Horse group hopes for alternatives to roundups, hunt

WINDOW ROCK

Ron Jackson didn’t know how to react when he heard the news of a potential horse hunt but he believed there had to be a better way.

At a sportsman’s expo in March, Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife officials spoke about the potential of a horse hunt. When the news broke in the Navajo Times, it reached people like Jackson.

“I thought, ‘You’re just going to come out here and start shooting horses?’” he said. “It’s wrong.”

The department didn’t answer or return follow-up calls prior to an interview on May 9 with Jackson. Jackson said the department also had not returned his calls.

He and Facebook friend Sharron Berry, a rancher near Grants, New Mexico, started the Facebook group “Horse Nation Protector Alliance” after two roundups in nearby areas.

They suspected a herd near his home in Todilto Park, New Mexico, had been removed, according to Jackson.

“We started in response to a herd around here that was all of a sudden gone,” he said.

He said the group hopes to become a horse rescue and adoption organization based on the reservation. Currently they have a crowdfunding campaign at YouCaring: Compassionate Crowdfunding.

Jackson said group aims to raise funds to build awareness and propose solutions other than rounding up horses, selling them for slaughter, or possibly shooting them in a hunt.

He said the group hopes to build awareness about horses that he said are rounded up, packed into trailers, and sent off the reservation.

“Right now we’re just trying to raise awareness and let the Navajo people know about the horses that are being taken,” Jackson said.

He suggested creating horse sanctuaries, adoption programs or sterilization programs to control the population.

“Right now it’s just Sharron and I,” he said.

He said he hopes to include participation from locals, political leaders and celebrities.

Regarding a hunt, he pointed to local people where horses might be shot.

“We live here, you know, so it’s dangerous,” he said.

He said shooting could spook herds and send them into roads or over fences.

“It could create chaos,” he said.

Berry said the very suggestion of a hunt sparked outrage.

“There’s not one person I know that isn’t outraged by that idea,” she said.


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About Author

Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at Chrisp@navajotimes.com.