By The EDMONTON JOURNAL
EDMONTON – Snares, weapons and vehicles can no longer be used to capture wild horses, according to a change in the provincial Stray Animals Act.
The government changed the legislation after hearing concerns that wild horses were being treated inhumanely, said Eilish Lemieux, spokeswoman with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
The amendments clear up any confusion about what methods are banned for the capture of wild horses, she added.
At least 21 wild horses have been shot in the past three years, said Bob Henderson, president of the Wild Horses of Alberta Society.
Henderson said his organization is not against the control of the wild horse population. “We know the numbers need to be managed.”
But right now, the province’s estimated 200 wild horses are spread over a large area and are unlikely to cause problems such as overgrazing, he said.
Henderson would like to see the horses taken out of the feral/stray category, which allows people to shoot them if they stray onto private land.
“We still strongly believe the horses need their own legislation,” he said.
But Lemieux said the department believes the horses are feral and not native to the area.
It’s believed some of them are descendants from horses used during the early 1900s for logging and mining. Some were turned loose, while others likely escaped, she said.
Henderson disagrees. He said wild horses were documented in 1855 in the Sundre area. And preliminary DNA data analyzed by the University of Texas shows the “horses are a unique breed within themselves.”
Source: © Edmonton Journal 2008, online at canada.com