Navajo Nation will support NM horse processing plant


New Mexico, Rob Nikolewski on July 31, 2013

Unknown-11The Navajo Nation is about to wade into the heated debate over a horse-meat processing plant in Roswell and will support Valley Meat Co. becoming the first horse slaughterhouse in the U.S. in seven years.

“They’re eating up the land and drinking all the water,” Erny Zah, spokesman for Navajo Nation President Ben Shelley told New Mexico Watchdog of the feral horses on Navajo Nation land that encompasses 27,425 square miles, including parts of Arizona and Utah as well as a large section of northwest New Mexico.

Zah estimated there are 20,000 to 30,000 “feral horses on our lands,” and that Navajo Nation lawyers in Washington, D.C., are in the process of finalizing a letter that Shelly will sign in support of the horse slaughter facility “with the next couple of days.”

“I’m sympathetic to the native nations but all this is going to do is make New Mexico the slaughter state,” said Phil Carter of Animal Protection New Mexico, one of the facility’s opponents. “We have to move forward beyond this outdated and cruel slaughter model.”

The debate over the facility in Roswell has sparked heated arguments that extend beyond state borders.

Opponents of the facility include Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, former Gov. Bill Richardson, state Attorney General Gary King and State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, as well as actor Robert Redford and animal rights groups. The Humane Society of the United States is one of a slew of plaintiffs seeking an injunction to stop the company from opening its slaughterhouse operations.

Supporters say that given the rising cost of hay, horses have been abandoned and left to starve. They argue it’s better to have unwanted and dying horses killed in a federall -inspected facility in the U.S. than have them sent to plants in places like Mexico, where they often meet gruesome deaths in unsanitary conditions.

“Which would you rather do, put them down in a humane fashion or let them starve to death,” the facility’s attorney Blair Dunn said earlier this month. CONTINUED – Read the rest of the article at the New Mexico


Habitat for Horses is here because you want us to be here. We are your hands when we guide a horse to safety. We are your tears when a horse takes its final breath. We are your smiles when a once skinny, broken spirited horse recovers and becomes adopted by a forever family.

We represent your heart, your love and your compassion for those horses that pass through our gate and into our hands.

Support us. Without your financial help, we couldn’t do this. Without the grain, the hay, the farrier, without the fuel, the medicines, the vets, the horses that come through our gates would have no future. I know money is tight, but the horses need us, and we need you.

Please –  Click HERE to donate

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Paula Denmon

    I’ve known this for a while about other tribes as well. One of the reasons that didn’t push those grand citations of the
    Fabulous Horse Loving Native Tribes.

    July 31, 2013
  • Geri

    I know that the Navajo was not known as a horse cultrure as Plains Indians were-but all Native Peoples are bound to the horse in their soul. The spirit of the horse lives in all Native people and I hope they never betray what the horse has done for them. Just for money.

    July 31, 2013
  • Robyn

    Seriously?? 20,000 to 30,000 Wild Horses in that area? What’s he smoking?

    Dunn you’re definitely on something?? Nothing
    humane about Slaughter and he’s not talking

    July 31, 2013
  • Geri

    How soon the Navajo forget the stories of the ancestors.

    July 31, 2013
  • I can not believe that this is being approved by the Navajo Nation! What in the world are you thinking?? Have they paid the tribe off to do this?? Your ancestors would be so disappointed in your choice! These horses were your ancestors’ best friend in every thing they did in their daily life! I can not see that the horses are taking away from any one of you by living off the land?? There are other answers to the problems your tribe is facing & could be used instead of having these horses slaughtered! Shame on all of you!

    July 31, 2013
  • shirley mix

    That is just CRAZY.

    July 31, 2013
  • Terra Pennington

    Prove it! IT makes me sick that the home of my birth and the people I call family would let money talk in agreeing to horse slaughter and killing not only people overseas but the American people…

    August 1, 2013
  • ClipClopToday

    It is their culture… Way back.. they used to chase herds of horses off cliffs to kill them to eat. Humane killing has nothing to do with eating. In modern culture we should be able to do a better job of butchering all farm animals, including horses. It is the fact that horse meat is banned in the US for even dogs and zoo animals due to the drug levels in it that bothers me… and we’re shipping it to other countries for them to eat? And we complain about China? right…

    August 1, 2013
  • Arlene

    I am so saddened by the Navajo nation , always thought the Horse was so sacred to them , i am also disappointed , how very soon they forget !!!!!!! Its a disgrace to there ancestors……

    August 1, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    I was disappointed also, just can’t imagine them supporting horse slaughter I was posting this on another site and this is a response I got back from another poster so it really enlightened me and NOW I can see WHY they are agreeing to this….


    I live in a community right next to the NN and have Navajo friends. I’ve
    never heard of the government consulting or polling the ordinary
    people. They just do what they like, including things they know will get a
    lot of opposition, and essentially dare the people to overturn them. The voting system is so archaic, that seldom happens. And
    the NN is probably the most corrupt of all the indigenous peoples in the
    U.S. Hardly a week goes by without an article in our paper about
    convictions on theft of tribal property or misappropriation of funds. The money that comes in and known the lack of oversight makes activities that hurt their own people too tempting to resist. I don’t see why money from slaughter would be any different.

    August 1, 2013
    • BlessUsAll

      Ah, so it isn’t the Navajo people; it’s the political types who are chosen to lead them, as public servants, and who let power and greed go to their heads. Sounds familiar … sad to say.

      I hope the honest members of the tribe will rise in rebellion against the corruption. Someone will spark them to do so. Maybe this issue?

      I have a friend who has taught on the Navajo reservation and who has befriended a dozen or more Navajo children, helping pave the way for them to go to Sunday School and summer camp. They are so appreciative. One of the girls has a horse, Mohawk, who she loves. Perhaps one day she will be the Navajo version of Wild Horse Annie.

      August 2, 2013
      • Arlene

        I dont know much about the Navajo Nation , but I do know they are a proud people , whose ancestors loved their Horses , they were everything to them…….they respected the horses and counted on them for survival, the horses never let them down, i would Pray out of that same respect the Navajo Nation will rise in honor for the Mustangs and all horses………………. I would believe their ancestors would expect nothing less……………

        August 2, 2013
  • Cornelia Spillman

    Why haven’t we seen any photos of these starving feral horses on the Navajo Nation Land or an article from Santos describing his federally inspected “HUMANE” slaughter process? Because neither cares about horses, they only care about the money that will fill their pockets if this slaughter plant opens. And where will the horse supply come from after all the feral horses are slaughtered? AQHA, Racetracks, Rodeos, etc. And then, when that supply gets low, are we going to raise horses for slaughter just like cattle??? Wake up America, remember what Ghandi said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

    August 1, 2013
    • If they weren’t “brain washed” then it was money washed! To me it’s like they are selling out the entire USA! Making a mockery of all Native people & their beliefs. I am a Native Cherokee & very proud to be. But, this is a real shame what they are contributing too! Just as you said the “Great Spirit” is watching over all of this & I’m sure is not to happy about any of it!

      August 2, 2013
  • Louie C

    Follow the money:
    Inside the Bureau of Indian Affairs

    an Expose’ of Corruption, Massive Fraud and Justice Denied
    Advocating Freedom for American Indians
    and Federal Government Reform©

    by David Henry

    An explosive expose’ of the fraud, corruption and greed in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Written by a man who was labeled the “Whistleblower” and fired for his outspoken attempts to stop the abuses, this book blows the lid off the BIA. One of the most dangerous books on Thunder Mountain Press’ list. Other traditional publishers refused to publish it because it is so controversial. Fully documented by the author with letters, reports, and press clippings, this one will turn your stomach and make you call or write your Congressman.

    It’s interesting to take a historical look at the federal administration of Indian affairs and of Indian lands. The history books, records of congressional hearings, BIA’s own records, and my many conversations with well informed Indians, all lead me to this conclusion: The record of federal administration of Indian affairs and Indian lands is one of repeated fraud, corruption and exploitation, with the direct or implied involvement of federal politicians. Many Indian people say that those who gain from this exploitation are white land owners and operators, including mineral and timber interests, and the federal politicians who give favors (at Indian and taxpayer expense) as a matter of political patronage, and you will find much supporting evidence in this book. I will try to avoid the trap of saying it’s all a giant conspiracy, because it is more than that. The actual thrust of BIA’s actions are generally local in nature, involving the wishes of the local organized white landowners and those who lease or extract minerals from specific reservation lands. The larger conspiracy, although I’d like to avoid that word, is simply the mind-set or general pattern that exists in politics driven by money. Politicians will do what is wanted by those with the means to buy them, and this is a very profitable, self-serving business, which operates above and beyond the law.

    August 1, 2013
  • Louie C

    The Navajo Nation has been exploited in the past. Will they allow that to happen again?

    Human Health Impacts on the Navajo Nation from Uranium Mining

    Because times were hard for the Navajo, most families were thankful when mining started on the reservation because they were given employment. Unfortunately, the people who operated the mines did not tell the Navajo of the danger that was associated with uranium mining. The miners and their families were forced to figure out the dangers on their own, from experiencing the illnesses themselves ([Brugge, 2000] ).
    When mining ceased in the late 1970’s, mining companies walked away from the mines without sealing the tunnel openings, filling the gaping pits, sometimes hundreds of feet deep, or removing the piles of radioactive uranium ore and mine waste. Over 1,000 of these unsealed tunnels, unsealed pits and radioactive waste piles still remain on the Navajo reservation today, with Navajo families living within a hundred feet of the mine sites. The Navajo graze their livestock here, and have used radioactive mine tailings to build their homes.

    August 1, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    Remember “Navajo Nation Great Spirits can’t be bought off”

    August 1, 2013
  • Valerie W.

    So, What I really want to know is, who brainwashed the Navajo Nation!!?? Horses helped Native Americans probably even more than our European ancestors! “They’re eating up the land & drinking up all the water”, my ass! The Great Spirit is watching, & will continue, & most likely is not too happy with this stupidity! He gave us these versatile, beautiful, strong yet gentle, & intelligent creatures to man as a gift, NOT to be brutally slaughtered so some idiotic morons could eat them! Of all the people in this “great land of ours” (NOT!!!!), I can not believe the First People’s would condone such a thing. It is purely brainwashing, or maybe our mean, greedy government has threatened them, yet again! It surely will not provide real decent paying “jobs”, or boost the economy, in any way, but BAD!

    August 1, 2013