“The affinity that indigenous peoples have with horses is very deep, and the traditional-minded folks, the elders, are the first to demand that the horses receive respectful treatment.”

There are an estimated 70,000 wild horses in the United States on land that the Bureau of Land Management says can only hold 20,000.

Congress is currently considering whether to overturn a 50-year-law that makes it illegal for the government to sell America's wild mustangs to horse meat facilities.

If the proposal is approved, up to 40,000 wild horses living on federal lands could be sold for $25 dollars a head as soon as October.

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are locked in debate over what to do about wild horses which roam across Western range lands and reservations, competing with domestic livestock for food and water. Native American tribes and nations are also grappling with the problem. Everyone agrees something needs to be done to reduce the wild horse population, but what?

It’s an emotional issue which Native American tribes have struggled with for years. Some support roundups, but others, including elders and spiritual leaders, say the animals should be treated humanely and not sent to slaughter. The Northwest Tribal Horse Coalition, comprising five tribes and bands in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, says birth control won’t curb overgrazing, at least in the short term

An estimated 48,000 wild horses have the run of the Navajo Nation’s 7,000 square kilometers in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

Yazzie has initiated a horse capture program he considers more humane — luring the animals into a corral with bales of hay and feed, returning branded horses to their owners, euthanizing sick and old animals, and sterilizing others that can be returned to the wild. He is also looking to work with agricultural groups to domesticate the horses, and even revive the tradition of horse transport.

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