We just wanted to bring everybody up-to-date on what is happening since the announcement by ESRD about a cull of 200 head of wild horses. The response from throughout Alberta and indeed across Canada, has been one of complete shock and distain that this is happening. There are those though who totally agree with this and wish it would go further. The young foal near death by the side of a road that was rescued by such concerned citizens has also raised quite a controversy and some individuals want to see it taken away from the safe home it is at now. That shows how much some people disrespect the wild horses and in fact probably everything positive in this world!
Here are a couple of samples written by concerned Albertans over the treatment of these wild horses that belong to all Albertans, not just the government or a few horse trappers and meat buyers.
I would like to know why ESRD repeatedly denied capture permits were issued to the numerous inquiries put to them in the weeks preceding the announcement? I, myself, called to inquire and was informed, “no capture permits issued”. Mr. Bradley and the other 2 permit holders, had that information weeks before the rest of the population, as a road was plowed out to his capture area. Please explain why the general population was deliberately deceived about this.
Mr. Jason Bradley is a member of the Steering Committee and as such, to be provided with prior information about the issuance of his Capture Permit so that he could prepare his site in advance, but withhold that same information from other members of the Steering Committee, and members of the general public, is duplicitous. This is also a conflict of interest as Mr. Bradley will earn money off this Capture Permit. Inside information is only given to the select few it seems, and even though the general public repeatedly made requests for this information, they were deliberately kept in the dark. What action is being taken against ESRD for duplicitous conduct and conflict of interest, and if no action is being taken, why not?
Also, another individual, in conversation with both Mr. Rob Kesseler and Mr. Don Livingston, was informed by Rob Kesseler that a “vet” was concerned about Swamp Fever, and this was one of the deciding factors in issuing 2014 Capture Permits. This is a reportable disease and all horses in an infected area are to be quarantined and tested. As there are no reported cases in this area, why did Mr. Kesseler inform someone that this was one of the main reasons for issuing Permits? What is the name of the “vet” who informed Rob Kesseler of this information, and why didn’t this “vet” immediately quarantine all horses, both domestic and wild? If there is Swamp Fever infecting any of those horses, and this “vet” has failed to report and comply with standard quarantine procedures, he should immediately be reported. Has ESRD reported this “vet”, and if not, why not? Will ESRD inform any and all horse auction houses, and all slaughter plants in Canada of the “possibility” of these horses being infected with Swamp Fever and ensure their tainted meat does not enter anyone’s food chain? If not, why not?
In conversation with Mr. Don Livingston, this individual was told that the forage is considered 50% for cattle and 50% for wildlife. No percentage for horses. When the individual stated, “this falls back to a cattle issue”, Don Livingston, confirmed with, “yes, it does”. Why would one ESRD employee state the reason for 2014 issuing of Capture Permits was due to the “possibility” of Swamp Fever, and another ESRD employee, state the reason for the issuing of 2014 Capture Permits, was ESRD’s position of 0% grass for the wild horses?
As Mr. Livingston has stated ESRD’s position is no percentage of grass for wild horses, does this mean ESRD intends to cull 100% of all Alberta’s wild horses? Please inform me when ESRD made the decision to cull 100% of Alberta’s wild horses, or has this always been ESRD’s position?
Also, please answer as to why ESRD allows for a reintroduction of certain species that have completely disappeared in some areas, but vehemently refuses to allow a reintroduction of wild horses? Surely, ESRD has participated in restocking trout streams, reintroducing bison, elk, etc.? Horses are indigenous to North America, and there is abundant scientific evidence of this fact. Is this not also an extreme and blatant bias?
There are many folks who have offered to adopt any captured wild horses. If you want to continue to put pressure on the government, you may wish to sign the online petition at Change.org (search for Alberta wild horses). We encourage everyone to indeed keep doing this and sending in your emails and letters to Minister Robin Campbell and Premier Alison Redford. It is amazing that an elected official in a role such as Minister Campbell, refuses to acknowledge our letters. However, everyone keeps saying to not give up and continue contacting these individuals.
Despite all the scientific evidence about the origin of the horse, and indeed about our Alberta wild horses now, the little effect that horses have on the rangeland, their reproduction rates and their part in the ecosystem, the people making the decisions to cull these beautiful animals refuse to look at any of this. Instead they proceed to base this decision on the input of a few people and groups who benefit financially and/or just blame the horse for what we have done wrong to the foothills environment. Maybe they are afraid to take responsibility for this.