TITLE: Opposition to Any/All Horse Anti Slaughter Acts
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Tribes of the United States have for many years spent countless man hours and funding protecting and re-establishing the ecosystem from degradation; and
WHEREAS, the Tribes of the United Stated are home to over 100,000 head of unclaimed/feral horses that are overgrazing and destroying the rangeland, valleys and hillsides of many reservations and that are damaging natural spring developments, efforts at stream bank restoration, and culturally significant plants; and
WHEREAS, the tribes of NCAI have previously adopted NCAI resolution # NFG-09-017 in June 2009, “Opposition to Any/All Horse Slaughter Acts, Also Supporting a Tribal Amendment Allowing Tribes of Establish Horse Slaughter Facilities within Their Jurisdiction”; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Government has a clear fiduciary trust responsibility to protect the interests of Tribal Nations as well as a duty to implement laws passed to benefit those Tribes, yet the Administration failed to consult as required by Executive Order 13175 or communicate with any Tribes prior to taking a position to propose appropriations language reinstating the ban on the funding of USDA Federal Safety Inspection Service to inspect horse meat, even though several tribes have requested consultation in writing on the language and the ban; and
WHEREAS, various Members of Congress have sponsored legislation into the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1094) and the U.S. Senate (S.541) entitled the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013, to restrict or prohibit the sale or transport of equines and equine parts raised in the United State in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption; and
WHEREAS, in 2011, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report was conducted, (#11-228), “Action Need to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter,” which revealed that as a result of the slaughter ban rider implemented in 2006, horses were transported longer distances to be slaughtered – to places where they are not covered by U.S. humane slaughter protections; and
WHEREAS, the NCAI Economic Development and Land and Natural Resources committees agree the horse meat market represents the only economically viable means of reducing the size of feral herds damaging reservation environments and would further assist reservation horse producers who need to sustain their livestock operations, in the productive utilization of tribal and allotted lands; and
WHEREAS, the National Tribal Horse Coalition (NTHC) is a sub-committee of Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) and requests that the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs provide a funding source for horse management practices on trust lands.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI: opposes any legislation restricting horse processing, that removes funding of USDA inspectors of horse meat; opposes any legislation that restricts or prohibits the sale or transport of equines and equine parts raised in the United States in interstate of foreign commerce; supports authorizing tribes to establish horse processing facilities within their jurisdiction; supports a request for development of a BIA line item specific for management of overpopulation of horses from the Department of Interior; and calls on the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture to support the tribes’ position opposing legislation that bans the processing of horses.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2013 Midyear Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Atlantis Casino from June 24 - 27, 2013 in Reno, Nevada with a quorum present.