Despite being humans’ hardworking close companions and playing a key role in the advancement of transportation, agriculture, and civilization, horses are targeted and abused in unimaginable ways. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) chases down wild horses with helicopters to clear land for cattle, sending the wild horses to “holding facilities” where after an indefinite time many will face the fate of being slaughtered and eaten. Other horses are doped up and forced to run at lightning speeds for the racing industry, where many die from being overworked. And there is yet another way that horses are abused that is rarely talked about — for trekking.
Stop Animal Violence (SAVE) is an organization founded in 2016 with the sole purpose of stopping the abuse of pack animals (horses, donkeys, mules) on the Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon. SAVE states that for over 40 years, reports have been made that these pack animals are grossly mistreated, being overloaded with massive cargo for treks, not given adequate food, water, or protection from the elements, even in extreme temperatures, they are tied together in a way so that if a horse slows down, it is choked, and many are even blinded in one eye by kicking them in order to make them more “cautious” on trails. Animals who collapse and cannot rise or keep up are callously left to die on the sides of trails.
SAVE recently reported on one particular incident involving a trekking horse who an eyewitness recorded being repeatedly kicked in the head by a wrangler after collapsing from being overworked with a toppling load on his back.
Sadly, this type of abuse is not uncommon on these trails.
SAVE is asking concerned citizens to contact the following people to address this issue:
Laura Naranjo, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services (OJS), District III Office: [email protected].
Abbie Fink, the tribe’s Public Relations Representative: 602-957-8881 or [email protected]
Scott Cundy at Wildland Trekking – a large outfitter who uses these animals and has influence: 1-800-715-4453 or [email protected]
But that is not all you can do to save these horses, donkeys, and mules. SAVE encourages three main ways to support their cause to save the Havasupai equines — advocacy and action, responsible tourism, and donations. By calling attention to the issues at hand, speaking out against it, choosing to not financially support animal trekking excursions, and by supporting those fighting to protect these animals, you can make a world of difference.
To learn more about the plight of the Havasupai pack animals and how you can become involved in helping them, visit SAVE’s website here.
Few people know about this issue, so please do your part to spread awareness by sharing this with your network!
All Image Source: SAVE Havasupai Horses/Facebook