I have been following the story of these horses and mules via @havasupaihorses and its shocking..if you are traveling to the Grand Canyon and use pack animals consider packing lightly or using another form of transport
Havasupai was truly a hidden gem, its every outdoor enthusiast’s dream however I don’t want to go back. Beyond the lush trees and remarkable waterfalls lies a true issue with the pack mule service. The mules/horses carry 4 x 30lb bags up and down the canyon which is about a 20 mile round trip in the hot sun. They don't get water or rest time and are visibly malnourished. Some are tied closely together meaning if one trips and falls off the cliff, they all do. If one is injured, it is dragged with the train. You can also see the abrasions and scars along their belly, legs and behind, where the straps cut into their skin. Backpackers had shown me a video of a horse with a broken ankle and another who was screaming as it struggled to get up with a broken back. Often times, they are left on the side of the trail to die a painful and lonely death. I had hoped and prayed that I wouldn’t run into a corpse on my way back up.
Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely beautiful and I understand the Havasupai economy is driven from tourists and this pack mule service but the treatment of the animals is heartbreaking. There IS a way where you can regulate the weight limit and amount of trips ran per day so that you don't drive your animals to premature death. They can serve longer and happier if they are taken better care of.
I hope to spread awareness and make people more mindful of how they plan their trip. If you go please don't treat this as a 'glamping& #39; opportunity. Pack only what you need and carry all of your things yourself. There is also a helicopter alternative. #havasupaifalls #grandcanyon #packmules #equinecruelty #loveyouranimals 📷: @chriskpickens