Protection needed for Alberta’s wild horses

There are thousands of wild horses roam in the Rocky Mountain foothills in Alberta, Canada.

To be exact: Alberta Environment and Parks says 1,673 feral horses were counted in the Alberta foothills as of last February.

The horses, around since the early 1800s, are descended from escaped or released domestic stock used for ranching, logging and mining operations.

Alberta has managed their population by trapping and culling since the 1950s. Horses have been sold at auctions and, if they weren’t adopted, often sent to slaughter.

A five-year pilot program in which mares were injected with a contraceptive vaccine good for three years ended Nov. 30.

A local advocacy group would like to see the program expanded as there were a limited number of volunteers available to administer the vaccine. They feel the program would be better conducted by a university with assistance from the government.

The best solution to save the horses, they suggest, is to ensure they have protected status.

There should be legislation enacted that gives them a distinct identity. Sending them for slaughter is no longer socially acceptable.

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