Supai, Arizona – In August, the body of a horse was found along the Havasupai trail to the Grand Canyon – a trail where horses and mules are forced to pack heavy gear for tourists, even in scorching, hot weather.
For years there have been numerous reports of abuse and neglect of these pack horses and it is time for this cruel mistreatment to come to an end! Please join us in asking the Havasupai Tribal Council to implement and enforce standards of care for these horses!
Video of a horse on the trail here (warning, this footage may be upsetting).
The mistreatment of these horses has been happening for years and it is time for the abuse to end. Fox 10 News reports of a witness who heard a horse fall to her death from a cliff in May. Shayln Cline told the news agency, “When we turned around, we heard the sound of a horse falling off the cliff. The guy walked down to her, and at that point when she fell off the cliff, she definitely hit her head, and she was gone right in that instant.”
This June, video footage captured a pack horse collapsing in the heat (click here to view). It isn’t the first time, and surely won’t be the last unless enough people say “Enough is enough!” A disturbing video from 2018 shows an exhausted pack horse on the ground (click here to view).
How many times have these overburdened, dehydrated, and exhausted horses collapsed when cameras weren’t recording? How many horses will die because they are not being properly cared for?
TripAdvisor reviews of the trail also document the mistreatment of these animals – in July 2019, a reviewer recounted the abuse:
The experience was ruined by witnessing the abuse of the horses and mules. We observed these animals to be underweight and deprived of food and water. We could see all their ribs, they were run up and down the canyon with no water. They are tied so close together (mouth to tail) that the entire train of animals is often pulled by their bridles along the trail. The front or rear horse is kicked and beaten to make the rest run, even along dangerous twists and turns. I cannot even imagine the pressure of a bridle in a horse’s mouth, forced up into the hard palate for MILES at a time! The animals have a look of exhaustion and desperation. We witnessed one being kicked so hard she vomited. They are tied up so close to posts that they are unable to turn around, lie down, and with NO shade, even in the sweltering heat. There are signs everywhere saying NO PHOTOS OF THE ANIMALS. This is why. Please do not support the tribe until they treat their enslaved animals with dignity and compassion.
Update 4/20/2023: Pandemic shutdowns gave the horses and mules a small reprieve from the misery. But on February 1, 2023, the tribe reopened for tourism, and already there are reports of neglect and abuse from visitors.
And just a few weeks ago, a hiker was horrified to see the body of a dead mule with broken legs.
Nothing has changed for these animals, but CHANGE must happen. If you haven’t already, please add your name to the petition as we implore the Havasupai Tribal Council to implement measures to keep the pack animals safe.
We demand the Havasupai Tribal Council ensure that the pack horses (and mules) be properly cared for. We further ask for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to investigate all reports of animal abuse and take action to suspend abusive horse and mule wranglers from continuing their cruel behavior.
* Individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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