Students film Navajos, horses in Arizona for film to sway Congress


I always love to see younger people getting involved with the anti-slaughter issue. Such as when Brittany Wallace found and rescued a horse about to be sent to slaughter. These young men go the extra distance to create a documentary – they met with real world issues, did their best to overcome them and are presenting their findings to members of Congress. ~ HfH
From: Press of Atlantic City
By: Diane D’Amico

 From left, Tyler Hersh, of Absecon, Joe Parisi, of Egg Harbor Township, and Eric Klein, of Cherry Hill, work on a documentary about the slaughter of wild horses in the west at the Charter Tech High School, in Somers Point.

From left, Tyler Hersh, of Absecon, Joe Parisi, of Egg Harbor Township, and Eric Klein, of Cherry Hill, work on a documentary about the slaughter of wild horses in the west at the Charter Tech High School, in Somers Point.

The audience for school projects doesn’t typically include members of Congress. But a short film by three students at Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point is planned as part of a Washington, D.C., event early next year to promote passage of a federal bill that would ban the slaughter of horses.

Students Tyler Hersh, 17, of Absecon, Eric Klein, 16, of Cherry Hill, and Joe Parisi, 17, of Egg Harbor Township, spent four days last month with the Navajo Nation in Arizona, filming tribe members and their horses on behalf of the Animal Welfare Institute, or AWI, in Washington, D.C., which funded the trip.

Instructor David Von Roehm, who had worked with AWI before, went with them.

Hersh said their goal was to raise awareness of the Navajos’ relationship with horses and efforts to stop the slaughter of horses for food in the United States. They filmed tribal members on a ride, and interviewed elders and the tribe’s medicine man.

Klein said because they were in the Navajo Nation, they had to abide by their laws, and there were some things they were not allowed to photograph.

“They don’t always like outsiders, especially with cameras,” Parisi said. “And not everyone knew why we were there.”

Hersh said a major challenge was the dust in the desert, which got into the equipment.

“You had to constantly clean the lenses,” he said.

Parisi said he loved learning about the lifestyle and culture of the Navajos.

“The horse is really sacred to them,” Hersh said.

A tribal elder in the film talks about how the Navajo communicates with his horse and sings to it.

The group tried to find some of the estimated 75,000 wild horses that live on the Navajo land but admit to having some difficulty, since not all areas were accessible to them.

Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI, said the institute has been fighting to ban horse slaughter in the United States for years. He said they have had success in delaying slaughterhouse operations, but the proposed Safeguard American Food Exports, or SAFE Act, would outright ban the slaughter of horses.

“It would eliminate the annual battle,” Heyde said.

According to published reports, the president of the Navajo Nation, Ben Shelly, had supported the roundup and slaughter of some wild horses, citing the damage they cause. But other tribal elders opposed the move, and in October, Shelly withdrew his support and agreed to investigate other methods of managing feral horses.

The Charter Tech students have been compiling a five-minute video for the AWI, and will also prepare a 20-minute film as a class assignment.

Van Roehm said while the film focuses on the horses, he also wanted to show how they are also part of the Navajo culture.

“We wanted to show the spirit of the horse,” he said. “I hope we shared that.”

Contact Diane D’Amico:

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Are they referring to the same Navajos who are allowing there sacred Mustangs to be slaughtered?????????

    November 25, 2013
    • kelly

      Thank you, Arlene, my thoughts exactly. I am a diligent researcher and supporter of this issue, and read this hoping to help out with a screening or “kickstarter” campaign. However a few months ago I worked on a particularly disturbing round up (I arrange for rescue from kill auctions): A native American tribe requested the removal of nearly 500 horses off their reservation, claiming they were ” unwelcome pests”.

      November 27, 2013
      • Dear Kelly, I can not understand why the Navajos are treating the horses this way , all I have read about their History they as a nation respect and love their horses , who are these people masquerading as Navajos???????

        November 28, 2013
  • Tami H

    Nice! Just Nice! <3

    November 26, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    Good for them! They are 16 & 17 years old as well as the Countries future of America .. so maybe if there are any wild horses left they will end this madness & The Wild Horses will run free again.

    November 26, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    If that be so, then the pres of navajo nations somethin kelley… is going against the elders of tribe.. hmmm? I dont know all i know is all the Wild Horses in my area aren’t here anymore. Sec. Jewell, blm/gov, president obama & many others are responsible for this & Harry Reid just sent me a letter stating just the opposite about the horses so i will contact him & dean heller & amodaie as well. as i hope everybody does they keep waisting my time with letters of lies. Its very irritating to say the least.

    November 27, 2013