Navajo President Drops Support of Horse Slaughter and Suspends Roundups

NEW MEXICO, October 9, 2013 — The Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) applauds Navajo Nation (NN) President Ben Shelly for reversing his support of horse slaughter in the U.S. Under pressure by many of his own people, the Nahooka’ Dine’, several Navajo Chapters and The Dine' Hataali Association, (a Navajo organization comprised of medicine men and women that serve as board of directors from six Navajo regions), together with the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, and several animal welfare groups including the Wild for Life Foundation, the Navajo Rescue and Recovery Mission (NHRRM) and others, the Navajo Leader agreed that he will no longer support horse slaughter.

Rescue team members and partnering sanctuaries of WFLF’s NHRRM, including The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Northeastern Nevada Equine Rescue, Live and Let Live Equine Sanctuary, Sacred Heart’s Firelight South, Wild Burro Protection League, Harmony Horseworks, Saving Horses Inc., have issued a harmonious statement of support for Navajo President Shelly's powerful stance in opposition to horse slaughter. With praises for Shelly's promise to suspend the roundups of wild horses on the reservation, the NHRRM encourages permanent suspensions together with positive, viable and humane alternatives for the management of wild horses on Navajo lands. 

The New York Times (NYT) broke the news online yesterday, reporting that “Shelly will also order a temporary suspension of wild horse roundups on the reservation.” According to the NYT the Navajo leader said, “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.

NN President Ben Shelly agreed to suspend horse roundups on the Navajo Nation during a meeting with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson over the week end. Gov. Richardson represents the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, which he founded with actor, director and conservationist Robert Redford. The foundation is working to stop the slaughter of horses, including actively fighting efforts to reopen horse slaughterhouses in the United States.

In a press release issued by NN President Ben Shelly, Gov. Richardson said, "I commend President Shelly for calling for an immediate end to horse roundups and for making it clear that moving forward the Navajo Nation will not support horse slaughter or the return of horse slaughter facilities. This is exactly the outcome horse advocates, such as myself, had hoped for.”
The two leaders agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would suspend horse round ups on the Navajo Nation.

WFLF, President, horse advocate and filmmaker, Katia Louise has been actively working behind the scenes over the last several months with Navajo Elders, and with Richardson, in garnishing collaborative support in a united effort on behalf of protecting and preserving America’s horse and burro population.

WFLF’s Navajo Rescue and Recovery Mission (NHRRM) recently rescued 17 Navajo foals ages 2-5 months that had been orphaned during the Navajo Nation roundups. “These roundup survivors they are now helping to show the world that the re-introduction of horses to rangelands, in truth can rejuvenate the environment,” says Katia Louise.  “They are sacred and majestic beings - they heal our hearts and can heal the lands.”
Wild for Life Foundation’s NHRRM and its wild horse preservation initiative serves as an educational platform for the protection of wildlife through the provision of long term sanctuary of wild horses and burros removed from America's rangelands. WFLF and its Saving America’s Horses Initiative is an international consortium of scientists, equine welfare experts, researchers, and horse advocates collaborating efforts to promote wild horse conservation and preservation initiatives with a focus on the prevention of equine cruelty. WFLF supports comprehensive and science-based solutions that lead to systemic change, reduce suffering, and cultivate a more compassionate society.
WFLF: Kate Dudley, 310.439.9817,             

About the WFLF 
The Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity dedicated to saving, protecting and preserving equines through rescue, sanctuary and education. WFLF promotes the preservation of natural ecosystems, wildlife and the prevention of cruelty to equines, and opposes practices that threaten the environment, wildlife and that cause suffering to animals. Federal ID No. 26-3052458 — On the Web at