding was restored in late
Source: The Associated Press
The Obama Administration has said repeatedly that it opposes horse slaughter. But actions speak louder than words. What’s happening now in Nevada suggests that the Administration — through its federal agencies — is actually complicit in sending horses to a slaughter auction.
This notice of a livestock auction — which is frequented by kill buyers
who purchase horses and transport them to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico — tipped us off that the Feds were up to something. 700 horses don’t just appear out of nowhere, so we did some digging.
And we discovered this back room deal between the U.S. Forest Service and
an Indian tribe to spend our tax dollars to capture wild horses and deliver them to the slaughter auction despite the stated opposition of the Administration to horse slaughter.
Under this arrangement, there is no way to distinguish between unbranded horses owned by the tribe from unbranded horses who are wild and protected under federal law.
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have a legal responsibility under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act to ensure that protected wild horses on federal lands do not end up being slaughtered. In this case, the feds have admitted that horses were herded off public lands (green and light brown above) and due to the close proximity of the capture area to a BLM Herd Management Area, we believe that many of the captured horses are federally protected wild horses.
What they didn’t tell us was that the tribe executed the roundup anyways! Now there are 417 wild horses awaiting their fate at the slaughter auction. Kill buyers are already lining up to purchase these horses and truck them to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico.
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Press Release | August 5, 2013
Bipartisan legislation would prohibit interstate transport of horses in double-decker trailers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) have reintroduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013, which would prohibit the interstate transportation of horses in double-decker trailers and would create civil penalties for each horse transported.
“Double-decker trailers are designed for cattle and hogs, not horses,” said Senator Menendez. “This legislation would put a much needed end to the inhumane and unsafe practice of transporting horses in trailers with two or more levels stacked on
top of each other, regardless of the purpose. Not only is this type of conveyance cruel, but it also jeopardizes safe roadway conditions for New Jersyans and all of those who travel through our state.”
Six states have banned the use of double-decker trailers for any type of horse transport: Maryland, Massachusetts, New York,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Other states, including Arizona, California, Minnesota, and Virginia have various state laws regulating their use. A uniform federal law is needed to eliminate confusion from a myriad of state laws on horse
In November 7, 2007, the USDA prohibited the transport of horses to slaughter in double deck trailers. The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 codifies this across the board.
Senators Menendez and Kirk are both Co-Sponsors of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R.1094 and S.541) which will ban the slaughter of horses on U.S. soil. It will also prevent transporting horses across American borders for slaughter in Canada and Mexico.