Havasu Falls is a slice of paradise with cascading waterfalls. However, the journey to that paradise is on the back of abused and neglected horses. The falls are located on the Havasupai Tribe reservation.
The trail to get to the falls is about 8 miles long with a 2000-foot decent. It is difficult and straining on the horses, especially when they do not get to rest and are not properly fed.
For 60 years, Havasupai horses have been neglected and abused. Tourists are appalled and guilt-stricken when they see the state the horses and mules are in. People have documented the abuse and neglect and shared on social media to increase awareness.
The photos and testimonies are heartbreaking, detailing how horses are brutally beaten when collapsing from being overworked on the trail. Water and food are not adequately provided, and horses are underweight and in poor health. Horses that can no longer work are left to die on the trail and eaten by coyotes.
This video was submitted by a tourist who witnessed firsthand the abuse and neglect of the horses.
Horses in distress are whipped to continue. On days where it is over 100 degrees, the horses do not receive water or food once they reach the top of the ridge. When saddles are removed, wounds and sores are revealed along with bones and ribs.
Stop Animal Violence (SAVE) Foundation has been fighting this battle for almost 2 years and their main goal is “to bring an end to the suffering and mistreatment of animals in the Havasupai region of the Grand Canyon.” On their Facebook page are numerous videos and testimonials from people who visited and documented the abuse.
To help the Havasu people and their horses, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) needs to create and fund a mandatory free assistance program that ensures the Havasupai horses and mules are properly cared for without abuse.
The program will set guidelines and rules for owning and managing pack horses and mules. The guidelines will include days off to rest for the animals, proper shelter from the sun and weather, enough food and water to maintain a healthy weight, vet care when needed, animals retired to sanctuaries when they can no longer work, and ethical work conditions. BIA will enforce these and must clear horses or mules before they can be worked. Anyone who is found abusing or neglecting a horse or mule after receiving education and help from the BIA’s program must be prosecuted.
The curtain has been pulled back and now people must demand change. Sign this petition below and share with your friends to help end the abuse and provide proper care for the Havasupai horses!
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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