Part 6 – Just Desserts

Our Battle with

The Alberta Provincial Government – Part 6

Just Desserts

roan.2.1

Zoocheck, a Canadian-based international wildlife protection charity, has stepped up to the plate to help preserve and protect, our Alberta Wild Horses.

No science has ever been provided by the Alberta Provincial Government, Ministry of Environment and Parks, (AE&P), to justify the removal of any wild horses, despite repeated requests for such information. All culls of our wild horses have been issued on repeated claims that the horses are damaging the grasslands, yet a study conducted by Wayne McCrory, a professional biologist and ecosystem research expert hired by Zoocheck, has shown the wild horses cause no damage.

This new study will hopefully stop the next cull, however, it cannot stop the culls indefinitely. It is hoped that at least one of the two DNA studies currently being conducted in the Equine Zones, will show rare breeds, and the wild horses will then be afforded some kind of protection.

The first DNA study launched, is being conducted by Dr. Jocelyn Poissant, and is being funded by the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan, Alberta Conservation Association, Agriculture Canada, and Alberta Environment and Parks and the Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS). Samples are being taken from all 6 Equine Zones and from as many different horses as possible. To date more than 150 samples have been collected.

The second DNA study is being conducted by Dr. Gus Cothran, and is being funded by Texas A&M University, who will provide the actual study and lab analysis. Costs for recording a database and preparing samples for the lab, are being absorbed by Central Registry Services Group, and costs for collecting samples and photographs, are being absorbed by volunteers. Samples are only being taken from previously captured wildies, and now domesticated. Most of these horses would be from the heavily culled Sundre or Ghost Zones. To date approximately 30 samples have been collected, with 11 of these samples being from one herd of related horses, which provides a very narrow DNA base.

It is also well known that horse breeders surrounding the Ghost and Sundre Equine Zones, regularly dump their unsold breeding stock on Public Lands so they don’t have to feed them during winter. Domesticated horses are not equipped to handle the harsh winters, and most of these mares and foals die in their first winter. The Alberta Government is well aware that this happens, but almost nothing is done about it, other than to issue yearly culls.

The hope is, that the Alberta wild horses show genetics from the Canadian breed, along with some draft influence. The Canadian is Canada’s National Horse, and almost every draft breed is on the endangered list. If these breeds are present in the Alberta wild horse’s background, it will be a windfall showing “historic” genes.

Dr. Poissant’s study is expected to provide the first results, as this study has been on-going for the last 9 months, and results will be posted as soon as they are available. Be advised, that even if one or both studies show rare breeds, that does not automatically provide the wildies with protection. The Alberta Government classes the Alberta wild horses as feral, and feral or not, they have legislation in place to cull them.

Now, let’s just review what is going on with 2 groups that are supposed to be helping our Alberta wild horses.

The Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS), currently assists the Alberta Government to cull the wild horses by taking in culled foals. They also dart mares with PZP in 4 Trial areas in the Sundre Equine Zone. The PZP Program was to be a Trial Program ONLY, on a small number of mares, to see if it could be an effective way of controlling wild horse populations. It was also to be a Trial only, so that if any problems occurred, the mares could be watched, and if necessary, action taken to correct any problems. The results were to be assessed at the end of 5 years. This Trial Program was offered as an alternative to captures and culls, not in conjunction with captures and culls.

In WHOAS blog entitled, Early Summer Update, WHOAS stated:

“On June 16th the Stakeholder’s Committee held a meeting to discuss strategies for managing the wild horses. There are those on the committee and outside of it who still believe that the number of wild horses has to be dramatically decreased and even eradicated from the landscape. Since removal of the horses through culling is not off the table at the Stakeholder’s meeting, despite our insistence that it is not a good management tool, it is apparent to those in the scientific community and to WHOAS that our contraception program has to be expanded.”

The PZP Trial Program has now gone from a Trial to be assessed at the end of 5 years, to a full-blown darting program. This decision, and you and I were not part of that discussion, is based entirely on the pro-slaughter, pro-cull Stakeholders on the Feral Horse Advisory Committee, telling WHOAS there are still too many horses on Public Lands. There was no science presented, and none asked for. Also, who exactly in the science community is it apparent to, that the WHOAS contraception program has to be expanded? What science based studies were done and where are those studies posted, to prove that the science community agrees PZP darting of our Alberta wild horses, is the way to go? These statements are entirely unfounded, but that is the excuse used by WHOAS to lower the wild horse numbers, as it was instructed to do so, by the pro-slaughter, pro-cull Feral Horse Advisory Committee.

PZP comes with numerous problems. One of the drawbacks to PZP, is mares can cycle off the drug at anytime during the year. If these mares come into season in mid-winter, their foals will be born in -30 temperatures the following year, and will most likely die. Does WHOAS have a plan in place to watch all the mares it darts to ensure there are no winter births, and if there are winter births, does WHOAS have a plan in place to help the mare and foal? Has the science community taken these things into consideration? How is this preserving and protecting our wild horse population?

The truth about WHOAS and their agreement with the Alberta Government, that undeniably states the wild horse have absolutely no protection under this Agreement, can be found under the Miscellaneous Documents tab, and entitled “MOU – WHOAS/ESRD”.

See Item 4(a) specifically, which states:

I T E M 4 • RESPONSIBILITY FOR HORSE AND LAND MANAGEMENT

(a) WHOAS agrees that while the WHOAS Projects may prove to be effective methods of controlling the feral Horse population in Alberta, the Department, at its sole discretion, may pursue alternative Horse management strategies both within any areas that have been designated for the implementation of the WHOAS projects and throughout the Province.

As previously mentioned, the PZP Trial Program was originally offered as a small Trial only, and only offered in return for no captures and culls. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed between WHOAS and the Alberta Government, should never have been signed by WHOAS, as it does not reflect either of those things, and should be stopped immediately. There is no point in darting mares, as long as horse breeders surrounding the Equine Zones, continue to dump their unsold stock on Public Lands. There is no point in darting mares, as long as culls and captures continue to occur. The wild horses have absolutely no protection, in any of the Equine Zones, including the 4 small PZP Trial areas in the Sundre Zone. There is no point in risking mare and foal lives by darting with PZP, as the Alberta Government has made it clear in the MOU, they can issue culls everywhere in the 6 Equine Zones, including the 4 small PZP Trial areas, even if the PZP Program proves successful.

It seems to me that the MOU has been breached by moving the Trial to a full-blown darting program. The Trial cannot be effective as it needs a static number of horses to have a starting, middle and end point. That is already impossible as the wild horses are culled repeatedly and more domestic horses are added to those numbers each year by ranchers dumping their breeding stock on Public Lands. How does one decide how many mares to dart to maintain a static population, when all these things are going on?

WHOAS has also taken it upon itself to try and rename our Alberta Wildies. It did so again, based on what the Feral Horse Advisory Committee told it to do. The wild horses are, and continue to be, our Alberta Wild Horses. The General Public does not take its orders from the Feral Horse Advisory Committee, as WHOAS does.

Let’s look at another group that claims it is acting in the best interests of the wild horses.

Help Alberta Wildies (HAW) continues to operate a Facebook Page and continues to mislead everyone into thinking it is a “group” helping the wild horses. The truth is, HAW walked away from group advocacy in mid-June, 2015, although HAW has deliberately neglected to notify the public, and wrongly continues to represent it is involved in group advocacy. HAW also walked away from 20 initiatives that were on the table and ready to move forward to help the wild horses. It is also very interesting, that HAW had absolutely no problem accepting help from numerous people over the course of the last two years, all working independently, to further the cause of the wild horses, and had absolutely no problem taking credit for any accomplishments brought about by those numerous individuals. HAW was pulled from group advocacy, by Darrell Glover, the person who owns the copyright in the name Help Alberta Wildies, when it became apparent to him that most people working to further the wild horse cause, did not take orders from him, and that was intolerable. HAW was pulled from group advocacy, because Darrell Glover felt threatened of losing control. Where is the transparency that HAW touts as one of its cornerstones? Darrell Glover’s email follows:

From: Darrell Glover
Sent: June 17, 2015 5:38 PM
To: ;
Subject: Important Notice from HAW

Notice from Darrell Glover June 17, 2015

As a result of recent developments, and for reasons unspecified, effectively immediately, I will be withdrawing from further participation in the group advocacy.

It is with best wishes, that I hope an advocacy on behalf of the wild horses continues, but it would have to be done so, under a different name and group.

Help Alberta Wildies, is a registered trade name, and will remain as a Facebook page only.

As of today, I have purchased another aircraft, primarily for private flying, but will continue to offer aerial support to wild horse advocates, when possible and required.

My fight for public awareness regarding the plight of the wild horses has not been in vain, and it is important that they still have a voice. My future support will be in the background and on a smaller scale.

Everyones’ support has been greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Darrell Glover
HAW

It appears that HAW’s personal agenda is to walk away from the wild horses if no heritage breeds can be found in their background. How is this preserving and protecting our wild horse population?

“The Canadian Press
Posted:Jul 14, 2015 1:44 PM MT

‘The argument will be over’
But if it’s determined the origin of the horses is domestic?
“Well, the argument will be over then” and the group will have to accept it, Glover said.”

Please see the story, “Shootout at the Un-OK Corral”, under the Miscellaneous Documents Tab for further clarification.

Both WHOAS and HAW release information via a Community Facebook Page. These pages are heavily monitored, and the general public is spoonfed only that information the Administrators of those Pages, want released. Anyone disagreeing with the Page, or asking those tough questions, are immediately blocked. If you are not watching other groups and other pages, you have absolutely no idea what is really going on. Please use discretion when reading those pages, and know that you are not getting the full story or complete truth, from either one.

There are still many individuals and other groups all pulling together, who put the wild horses ahead of their egos and personal agendas. These individuals and groups continue to work to keep the wild horses free and protected on our Public Lands. A few of those groups are, Protect the Wild Horses – Birgit Klee, Alberta Wild Horse Heritage Society – Laura Watson and Bunnie Harasym, Wild Horses of Alberta Canada West of Sundre – Wayne Chicoine, and of course, long time wild horse advocate and one-man-band, Ken Mcleod.

The following was taken off the Alberta Provincial Government’s Feral Horse Advisory Committee’s Minutes.

FHAC Meeting Highlights – Dec 18, 2013

During the meeting, attendees discussed the Code of Conduct and reiterated expectations for each member organization. Several organizations made presentations to inform the committee about their work, goals and objective, including the Alberta Equestrian Federation, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, the Alberta Fish and Game Association, Livestock Identification Services, RCMP Livestock investigators, feral horse capture permit holders, Spray Lakes Sawmills, Sundre Forest Products, Wild Horses of Alberta Society, the University of Alberta and Rangeland Research Institute, the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association, and the Alberta Wilderness Association.

In addition, the department provided information about ways to improve feral horse management in Alberta and share information about feral horse management from other jurisdictions. Members were then split into groups and asked to discuss and provide feedback on a variety of management options including hunting the horses for consumption, feral horse capture, birth control for the horses and controlled shooting of the horses. Future meetings will explore some of these topics in more depth in order for the group to make practical recommendations to the Minister about strategies for managing the horse population.

The Feral Horse Advisory Committee should give serious consideration to the possibility that they are contemplating action to which s.444 of the Criminal Code of Canada may apply regarding “hunting the wild horses for consumption”, and “controlled shooting of the horses”.

Our work is far from done, as these things are still being considered by the Alberta Provincial Government as management options for our wildies.

W5 has been gathering information on our Alberta Wildies and its documentary will air in early November, 2015. Many individuals contributed their time and effort to provide W5 with information. It was strongly suggested that W5 contact Ken Mcleod, a man that has been campaigning for the wild horses for decades. Ken Mcleod knows all the players, and all the Equine Zones, and knows where to find the true wild horses. W5 informed us that it was too late to include any information from a new source. Please keep this in mind when viewing the W5 show, as many of us believe the wild horses do not need PZP or culls to control their numbers, and this perspective was entirely left out.

What is really needed is for the Alberta Government to stop pandering to commercial interests, and start taking a head count on the horse breeding operations and outfitter strings around the 6 Equine Zones. These are some of the people dumping their stock onto Public Lands and artificially increasing the wild horse numbers.

The wild horses need our voice to survive. Without it, they will vanish. They are not here to be used to get your picture in the newspapers, or to be used as a springboard into politics. The only agenda anyone should have, is to ensure the wild horses stay wild, free and protected on our Public Lands.

November 7, 2015