"On Fate of Wild Horses, Stars and Indians Spar"

A legislative and regulatory battle over slaughter of wild horses is dividing conservation celebrities and American Indians in the Southwest and Mountain West.

"It seemed at first like a logical alliance for boldface names in the interconnected worlds of Hollywood and politics. Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico, and the actor Robert Redford, a staunch conservationist, joined animal rights groups in a federal lawsuit to block the revival of horse slaughter in the United States, proclaiming that they were 'standing with Native American leaders,' to whom horse slaughter 'constitutes a violation of tribal cultural values.'

It seemed at first like a logical alliance for boldface names in the interconnected worlds of Hollywood and politics. Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico, and the actor Robert Redford, a staunch conservationist, joined animal rights groups in a federal lawsuit to block the revival of horse slaughter in the United States, proclaiming that they were 'standing with Native American leaders,' to whom horse slaughter 'constitutes a violation of tribal cultural values.'

Free-roaming horses cost the Navajos $200,000 a year in damage to property and range, said Ben Shelly, the Navajo president. There is a gap between reality and romance when, he said, 'outsiders' like Mr. Redford — who counts gunslinger, sheriff’s deputy and horse whisperer among his movie roles — interpret the struggles of American Indians."

Fernanda Santos reports for the New York Times August 10, 2013.

Source: NY Times, 08/12/2013