Navajo Nation Cancels Plans for Wild Horse Hunt

story by Hannah Grover as published Daily Times

“The story below is presented unedited so you will see the word ‘feral’ used often.  I do not claim to possess abundant knowledge as to the origins of the horses on Navajo land, but I cringe when I hear that word applied to the wild horses on public lands as they are at the very least,  a reintroduced natural species (fodder for an OpEd, later).  So tighten up, you are about to enter Feral Land.” ~ R.T.


A controversial hunt was aimed at reducing the numbers of feral horses near Teec Nos Pos, Arizona

This Scenario Averted – for the time being

FARMINGTON —  A wild horse hunt aimed at thinning a herd in an Arizona trophy hunt area was abruptly cancelled on Monday as opposition to the hunt grew and a protest was planned.

The tribal government’s natural resource regulators last week issued a proclamation declaring the 2018 feral horse management hunt. It was designed to remove 60 horses from the Carrizo Mountains near Teec Nos Pos in northeast Arizona.

The Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources this afternoon rescinded the proclamation, according to a notice on the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

President Russell Begaye said in an emailed statement that the hunt will be postponed and the proclamation was rescinded to allow for public input and education.

Protest was planned

Tens of thousands of feral horses roam Navajo Nation lands — and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking ways to reduce that population.

Following the release of the hunt proclamation horse advocates, including members of the Facebook group Indigenous Horse Nation Protector Alliance, organized a rally for Friday morning in Window Rock, Arizona, to protest the hunt.

Gloria Tom, the director of Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the public outcry led to the cancellation.

Hunt should go before tribal  leadership

In an email statement, Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo Bates said his office was not aware that the executive branch had made a decision to issue permits for hunting feral horses.

“As Navajo people, we are taught to respect all life forms and that includes horses,” Bates said. “Considering the cultural and historical factors and concerns over water shortages and overgrazing — this is certainly an issue that should have been brought before Navajo leadership and medicine people to discuss and consider.”

If the hunt had not been rescinded, hunters accompanied by wildlife conservation officers would have been able to kill non-branded horses that were at least two years old. Hunters would not have been permitted to kill mares that have foals with them.

Begaye said the Carrizo Mountains near Teec Nos Pos in northeast Arizona has been critically impacted by the feral horses. He said the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife’s proclamation specifically targeted the Carrizo Mountains.

The proclamation called for removing up to 60 horses over a six-day span from the Carrizo Mountains.

Tom said the Corrizo Mountains is one of the trophy hunt areas of the reservation. She said the department was concerned about the impacts of the horses on the habitat, especially about the impact on mule deer.

She said the severe drought in the region will increase competition for food and water.

“We’re looking at a very severe outlook for lack of precipitation through July this year,” she said.

Tom said the drought was one reason the department hoped to remove horses to reduce the stress on the landscape and wildlife…(CONTINUE)

http://www.daily-times.com/story/news/local/navajo-nation/2018/02/26/wild-horse-hunt-canceled-navajo-nation/374931002/

THE WORST PLAN EVER FOR WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT- CANCELED!

“We received this information from Elaine Nash last night” – R.T.

Earlier this month, the Navajo nation had announced a plan to sell hunting permits to 60 Navajo hunters, with the first hunt scheduled for March 27, 2018. As of today, due to the diligent work of wild horse advocates, that very bad plan to shoot 60 wild horses has been canceled.
.
There will probably be many new efforts launched to help the Navajo people with their wild horse management issue. Please support these efforts. Donate, participate, educate, adopt. This very close call definitely got the attention of the wild horse advocacy community. Now, let’s be sure that we do what we can to be sure it never happens again. It might not be canceled the next time.

(To be clear, Fleet of Angels nor I should be credited with this save. We did no more to stop this effort than any other organization that posted about it, shared information, and encouraged the public to make their displeasure known. As far as I know, the very loud collective public outcry heard ’round the world was as responsible for this change in direction as any one person or organization. If I learn that there was a key person or key organization that should be credited with this reversal in the Navajo nation’s plan, I will make that information known far and wide.)

Breaking News: Navajo Nation Sells Permits to Hunt Wild Horses

https://nndfw.org/2018_feral_horse_proclamation.pdf

Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife


This is not the first go around on this issue but we need to act fast as permits have already been sold.

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/07/22/former-governor-bill-richardson-and-robert-redford-join-fight-to-stop-horse-slaughterhouses/

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/07/27/richardson-meets-agriculture-secretary-in-washington-to-halt-horse-slaughter/

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/10/08/navajo-leader-drops-his-support-for-slaughter-of-wild-horses-on-the-reservation/

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/11/14/navajo-president-lies-too-reservation-horses-being-round-up-for-slaughter/

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2015/06/04/navajo-officials-renegotiating-wild-horse-agreement/

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2015/06/06/navajo-nation-eyes-agreement-reining-in-slaughter-of-wild-horses/

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2015/09/14/new-mexico-ag-requests-further-injunction-on-horse-slaughter/

Fish and Wildlife may propose a Horse Hunt on the Navajo Nation

Source: The Navajo Times ~ (this is an excerpt, see below)

English: Flag of the Navajo Nation Diné bizaad...

English: Flag of the Navajo Nation Diné bizaad: Diné Bikéyah (Naabeehó Bikéyah) bidah naatʼaʼí (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With multiple efforts to reduce the number of wild horses on the Navajo Nation, officials are considering a hunt.

The Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife asked hunters and sportsmen for their support for a hunt as a potential means to reduce the number of wild horses on the Navajo Nation at the 2017 Navajo Nation Sportsman’s Expo on March 25. NNDFW staff confirmed after the conference that a proposal has not yet been completely drafted, so the department hadn’t yet anticipated details of how the possible hunt would work such as weapons to be used, number of tags to take horses, and hunt unit maps.

Department manager Gloria Tom said the department hoped to address the problem and would propose a solution to Navajo Nation governance once drafted, but also called on the hunters present to add their voices to the conversation around the feral herds and what to do about them.

“Our leaders, they really need to hear from people like you,” Tom said. “People who live out there, people who hunt.”

She said government officials sometimes take information from NNDFW as something that employees are paid to say as part of their jobs and concerns from experts who work for the government might have less impact on elected officials than the voices of their constituents and voters.

“To me, you have a greater chance of success,” she said.

She said previous attempts to trap, round up, or allow horses to be adopted had not made a large enough impact. NNDFW officials said the department is drafting a proposal to get support from Navajo Nation leaders.

“I compare this problem to our cat and dog problem,” she said.

To read the full article, subscribe here now or pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand! Find newsstand locations at this link.

http://navajotimes.com/reznews/fish-wildlife-may-propose-horse-hunt-navajo-nation/

Navajo Nation eyes agreement reining in slaughter of wild horses

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SOURCE:  news.yahoo.com

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) – The first effort of its kind to prevent wild horses roaming the Navajo Nation in the U.S. Southwest from being sent to slaughter in Mexico has gained the preliminary approval of tribal leaders, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said on Thursday.

Under a draft agreement that still must be reviewed by the tribe, a foundation established by Richardson and actor Robert Redford would provide funds and expertise to the Navajo Nation to halt reservation roundups that have seen thousands of wild horses shipped to slaughterhouses in Mexico.

  The impact of intensive grazing by wild horses in a high-desert reservation that spans more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 square km) of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah has been compounded by drought and led to competition with livestock for sparse vegetation, said Rick Abasta, spokesman for Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

  The roundups by the nation’s agriculture department and the fate of the captured animals has ignited controversy among the tribe’s more than 300,000 enrolled members, including wild horse advocates, Abasta said.

The issue has divided a tribal nation whose economy relies in part on free-range cattle and sheep but which also reveres horses.

“The Navajo elders have a saying which translates into English as ‘Our horses are sacred,'” said Abasta.

Richardson, whose second term as New Mexico governor ended in 2011, said he and Redford formed the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife with the aim of aiding wild horses.

“Our main objective is to stop the roundups and stop the horse slaughter,” said Richardson, who said Redford is a fellow horse enthusiast who owns a home in New Mexico.

Richardson said the agreement would first seek to identify the number of wild horses on the reservation, where estimates have ranged from several thousand to more than 70,000.

If ultimately approved, the deal, which proposes such methods as birth control to keep wild herds in check, would be the first of its kind on Indian lands and perhaps in the nation, he said.

“The Navajos are the biggest tribe in the country. If we strike an agreement here, it will set an example for other tribes that still slaughter,” Richardson said.

Abasta said the nation’s newly elected president is seeking feedback from tribal members.

“President Begaye wants a little more time to gather the input of grassroots organizations, ranchers and others to determine how best to go forward on implementing the agreement,” he said.

Navajo officials renegotiating wild horse agreement

th  Bill Richardson, former Gov. of New Mexico

SOURCE: santafenewmexican.com

Newly installed Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye is renegotiating a wild horse protection agreement with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and actor/activist Robert Redford.

Richardson and Redford formed the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife in 2013 as the state considered a permit for a horse slaughter facility in Roswell. The group later worked with the former Navajo Nation president to stop the roundup of feral horses from the reservation for shipment to slaughter facilities in Mexico.

Navajo officials have said the horses are overgrazing and harming the land. The prior administration signed an agreement with Redford and Richardson to halt roundups and find other ways to reduce the horse population, such as adoptions.

Alarie Ray-Garcia of the foundation said Richardson met last week with Begaye and other Navajo officials.

Rick Abasta, a public information officer for the Navajo Nation, said Begaye wants to consult with chapter house leaders and other elders before moving forward with changes to the agreement.

Ray-Garcia said the foundation was ready to hire a company to conduct an aerial survey of the horse population. Estimates have ranged from a few thousand to 75,000 animals.

Navajo President Lies Too: Reservation Horses Being Round Up For Slaughter

By Brenda Norrell as published on the Narcosphere

Tuba City Chapter House is opening the doors to The Cruelty Group, Navajo Nation Agriculture and Navajo Nation Resource Enforcement.”

Navajo Nation FlagThe cruel roundups of wild horses on the Navajo Nation continue on Thursday and Friday in the Tuba City area. Navajo Medicine People oppose the roundups and the sale of horses for slaughter to the meat industry in Mexico.

Further, Navajo President Ben Shelly now admits that he did not halt the horse roundups for slaughter as he said earlier. Now, Shelly says it was just an idea, and the memorandum of agreement has not yet been signed to halt the roundups.

Leland Grass, Dine’, said, “Tuba City Chapter House is opening the doors to The Cruelty Group, Navajo Nation Agriculture and Navajo Nation Resource Enforcement.”

“Over the last three months many of the Dine’ peoples horses have been taken from their corrals and also off their grazing areas and land use areas. Not only did the people get hurt, but also the foals were left behind. The mothers in the roundup were taken off the reservation for auction, and were sold, even to kill buyers who transport the horses down to Aquila Martinez, Vanderwagon, New Mexico, then on to Las Lunas, New Mexico, and off to the border of Texas and Mexico for sale to kill buyers. Then the horses are sent to Mexico for slaughter for meat.”

Grass urged protectors of wild horses and defenders of sacred Dine’ traditions to call the Tuba City Chapter House and tell them to send the Navajo Nation Agriculture back home.

“We don’t want motorized dirt bikes and ATV’s on our vegetation,” Grass said.

The wild horse roundups in Tuba City are scheduled for Nov. 14, and 15. 2013. The first day is at Rare Metals and the following day is at Preston Mesa area. Grass said the Grazing Official’s name is Angela Begay 928-283-3287, and the Chapter House number is 928-283-3284.

“Get the word out for horse owners and sacred horses,” Grass said.

Read Dine’ Medicine Peoples Statement opposing roundups and slaughter:http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2013/08/navajo-medicine-people-oppose-horse.html

Click (HERE) to comment at the Narcosphere

The War on Wild Horses of the West Continues

Source: by Leslie Macmillan as published in Esquire

Celebrities are fighting it, deals are being brokered, and two proposals are sitting in Congress to end it. So why are horses still being slaughtered in droves?

Photo by Sam Minkler Navajo activist Leland Grass (right) confronts horse buyer Jeanne Collom

Photo by Sam Minkler
Navajo activist Leland Grass (right) confronts horse buyer Jeanne Collom

BLACK MESA, Ariz. — The West is on the verge of a wild horse crisis, according to the Feds. An estimated 33,000 roam freely on public lands and even more on tribal lands. Under a 1971 law, the Bureau of Land Management is supposed to protect these horses and control their numbers so that they don’t ravage grasslands or die of starvation.

But critics of horse roundups contend they are a profit-driven enterprise sanctioned by the federal government and driven by business interests like cattle ranching and extractive industries that want to clear land for development.

“The only way to get at those resources is to get rid of the horses,” said Navajo activist Leland Grass. He has been trying to stop roundups of horses, which are often bound for Mexican slaughterhouses, on the Navajo reservation.

Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly recently made national news, saying he had reversed his position on horse slaughtering and ordered a moratorium of the roundup of horses on the reservation. Actor Robert Redford and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who have formed a foundation to protect wild animals in the West, brokered a deal with the nation’s largest Indian tribe to find humane alternatives.

“It’s a big lie,” said Jeanne Collom, a horse buyer who said roundups are still taking place on the reservation, and she has been buying them.

This was confirmed by Erny Zah, director of communications for the Navajo Nation, who said roundups will continue until an agreement is signed between Richardson’s group and the tribe.

On a late September afternoon, the scene at one roundup on the reservation was chaotic as teens chased horses on ATVs and dirt bikes into corrals. Collom said she buys horses for just $20 a head.

“The population is growing and the range is shrinking,” said Elmer Phillips, the head ranger for the Navajo Nation. “What comes along on the range nowadays is a different kind of creature: most of these horses are inbred and under 700 pounds.”

But critics say the data the policy is based on comes from an environmental impact study commissioned by Peabody Energy in 2008 as part of the permitting process to expand a coal mine it operates on Navajo land. The coal mine fuels the Navajo Generating Station power plant, which is majority owned by the U.S. Interior Department. Interior oversees the BLM, the agency responsible for managing wild horses, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which issues grazing permits on the reservation and contracts with horse buyers, including “kill buyers,” who buy horses bound for slaughterhouses.

Asked whether that study informed the horse policy, Zah said, “It’s definitely part of it.”

Peabody Coal did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Many of the horses rounded up that day were not feral, but owned by Navajos who either lacked a grazing permit or exceeded the maximum allowable number of two horses per permit. Collom said rather than going through government red tape to purchase horses, she tries to buy directly from owners coming to claim their animals. “That’s why I hang around the corrals,” she said.

At one point, three women came to claim horses they say were taken from their property, and an angry scene ensued. “These are performance horses, not Rez horses,” one of the owners shouted.

Head ranger Phillips ordered journalists there not to document the event, telling me and photographer Sam Minkler, who is Navajo, “I will escort you off the reservation.”

As we’ve previously reported, the Obama administration has included a proposal in its 2014 budget that would effectively ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption by preventing money from being spent on inspection of slaughtering facilities. In the next few months, a legal fight to block the opening of horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri will reach its final stages.

Meanwhile, Grass and his grassroots group Nohooká Diné sent a resolution to legislators in Washington, DC urging them to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, currently pending before Congress. Protecting horses on Navajo land is important, Grass said, but a national bill is critical to ensure there is no incentive for horses to be taken from our lands or elsewhere for slaughter.

Horses hold an important place in Navajo cosmology. Leaving the roundup, Grass pulled his truck off the dirt road and cut the engine. A couple of the horses glanced over, swished their tails. “Look at them,” he said. “Their mane is the thunder and their eyes are the stars. They possess the same fundamental right to life as we, the five-fingered ones, do.”

Click (HERE) to comment directly at Esquire.com

Navajo Leader Drops His Support for Slaughter of Wild Horses on the Reservation

Source: New York Times

“Our land is precious to the Navajo people as are all the horses on the Navajo Nation. Horses are sacred animals to us.”

Ben ShellyPHOENIX — Under pressure by animal welfare groups and many of his own people, the president of the Navajo Nation, Ben Shelly, has reversed his stance on horse slaughtering, saying he will no longer support it and will order the temporary suspension of the roundups of feral horses on the reservation.

The agreement, brokered by Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday. One of its key provisions is to pressure the federal government to do more to help the Navajos handle the tens of thousands of horses that roam freely on their land. Mr. Shelly has estimated that feral horses cost the Navajos $200,000 a year in damage to property and range.

“I am interested in long-term humane solutions to manage our horse populations,” Mr. Shelly said. “Our land is precious to the Navajo people as are all the horses on the Navajo Nation. Horses are sacred animals to us.”

Mr. Shelly’s recalibrated position is sure to strengthen the arguments against horse slaughter in the nation, just as a legal fight to block the opening of horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri reaches its final stages.

It could also smooth relations between his administration and tribal elders in some of the Navajo Nation’s largest chapters, who have stood steadfastly against the roundups even as Mr. Shelly embraced them in August as the best available option, given the tribe’s limited resources, to keep its feral horse population under control.

At the time, his stance put the country’s largest federally recognized tribe in a collision course with Mr. Richardson and the actor Robert Redford, who had justified joining a lawsuit against horse slaughtering filed by animal-rights groups by saying they were “standing with Native American leaders.”

In a unanimous vote last month, the Navajo Nation chapter in Shiprock, N.M., banned horse roundups in its territory. The chapter’s president, Duane Yazzie, said members were concerned about the abandoned colts and the sale of the horses to meat plants in Mexico, where slaughter is legal.

On Saturday, several of the chapter’s members protested as Mr. Shelly took part in a parade at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

Mr. Shelly and Mr. Richardson met in Farmington, N.M., just outside Navajo lands, shortly after the parade to complete the agreement. It charges several animal welfare groups — including Animal Protection of New Mexico and the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, founded by Mr. Richardson and Mr. Redford — with developing alternative policies. One option is rounding up the horses and putting them up for adoption; another is dispensing contraceptives.

“This is a huge event,” Mr. Richardson said. “One of the most important and largest tribes in the country is now on the record against horse slaughtering, and that should be a major factor both in Congress and in the courts.”

All along, Mr. Shelly had spoken about the “delicate balance,” as he put it, between the horses’ significance to the Navajos and the cost of repairing the damage caused by feral horses on the reservation, which covers roughly 27,500 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajos estimate there are 75,000 feral horses roaming the reservation, an estimate based on aerial observations, a method they concede is unreliable. One of the points of the agreement is to find a way to take an accurate count.

During a meeting in Washington last month, Mr. Shelly told several animal welfare groups that the federal government needed to “live up to its responsibilities,” according to his spokesman, Erny Zah, and help the Navajos manage the feral horses. It was not until the agreement with Mr. Richardson, however, that he made his new stance on horse slaughtering official.

The Humane Society of the United States and other groups sued the United States Department of Agriculture in July to keep horse slaughter plants from opening in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri, arguing that the agency had failed to carry out all of the environmental checks, and asked the courts to block its inspectors from working there. The owners of the plant in Iowa have since scrapped their plans to slaughter horses and turned their focus to cattle.

In August, Judge M. Christina Armijo of United States District Court in Albuquerque halted the inspections until she makes her final ruling on the case, which is expected by the end of the month.

Navajo Elders Voice Opposition to Horse Slaughter

Source: HorseTalk.co.nz

The horse is sacred to the Diné and is a central part of the nation’s culture and tradition.

Elders and medicine people of the Navajo Nation have voiced their opposition to horse slaughter, saying the animals must be honored for their sacred role in Navajo cultural traditions.

The Nohooká Diné, Elders and Medicine People of the Diné, unanimously approved a resolution opposing any action that leads to the slaughter of horses.

The horse is sacred to the Diné and is a central part of the nation’s culture and tradition.

The resolution states in part: “The Great Horse Nation is a part of the Great Covenant, as a supernatural being, it possesses incredible power, it is inextricably tied to our spiritual way of life and our cultural traditions, when our children are born our families look to the horse spirit to see what they have delivered to us.If we fail to honor the place of the horse in our spiritual way of life and in our cultural traditions, then we jeopardize the very cycle that renews the life of our people.

“The horse must be given respect and honored for their sacred place within the Creation, as they possess the same fundamental right to Life as we, Five Finger Ones, do.”

This past week, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation administration affirmed this position.

During an interview on the radio program, Native American Calling, on September 12, communication director Erny Zah said: “Slaughtering is not a solution … As the Navajo Nation we are against slaughtering of these horses.”…CONTINUED

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at HorseTalk