Humane Society of the United States reaches agreement with tribal leadership to provide food, tack, education and vet eare
April 19, 2017
More than 16 months ago, SAVE began its quest to make contact with Havasupai leadership in order to address the longstanding and rampant physical abuse, torture, and neglect of working animals in their region and under their stewardship. After repeated attempts to communicate with leaders were unsuccessful, SAVE went public with a campaign that we hoped would bring public awareness and, thus, pressure the leaders to immediately stop the gratuitous abuse, implement minimum standards of care that included adequate food, water, and medical care, and provide education for tribal members on good horsemanship.
We notified and engaged as many animal advocacy groups as we could. We worked with prosecutors to bring the first federal case against a violent offender. And we continued to be a clearinghouse for eyewitness accounts of the abuse.
Many others who witnessed the plight of these defenseless animals have contacted us and we have put forth their evidence, increasing pressure on tribal leadership the past year.
The reality is that this abuse, well known amongst advocacy groups, has endured for 40 years without any change. The general sentiment has consistently been, “that’s just how it is” and “there’s nothing anyone can do.” We would not accept that answer, and we often took the heat from some about “shaming” the tribe or being too tactically “aggressive" when in fact we were really just presenting evidence about the rampant abuse about which, to date, nothing had been done. The historical conventional approach was to avoid criticism of tribal leadership. Still, nothing had changed for the betterment of these animals for decades with the more passively soft-handed approach.
Now we’ve received word that Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has reached an agreement with tribal leadership to provide food, tack, education, and veterinary services. This happened in large part because of our supporters' help - thank you. We are hopeful that the leaders of the animal advocacy world and the Havasupai can, in good faith, cooperate to end the suffering of these animals and commit to giving them a life of integrity that includes adequate food, water and the care and rest they deserve. We believe this will benefit the people and the animals living in Supai.
We are absolutely hopeful, and grateful, to all involved for this momentous announcement. However, we know our work is not done. While we recognize this as significant progress, our wish is that the Havasupai embrace a respectful relationship with their animals to ensure the long term success of this effort. We also remain committed to being vigilant about reporting violent offenders and raising awareness in the public so that - if someone witnesses it- any abusers can be stopped and the animal victim can be rescued.
If you see something, say something. Contact us with any news you have. We welcome photos and information about well-cared-for animals as we celebrate the changes to come. And please, continue to document abuse and neglect if you see it, and then contact us to see if we can help.
If you’d like to contribute to the HSUS fund to help these animals, please visit arizonacoalitionforequines.org/donate and select “Havasupai Horses Fund” in the “Donate to” drop-down menu.
Below are a few of the Havasupai rescues from the past year, who are now living the lives they deserve. We hope that ALL Havasupai pack animals can soon have the same peace.