Wild Horse Alberta Canada. Tooth and Claw Photography.

Vet seeks reproductive alternative to cull of Alberta wild horses

KATHRYN McMACKIN reporting for the Cochrane Eagle reports:

“As the debate continues surrounding the government-appointed wild horse cull in Alberta, one veterinarian has been researching a more sustainable solution to manage the free-ranging horse population: a safe method of contraception.

“Dr. Judith Samson-French is no stranger to utilizing contraception as a management tool — she’s used it for years to control the feral dog population on First Nations communities. Through the Dogs With No Names project, she’s found success by administering a contraceptive implant in female dogs that renders them infertile.

“A similar method can be used for wild horses, she said.

“Jay Kirkpatrick is the director of the Science and Conservation Centre at ZooMontana in Billings, Mont. The centre develops and distributes wildlife contraceptives — including porcine zona pellucida (PZP).

“Kirkpatrick said the PZP injection has been used, with much success, in horses for 27 years.

    ‘The beauty of this particular contraceptive is that it doesn’t disrupt cycling or the horses’ behaviours, which is very important for the herd,” said Kirkpatrick. “It’s the only known contraceptive that does not interfere with the endocrine system.’ ”

Where have we heard this before? Oh, yes. The US Department of Interior agency, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), also favors this method, so they say.

The very big problem is that the BLM has promised time and again over the years that this reproductive alternative – darting wild mares with the PZP contraceptive – would be done in place of roundups. That has not happened.

Instead the BLM reportedly has been using contraceptives in addition to the aggressive roundups of thousands of wild horses decimating and in some cases eliminating entire herds, leaving empty herd management areas on public lands for federally contracted ranchers to graze their cattle, mining companies to mine, pipeline companies to lay pipeline . . . and so on it goes.

So dear citizens of Canada, we recommend you take a very hard look at what is happening in the US before you jump on the contraceptive bandwagon for wild horse population control. You may find that this “reproductive alternative” will continue along with the culls, not in place of them.

By the way, if you look up the definition of cull, it says:

1. a selective slaughter of wild animals; 2. reduce the population of (a wild animal) by selective slaughter; and 3. send (an inferior or surplus animal on a farm) to be slaughtered.

At the end of McMackin’s report she states:

“Wild horse capture permits began being distributed by the province mid-January. Once captured, the horses become property of the licence holder, who may keep or sell the horses”.

McMackin does not mention the grisly prospect that can easily occur with the sale of these horses, namely slaughter.

McMackin ends with the quote:

“‘The government is running out of options for these horses,” said Samson-French.'”

Ah, yes.

Featured image from Tooth and Claw Photography. See more >>

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