Tourists Warned: Video Shows Limping, Scarred Horses, Mules on Havasupai Trail

PETA Wants Tribe to Address Systemic Animal Suffering, Neglect, and Deaths

For Immediate Release:
September 11, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Supai, Ariz. – PETA has released a new video exposé showing horses and mules on the Havasupai trail being forced to carry heavy loads of tourist gear up and down a grueling 2,450-foot climb with an incline of up to 19 degrees and other steep switchbacks—in all weather extremes. Eyewitnesses saw horses whipped and mules slipping on the icy, muddy trail, and many animals were left sweating and panting from the arduous journey. One wrangler admitted that animals sometimes fall over the side of the trail.

PETA has sent an urgent letter asking the Havasupai Tribe to develop a comprehensive plan to address the systemic problem.

“Travelers visit the Havasupai trail to marvel at the beauty of nature, not to witness suffering animals being neglected and abused,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on the Havasupai Tribe leaders to end the cruel treatment that these horses and mules have endured for years.”

PETA’s exposé found that animals had sores and scars, some limped or had overgrown hooves, and several were underweight, including a young horse whose ribs were visible. The animals were confined to pens littered with trash, and some were tethered without any shelter. One horse on a 4-foot-long tether was apparently left without water on three consecutive days.

Additional recent video footage shows a dead horse simply left in the middle of the trail, and earlier this year, concerned eyewitnesses reported to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) other incidents in which horses suffered on the trail, including one in which a horse collapsed and died and others were in poor condition. The BIA has confirmed that it’s now investigating. Review after review on TripAdvisor mentions ill treatment, including one that refers to the “horrific cruelty and neglect of these Havasupai horses.”

Broadcast-quality video footage is available here, and photos are available here. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind