By Lauren Lewis –
March 2, 2018
Last week, the lives of up to 60 wild horses in Arizona were threatened by a hunt to kill the “excess” feral animals in a local trophy hunting area.
Fortunately, on March 1st, which was National Horse Protection Day, the planned massacre was canceled and the horses are safe for now.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye acknowledged on Tuesday that while the growing population of feral horses on the Navajo Nation is a problem that has to be addressed, he determined it would not be resolved with a wild horse hunt.
“We understand the concerns of the people,” President Begaye said in a statement that was in part a response to the outrage expressed by animal advocates. “We know the issue of horses is an emotional one with strong feelings on all sides. My administration will not condone a horse hunt for controlling the overpopulation of feral horses. But we do need to implement a management plan to preserve and protect Navajo land for future generations.”
The president’s statement comes on the heels of a 2018 Horse Hunt Proclamation issued last week by the Navajo Department of Fish and Wildlife (DNR). Since that proclamation has been rescinded and the hunt will no longer take place, Fish and Wildlife now are working to pursue alternate methods of feral horse management.
Sadly, some of their alternative approaches such as trapping, castration and birth control, sill equate to inhumane methods to many animal advocates. Adoptions of the feral horses is a much more welcome plan.
“All of these methods, together, will address the problem of overpopulation that is causing extensive damage to our ecosystems,” President Begaye said. “If we don’t take action now, the overgrazing will have major impacts on drought conditions that we anticipate in both the short and long-term.”
The Navajo Nation Commission on Emergency Management on Monday approved a new State of Emergency Drought Declaration. The commission is anticipating large-scale drought conditions this summer, which will create a critical shortage of water and range feed for livestock, resulting in the poor physical condition of livestock and an increase in disease.
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TAGS: Horses,Navajo Nation,Wild Horses
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