The practice of slaughtering wild horses on Indian reservations has never been banned, but has been forced to stop when funding for inspection was cut from the federal budget. The issue whether to restore funding to the inspection has divided animal rights groups and some Native American groups—at times driving a wedge between members of the same tribes.
Proponents of feral horse slaughtering, including the Navajo Nation, say the itinerant animals cost the tribe hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and take away important natural resources from its land. Opponents say that there are ways to preserve the horses and killing them is cruel and violates the cultural tradition and identity of Native Americans.
Erny Zah, director of communications for the President’s Office at the Navajo Nation
Neda Demayo, founder and president of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Preservation and Sanctuary