Navajo Nation Announces Opposition to Horse Slaughter, Halts Roundups

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 3:00pm
Three chestnut colored horses grazing

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

Phenomenal news! Horse-welfare advocates just gained an important new ally in the fight to stop the brutal practice of horse slaughter. As reported earlier this week in The New York Times, Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation, announced that the Nation opposes the practice of horse slaughter and has stopped all horse round-ups on the reservation.

This statement follows two important developments for horses on Navajo lands. In September, a coalition of Navajo elders and medicine people passed a resolution to oppose horse slaughter, and a Navajo Nation chapter opted to suspend round-ups in its territory for fear the horses would be sent to slaughter.

The ASPCA applauds President Shelly’s announcement, which underscores the fact that the inherently cruel practice of horse slaughter is never an acceptable end for a horse.

This declaration comes at a critical time: Congress is considering budget bills that could prevent the opening of horse slaughter plants in the U.S., and a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which also seeks to hamper the opening of plants, is pending in federal court.

President Shelly’s message on behalf of the Navajo Nation confirms the building momentum for the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would forbid the slaughter of horses in the U.S. and end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad.

Please be a voice for horses TODAY: Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the SAFE Act to end this horrific threat to American horses.

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Audrey Barberi

Thank you President Shelly. We need great groups of people to stand up for the rights of our animal friends and helpmates. Please SPEAK UP!! BE HEARD!!

donna and lonni...

thank you for opposing horse slaughter! We had this closed once and now we have to close it again.


Honestly, if you slaughter cows, pigs, deer, chickens, etc. why not horse? I haven't eaten meat in 20 yrs and never will again. I would prefer not to slaughter any of them. It makes no sense to me how many are outraged about horse slaughter while eating a steak.

Suelyn Crisp

Lisa, look into the differences in the slaughter practices. You obviously have never owned a horse. Horses were never intended to be food but companion animals.


ahéheeʼ which roughly means thank you in Navajo...

Suelyn Crisp

Thank God the Navajo Nation is speaking out. Their traditions have a lot of influence. I pray an end to this horrible practice of roundups and the slaughter of any American horse.


Thank you Ben Shelly and the Navajo Nation. God bless your good works and the people you represent.

gregory d webb sr

I'am so glad I donated to this! I feel that my donation helped in a very small way.
Thank you ASPCA for all you folks do
Greg Webb Sr

Rhonda Hodgman

Thank God to the Navajo Nation ... the one nation not afraid to take a stand!


Thanks be to everyone who has taken on this horrific issue of the inhumane, and totally unnecessary slaughter of the defenseless, magnificent animals. There have been so many horror stories of people selling the family pets, thinking that they were going to a good home, and, in truth, were heading to slaughter. There are accounts of horses being strung up and bled out. Their struggle needs to be over. God bless the Navajo elders for their respect for these creatures. God bless President Shelly for taking on this battle. God bless these animals, "for in this world they have no voice, they have no choice."