Leland Grass Navajo Nation “never did a survey”, Estimates 11,000 Untame, Not 70,000

“NN never did a survey. in last 3 months only only 1500 capture in 60 chapters. . .  (looking at our land where i eat and sleep, i would say 6600 horses ferals. and including wild horse would be close to 11000 all together untame.”
” post this anywhere thx”
Leland Grass Sacred4s@hotmail.com

This is a vastly lower number than has been promoted for a year and a half.

“Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, estimates that about 90,000 feral horses wander the state, with the bulk, about 70,000, on the vast Navajo reservation.” – Albuquerque Journal 6/16/13

Leland Grass ‘Navajo Nation reverses position on Horse Slaughter’

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Celebrating the work of Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson

Tri-ColorPress Release NN and BR


PDF: Press Release Navajo Nation and Bill Richardson

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State of New Mexico Targets Tribal and Placitas Horses

PR Campaign First Victory_Page_1 PR Campaign First Victory_Page_2 PR Campaign First Victory_Page_3 PR Campaign First Victory_Page_4 PR Campaign First Victory_Page_5


PDF: PR Campaign First Victory

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Complaint – Sandoval County Commissioner Orlando Lucero makes defamatory statements about WHOA in the Sandoval Signpost

WHOA met with Mr. Lucero the Sunday before the June 5th meeting, with a number of Placitans at the Merc at my request.  I have neither been given nor been directed to an application, and I have never refused to fill out an application regarding these matters.

I requested an immediate answer to the following email correspondence, which has gone unanswered for 5 days to date (7/14/13).

Patience O’Dowd president
Wild Horse Observers Association
PO Box 932
Placitas, NM 87043 Complaint Orlando Lucero

PDF: Complaint Orlando Lucero

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Problem – Public Safety – Proactive Solutions vs Imposed Placitan Silence

The wild horses of Placitas are in the roads and village due to multiple issues, not least of all, lack of population management by the responsible agency. Many, including WHOA, contend this is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). While predator quotas rise in New Mexico, WHOA’s proactive use of wildlife contraception remains blocked since 2010, primarily by the state of New Mexico. This was long before there was an over population issue, and long before this contraceptive (PZP) was erroneously registered as a pesticide, by the Humane Society of the US and the EPA in 2012. To date there has been no help to remove road blocks (real or created) from any representative, Governor Martinez, or any agency.

There have been 4 accidents to date, killing five horses, and orphaning another, luckily with no loss of human life so far. WHOA has offered a plan to resolve the manufactured over population issue to all the agencies including the BLM,(See below). WHOA and members of the community have also worked together to provide warning signage and to have the Department of Transportation (DOT) provide signage, as well as have the sides of the roads mowed to reduce risk. Incredibly however, the DOT recently removed Wild Horse warning signage installed by Placitans/WHOA.

What is the agenda here? To cause over population, cause a “tradgedy”, turn Placitans against the horses? Effectively punishing Placitans (risking their safety)for fighting for the horses to remain on the “BLM’s public lands”. Is our government ignoring the will and the safety of the people for the sake of gravel mining, and/or an I40 bypass (as requested by Sandoval County in 2008 and planned by the DOT for 20,000 trips per day in their 2001 right of way report)?

WHOA has never advocated to keep the horses in the neighborhoods, or on the roads. WHOA has in fact, fenced them out of neighborhoods in the name of public safety as well as worked to provide proactive contraception. The fencing was effective for many years but without population management, this is no longer effective.

A meeting was called on June 5th, 2013, by Sandoval County Commissioner Orlando Lucero with some of the many agencies involved, most of which WHOA had also called together to no avail. Unsurprisingly, this meeting held at the Sandoval County Commission meeting room, disallowed public comment. This, is the pattern regarding the Placitas wild horses. The Placitas Area Planning process in 2008 run by Sandoval County, disallowed public comment on horses, and the planned highway through the BLM where the horses live. Likewise, the BLM’s 5 yr plus planning process initiated in 2008 and not yet completed, for the Placitas BLM lands, determined that the horses and highways are “out of scope” of this “public” process, thereby deeming 3000 public comments null and void!

Now, even at this meeting advertised as a “workshop”, a “discussion”, specifically about the horses, public comment was again, denied, while much misinformation went un-corrected.

Hence, the only place that Placitans and the Wild Horses of Placitas (which they overwhelmingly support), have their day, is in court, and in court they are. Please see WHOA’s offer to assist with public safety below.

WHOA Public Safety Worksheet (1)

WHOA Public Safety Worksheet (2)

PDF: WHOA Public Safety Worksheet

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Ben Ray Lujan, 3 Other US House Reps Call for Obama to End Horse Slaughter Now

Letter_President Obama_Horse Slaughter_Page_1

Letter_President Obama_Horse Slaughter_Page_2

PDF: Letter_President Obama_Horse Slaughter

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Ban Horse Slaughter in New Mexico!

Martinez - Exec Order Slaughter Press Release-1

Martinez - Exec Order Slaughter Press Release-2

Martinez - Exec Order Slaughter Press Release-3

Martinez - Exec Order Slaughter Press Release-4

PDF: Martinez – Exec Order Slaughter Press Release

PDF: The Unintended Consequences of Horse Slaughter for the US

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WHOA Newsletter – March 2013



PDF: WHOANewsletter_Mar2013

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Executive Order to Ban Horse Slaughter in New Mexico!

NM Governor Susanna Martinez Can Make History as a Consummate Leader….or Not

Governor Martinez is “SAYIN” she is opposed to horse slaughter, but is acting powerless.

However, Attorney at Law Pia Gallegos states “There exists sufficient potentiality for public harm so as to justify an Executive Order by Governor Martinez banning horse slaughter in the State of New Mexico.” (NMSA 12-10A-5)

Sign the Petition – YES SHE CAN! NM Governor Martinez Can Issue an Executive Order Banning Horse Slaughter in the State

Petition on Causes.com (Facebook Account required)
Petition on Change.org (no account required)
The nation and the world are watching. We can encourage her by signing a petition asking her to issue an Executive Order similar to one that has been drafted for her below.

[DRAFT Executive Order prepared for Governor Martinez, 3/8/13]


WHEREAS I, Governor Martinez have declared: “I believe creating a horse slaughtering industry in New Mexico is wrong and I am strongly opposed”.

WHEREAS A horse slaughter plant is “non-compliant” with EXECUTIVE ORDER-2005-056 ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE. A horse slaughter facility will reduce property values, air and water quality, increase crime rates, increase worker-safety issues, and expose US and foreign markets to drug contaminated meats.

WHEREAS Violent crime rates increase due to a slaughter house and vise versa. Empirical data in Kaufman, TX, support this premise. After the horse slaughter facility Dallas Crown closed in 2006 (per Equine Welfare Alliance):
• Murders dropped 100%
• Rapes dropped 100%
• Robberies dropped 65.6%
• Assaults dropped 61.2%
• Thefts dropped 71.2%
• Auto Thefts dropped 83.3%

Conversely, Brooks, Alberta Canada suffered a 70% increase in crime with a new horse slaughter facility (“When A Slaughter Plant Comes to Town” by Jane Allin, Vivian Grant Farrell).

Other Studies confirmed these findings:
• “Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of the
Spillover From ‘The Jungle’ Into the Surrounding Community”, J. Fitzgerald,
University of Windsor, Linda Kalof, MSU, Thomas Dietz, MSU. Organization &
Environment, 2009
• Journal of Rural Studies, Michael Broadway, 2000
• Slaughterhouse Blues, Donald Stull and Michael Broadway, 2004
• American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2007

WHEREAS Environmental Hazards include: Blood disposal issues, potentially pathogenic mountains of entrails, odors for miles. Horses have almost twice the quantity of blood as cows. Their blood is difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood.

WHEREAS The GAO JAN 2005 -WORKPLACE SAFETY describes the dangers of working in a slaughter plant as well as the relatively high rate of injury.

Per OSHA “If the animals are still dying when they are hung on the line, they may struggle and thrash about wildly, resulting in injuries that range from broken arms to permanent disfigurement and in. . . severe cases death”. “Employee Decapitated by Chain of Hide Puller Machine. Employee Killed . . . Head Crushed by Conveyor. Employee Killed . . . Head Crushed in Hide Fleshing Machine. Employee Killed by Stun Gun. Caught and Killed by Gut-Cooker Machine.”

WHEREAS FDA has not approved horses as food animals. Worldwide, attention is focused on the unlawful-mislabeling of drug tainted meat resulting in economic loss, potential public health issues, and public outrage.

WHEREAS Horse Slaughter inspections on unfit food for foreign consumption would decrease inspections on US food.

WHEREAS American Culture was founded on the backs of horses. 80% of Americans by Lake-Research-Poll, are opposed to horse slaughter.

WHEREAS The GAO REPORT June 2011 – CESSATION OF DOMESTIC SLAUGHTER recommends a “permanent ban on horse slaughter.”

WHEREAS Slaughter of Equines cannot be accomplished pursuant to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

7 U.S.C.A.§ 1902 Humane Methods. No . . . slaughtering shall be deemed to comply . . . unless it is humane. . . : (a) . . .all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut;

“The brain of an equine is further back in the skull compared to a bovine. The equines regain consciousness . . .after they are shackled and hoisted. . . they are very much aware of being butchered alive.”

“ in the . . .equine slaughter houses operating in the United States, no . . . restraint is used . . . in the kill chute . . .In some instances, it takes several attempts to effectively apply the penetrating captive bolt . . ., if this is achieved at all. . . . in violation of 7 U.S.C.A. §1902 (a) of the Humane Slaughter Act . . ..”
- Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector

WHEREAS multiple US states have banned horse slaughter for human consumption.

And finally, WHEREAS New Mexico is home to twenty three Pueblos and Tribes; many of whom hold the horse to be sacred and valued components of their traditional culture are opposed to horse slaughter.

I, Governor Martinez, by virtue of the Authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State do ORDER and DIRECT a Ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in New Mexico.

This Order shall take effect immediately.

Note: Pursuant to NMSA CHAPTER 12 ARTICLE 10A> 12-10A-5.

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False Drums Beat On Horses and “Tribes” in New Mexico

There is an incredible force of New Mexico government officials, horse industry representatives, and special interests in New Mexico pushing for a horse slaughter house on US soil. Currently there is a bill at the NM State Legislature, HB90, that lacks about 10 votes to pass the House and could come back at any time, according to Representative Jimmie Hall. In order to garner support HB90 is apparently awaiting a story on “starving unwanted horses” on tribal lands.


These pro-horse slaughter forces have used the First Americans in a dishonorable and even slanderous way for years in pro-slaughter propaganda. This slander was evidenced from the statement that “Native Americans eat horses”, by then Executive Director of the NMLB in committee at the NM legislature in 2007, as well as the current drum beat of statements by the contingent mentioned above, of “thousands of feral horses on tribal lands, ruining the environment”.

No tribal official is ever named and no actual counts or environmental assessments are ever given as proven by a recent Inspection of public records request (IPRA) to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, whose Director, Jeff Witte , is running a Task Force on Horse Overpopulation.


This Task Force (TF) on horse overpopulation was initiated by the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) and the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau (NMFLB) in a letter to Governor Martinez on April 19th, 2012. However, Jeff Witte, Director of the NM Department of Agriculture stated at the 1/18/13 TF meeting that he and Bill Sauble, a New Mexico Livestock Board member, came up with the idea.


The EUROPEAN COMMISSION (HEALTH AND CONSUMERS DIRECTORATE-GENERAL) (2011-8906) in 2011, shows that 19,203 horses were rejected from slaughter for human consumption at the Mexican border. This due to disease, pregnancy, being ungelded, and/or improper paperwork.

Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred Three Horses
Rejected at the Mexican Border in 11 months in 2011

1,522 breaches against the zoosanitairy requirements and 232 cases of the presence of live ticks were identified

This is a massive number compared to the meager 71 estrays (lost or abandoned) New Mexico horses. What does a kill buyer do with a trailer load of horses rejected for slaughter? DUMP!

In the Task Force initiation letter NMCGA and NMFLB state:
“horses are destined for slaughter plants in Mexico. . .”  “Mexico will not accept intact studs (males) or pregnant mares. . .” “Numerous unwanted horses are merely hauled to an open space — including private, federal, tribal or state lands. There they are either turned loose to fend for themselves or perhaps shot on-sight. These horses create grave concern for livestock owners and managers due to the potential for disease transmission. . .” “Because of New Mexico’s border with Mexico, the state is recipient of unwanted horses from the entire nation. “

Though counter intuitive, a horse slaughter plant is exactly what causes this dumping: not the economy, high hay prices, not even over breeding. Many of these horses were not diseased at the beginning of their trip.


In the KRQE story on the Task Force, Jeff Witte NM State Secretary of Agriculture states: “There are no hard numbers as to how many horses are wild, abandoned or feral in New Mexico, but some estimates are as high as 90,000 on the Navajo reservation alone.” “We’ve had estimates of tens of thousand of horses that have been released across the state either on Forest Service, BLM land or tribal land,”

Jeff Witte makes no mention of who is releasing these TENS OF THOUSANDS of horses in New Mexico. Instead of educating the public that kill buyers are dumping them, he withholds this vital information leaving it up in the air for people to assume that New Mexicans are abandoning “unwanted” horses, while he implies the biggest problem is the “Indians”. Masterfully, this administration plays on peoples prejudices they didn’t even have.

You might ask, are New Mexico government officials planning a raid on the Navajo’s to “rescue” their horses? No, they are beating the drum for a slaughter plant in New Mexico.

Interestingly, in this same KRQE story the Placitas Wild Horses are pictorially featured or rather “fingered”.


photo by Kevin Larson Free Mountain

New Mexico’s Senator Sapien is working to ensure that the San Felipe Pueblo does not regain their ancestral aboriginal lands by Placitas. If Senator Sapien succeeds, against the will of most Placitans, and the San Felipe Pueblo, the Placitas Wild Horses will be sent to federal holding pens rather than managed as wild horses, or worse, they will be deemed livestock and most sent to slaughter.

Incredulously, the week before HB90 was to be voted on in the NM House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC), a “cattle pot” load of skinny and wormy Dumped horses landed on the border of San Felipe and Diamond Tail Ranch over 6 miles from the San Felipe Pueblo proper. Interestingly, this seems to have been a manufactured two for one story, to get HB90 passed, and to tarnish irreparably, San Felipe Pueblo, to try and end the massive Placitan support for the San Felipe Pueblo and the hopes for the Placitan horses as legal wild life. Investigations of these illegal activities are in progress.

In case the reader is worried, or has heard the slanderous rumors, these dumped horses were in fact not trapped, as fences were down in many places; contrary to reports by a representative of the Sandoval Signpost and a member of the pro-slaughter New Mexico Horse Council on Facebook, there were no dead horses, and these were not the wild horses that roam San Felipe. However San Felipe is assisting these horses with hay and water and they are recovering.

These were to be the Judas horses leading many others to slaughter in New Mexico, but now they too have escaped slaughter, and the San Felipe Pueblo has stated that: “Slaughter is not an option”.



  1. New Mexicans have a right to know the truth. New Mexico’s estray (abandoned and lost) horses average a mere 71 horses per year according to the New Mexico Livestock Board data base since 2005 by WHOA IPRA.
  2. Slaughter plant proximity is the cause of massive numbers of “unwanted” horses. We must end the transport of American horses to Mexico for slaughter in order to stop the horse dumping in New Mexico. Even when the US had horse slaughter plants, thousands of US horses went to slaughter in Mexico. For example in 2004 17,636 horses went to slaughter in Mexico per USDA FAS. Please Support US American Prevention of Slaughter Act.
  3. Additionally, New Mexico statutes allow for technicians, rather than veterinarians, to euthanize unwanted horses. NMSA CHAPTER 77 Animals and Livestock > ARTICLE 1B Animal Sheltering > 77-1B-6. Euthanasia technician; license.
  4. There are over 9 Million horses in the US. Of these, 900,000 horses/yr die and are disposed of humanely. These methods include; euthanasia, death, composting, rendering, and affordable group cremation.
  5. Horse Slaughter is not Humane Euthanasia in the US, in Canada, or in Mexico. Also, the recent Lake Research Poll shows that 80% of Americans oppose slaughter.
  6. Horses are not raised as food animals and they contain drugs not intended for use in food animals. These are dangerous and that is why the FDA does not allow the sale of American horse meat in the US.


  1. Livestock have no rights and are exempt from the Animal Cruelty Laws of New Mexico. They are subject to auction and slaughter. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/26/1086634/-New-Mexico-s-Shame
  2. Under WHOA’s plan the Placitas Horses will be recognized as legally wild animals with commensurate rights. This can be realized under the BLM’s or San Felipe Pueblo’s jurisdiction, through the current RMP public process, or through the court proceedings now in progress. The Placitas Horses would be administered birth control to manage their population in both cases. Excess numbers would not be subject to slaughter.
  3. Under Senator Sapien’s plan, the BLM would be transferred to the state of the New Mexico under the RPP&P Act, the horses would be considered livestock and be subject to culling, auction, and slaughter. Additionally, the Governor has given no promise to allow any of the horses to remain. This plan would also disenfranchise Placitans from the public NEPA process which is nearing completion after 5 yrs.
  4. The State of New Mexico has been working to block the use of birth control on the Placitas wild horses, using the pretext of their lack of an owner as a way to keep them from receiving birth control. In fact, the people of the United States and the people of New Mexico, own them. If the state was interested in these horses, or the safety of Placitans, they would authorize rather than block WHOA from administering birth control.


  1. HB90: Call Governor Martinez: (505) 476-2200 email: (gloria.marquez@state.nm.us)
    Tell her Slaughter is what is causing the unwanted horses in NM and a slaughter plant here will only make it worse.
    Call Governor Martinez: (505) 476-2200 email: (gloria.marquez@state.nm.us)
    Call Senator Sapien: (505) 765-5662 email: (john.sapien@nmlegis.gov)
    Ask them both not to disenfranchise Placitans by taking the Placitas BLM and/or deeming the Placitas horses as livestock.
  3. STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER IN MEXICO AND CANADA: Call federal representatives and request they co-sponsor and support The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

For most stats in this Diary, see Unintended Consequences of Slaughter for U.S. here.

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