Wild Horses at Risk

The mustangs of Mustang Hills.

The mustangs of Mustang Hills.

We are appalled that the Alberta Government is again issuing capture permits for wild horses on public land along Alberta’s Eastern Slopes. It appears that the main thrust for the reduction of wild horse herds is from grazing lease holders concerned that horses are consuming forage at the expense of their cattle. Bob Henderson, president of the Wildhorse Society of Alberta (WHOA) was told by Don Livingston, a land manager with ESRD out of Rocky Mountain House, that forage is considered 50% for cattle and 50% for wildlife. No percentage for horses. When Bob stated, “this falls back to a cattle issue”, Don Livingston, confirmed with, “yes, it does”. ESRD’s position is 0% grass for the wild horses?

How will this year’s capture affect the beautiful horses we enjoy so much in Kananaskis Country? Will the small herd of mustangs in the Mustang Hills area, who are probably having a hard time surviving in the deep snow, be wiped out. Gleaning information from the WHOA site, Don Livingston stated that the 2-3 permits issued would only be for the Sundre region. But with the head of the Rangeland Integration Section of ESRD in Edmonton stating they were looking to capture up to 196 horses over the entire wild horse regions, we cannot be certain that the Elbow region’s horses will be safe.

So keep an eye out for unusual plowing of roads, building of temporary corrals and for any other activity that might indicate a wild horse capture may be taking place in Kananaskis Country.

9 comments… add one
  • Lorraine Young Jan 16, 2017, 11:44 am

    My husband drives long haul from Van to Alb.HE sees the horses outside Alberta on the Indian reserve for two years or more he has said the poor things are starving and the reserve should be feeding them .if not he is going to the animal rights to look into this matter.

  • Gillean Daffern Feb 28, 2014, 1:49 pm

    Check out this article in the Cochrane Times by RMB author Pam Asheton. – http://www.cochranetimes.com/2014/02/27/wild-horse-supporters-want-science-and-studies

  • Bob Truman Feb 18, 2014, 10:20 am

    ‘If the horse is considered an “invasive exotic” what does that make cattle’

    Great point. Cattle are a European import and are poorly adapted to the climate and conditions of Western Canada. They destroy riparian areas and are hard on the land. Bison are the natural “cattle” on this land.

    The answer is simple: Follow the money. Cattle ranchers and the infrastructure which supports them are an influential group with our politicians and contribute to their campaigns.

    The public should have a greater say on how PUBLIC land is used. Grazing fees are absurdly small and ranchers have been getting an almost-free ride on the backs of taxpayers and wildlife. Contact your MLA and let your voice be heard.

  • Colleen Feb 16, 2014, 7:17 pm

    Please “Like” the FB page in support of stopping this cull before it is too late!


  • Tony Daffern Feb 3, 2014, 6:36 pm

    There is now a petition to be sent to Minister Campbell. You will find it here: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/protect-alberta-s-wild-horses-a-heritage-animal#

  • Anne King Feb 1, 2014, 11:48 am

    Just an idea: online petitions can have some influence if enough people sign them. Two good tools are change.org and avaaz.org

  • Gillean Daffern Jan 31, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Please take the time to express your feelings by letter, email or phone to:.

    Honourable Robin Campbell
    Minister of Environment & Sustainable Resources
    #323 Legislature Building
    10800 – 97 Ave
    Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
    [email protected]
    780-427-2391 or toll free in Alberta 310-0000 followed by the previous number

    Thanks, G

  • Birgitta Aita Jan 31, 2014, 11:16 am

    I worry about the wild horses, what will happen. Seems there is no Place for “Life” anymore 🙁

  • Gillean Daffern Jan 31, 2014, 12:31 am

    And in the Ghost Tony! I worry about the wildies at Horse Lake.
    The ESRD uses the word “cull” and we all know what that means. Why not use injectable contraceptive implants as suggested by a veterinarian to keep the breeding levels low? Is this not a much better long term solution? Not culling predators like wolves is another solution offered by Kevin van Tighem, but I imagine there would be much opposition from ranchers.
    I do wonder what the ESRD’s objective really is. Mark Boyce, a biology prof. at the U of A with an interest in cougars and on a government committee, is cited by the Calgary Herald as saying, “They are an invasive exotic that doesn’t belong in that ecosystem and we are not managing them for any particular purpose. We are managing them because people like horses. Horses have their place as a domestic animal, but they don‘t belong on our wildlife ranges.” After reading that, many comments spring to mind. Here are just two:
    1. People who have actually studied the horses tell a different story: That the horses are rewilding not just in their behaviour, but also in their physical adaptations to the environment.
    2. If the horse is considered an “invasive exotic” what does that make cattle and us humans? I could go on, but will let you take over. Someone have a go at “we are not managing them for any particular purpose.”

Leave a Comment