Which side are you on?
Horse slaughter debate pits Navajo Nation opposite Robert Redford
Sunday, August 11, 2013
"Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and actor Robert Redford, a staunch conservationist, joined animal rights groups in a federal lawsuit to block the revival of horse slaughter in the United States, proclaiming that they were "standing with Native American leaders," to whom horse slaughter "constitutes a violation of tribal cultural Soon, though, the two men, who recently started a foundation to protect New Mexico's wildlife, found themselves on a collision course with the Navajo Nation, the country's largest federally recognized tribe.
The tribe's president released a letter to Congress on Aug. 2 asserting his support for horse slaughtering. Free-roaming horses cost the Navajos $200,000 a year in damage to property and range, said Ben Shelly, the Navajo president.
There is a gap between reality and romance when, he said, "outsiders" like Redford — who counts gunslinger, sheriff's deputy and horse whisperer among his movie roles — interpret the struggles of American Indians.
"Maybe Robert Redford can come and see what he can do to help us out," Shelly said in an interview. "I'm ready to go in the direction to keep the horses alive and give them to somebody else, but right now the best alternative is having some sort of slaughter facility to come and do it."
In Navajo territory, parched by years of unrelenting drought and beset by poverty, one feral horse consumes 5 gallons of water and 18 pounds of forage a day — sometimes the water and food a family had bought for itself and its cattle.
Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit and one of the groups lobbying Congress to end horse slaughter, said its efforts were focused on preventing the killing of horses for human consumption "to avoid creating an industry that would turn horses into a global food commodity."
Are you with the white men or do you side with the Indians who would probably change their position if Redford and his cronies would pony up $200,000.?