The Navajo Nation has rounded up a number of wild horses this month to be sold at auction and likely taken to slaughterhouses in Mexico. The tribe said the horses are ravaging its land and water at a time of severe drought.
The Navajo president said the tribe can no longer support the estimated 75,000 horses on its land. He said it costs the tribe $200,000 a year in property damage.
"These horses that are being rounded up aren’t your Budweiser clydesdales," said Erny Zah, spokesman for Navajo President Ben Shelley. "They’re in poor health condition. They’re causing havoc for our livestock owners."
Zah said the population needs to be reduced by half. The tribe supports a New Mexico meat company that wants to slaughter the horses. In 2007 the federal government stopped funding horse meat inspectors. The Agriculture Department effectively halted the practice until last month. That prompted animal rights groups to file a federal lawsuit.