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Jul 31, 2013 4:25 PM by Juice Godfrey

Navajo Nation supports NM horse slaughterhouse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Navajo Nation is jumping into the emotional and divisive fray over a return to domestic horse slaughter, drafting a letter in support of a New Mexico company's plans to begin exporting horse meat next week.

The tribe's support for Valley Meat Co. comes one week after Robert Redford and former Gov. Bill Richardson joined the opposite side, saying they were "standing with Native American leaders" to protect cultural values.

But Erny Zah, spokesman for Navajo President Ben Shelly, said Wednesday that the nation's largest Indian reservation can no longer support the estimated 75,000 feral horses that are drinking wells dry and causing ecological damage to the drought-stricken range.

The National Congress of American Indians, representing tribes across the country, is also lobbying in support of Valley Meat Co.

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