Wild-horse cull unjustified, aboriginal leader says (CAN)

Wild horses are being murdered in Canada on behalf of cows, who of course have no say, and would vote against it if they could, because there really is no connection. It’s about greed and land and whatever. There are some humans, at least, who are not fooled, and we say hooray for them.

LARRY PYNN reports for the Vancouver Sun:

Tsilhqot’in leader says he doesn’t share province’s belief that the animals affect cattle grazing

AN ABORIGINAL LEADER says his people won’t enter into agreements with the B.C. government for a continued cull of wild horses in the Chilcotin because the controversial program is not currently justified.

Joe Alphonse, director of government services with the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG), said in an interview that based on current conditions, he did not share the province’s belief that wild horses are having an undue impact on cattle grazing in the region.

“We’re not about to entertain any contracts for anything to do with wild horses this year,” Alphonse said, arguing the greater issue is wolves killing young horses and game animals in the Chilcotin.

There was a public outcry after The Vancouver Sun revealed in December that the Ministry of Forests and Range provided funding for Stone reserve members to receive $200 apiece to round up 25 wild horses last winter.

Up to half of those horses were taken to auction in Williams Lake for slaughter, and the rest were sold as brood mares or saddle horses. Freedom-of-information documents obtained by The Sun show that the TNG received $60,000 as part of the sanctioned cull. Alphonse said the money went to management of the program, construction of corrals, and grading to provide access to the areas where the horses could be caught.

He noted the ministry was unhappy with the 25 caught and had hoped for closer to 60 horses. “I don’t think they were overly happy. If there is not an abundance, [our] members won’t take more than what they feel is needed.”

At the same time, in a separate program not condoned by the TNG, the Ministry of Environment paid members of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation of the Nemaiah Valley $500 apiece to shoot four wild horses to provide bait for the live capture of wolves, part of a program to recover threatened caribou herds in the Quesnel area. The Environment Ministry dealt directly with Roger William, then-chief of the Xeni Gwet’in, on the shooting of wild horses. William was subsequently defeated and now works under Alphonse as TNG director of land and stewardship.

Alphonse said he believes William lost the band election in part because of his support for the killing of wild horses. “There was a penalty. Our people think very highly of our horses out there. You enter into an agreement to do that without talking to your people, that’s reason enough to not get voted back in.” Vancouver Sun >>

Thank you to Shelley Grainger for making sure we saw this article.

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