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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Diane Solomon

Too bad so many other people don't have the Navajo's sensibility!

pam donahue

Thanks for joining the cause. Maybe with the Navajo on our side this atrocity can be stopped. Grass roots is just what we needed to prevent these noble animals from being tortured, like the Mustangs of yesterday.

mickie rose

Thank you President Shelly and the Navajo Nation for making the right choice for these beautiful horses. I applaud you!!!!

mickie rose

Thank you President Shelly and the Navajo Nation for making the right choice for these beautiful horses. I applaud you!!!!

Kathryn White

Excellent news and thank you to the Navajo Nation for standing up for these beautiful animals! Well done! We in Seattle applaud you and all that you stand for!! :)


Wonderful news ... as a horse lover (my beautiful bay AQHA mare, Rumors) this thrills me to no end!


Thank you, Ben Shelly and the elders of the Navajo Nation for making this decision and seeking other ways to control the horse population on Navajo lands. I have nothing but respect for your integrity, compassion, and intelligence.


I still think that without horses most of us would still be setting on the EAST coast with no way to cross the country and see the WEST coast !

Brenda Hounshell

Thank you so much President Shelly for standing up for these magnificent animals!! Horses are our heritage and belong on the land as much as we do. They do not deserve to be slaughtered and tormented. There are more humane ways to deal with our problems than running these beautiful creatures to death before we slaughter them without reason. Kudos to you!

Christine H. Doze

Hooray and thank you to the Navajo nation.