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White Spirit

White Spirit

We just received notification this afternoon that the ESRD is going ahead with a capture season and will issue permits to the horse capture permit holders.  It is obvious that they made the decision before hand and this is a further move to cover their behinds.

This beautiful stallion and his herd are close to where the pen area we talked about is situated.  We think that it is almost criminal that because of few individuals greed and the ignorance of the ESRD on scientific facts about the wild horses, that this stallion and his herd may end up in a slaughter plant.

One of the arguments used to justify a cull is that the wild horses are repopulating at an alarming rate. However, foal mortality has been extremely high over the last two foaling seasons due to environmental conditions that affect them. As ourselves, and many others we speak to who are actually out in the wild horse country, comment on how few foals they see with the herds. The government uses that the horses reproduce at over 20% every year, yet a new study out of the USA on closely monitored herds show that under ideal conditions the reproduction rate is only around 10%.

Again as stated previously they also tried to use the argument that the wild horse herds are infected with Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) virus. Even according to their own admissions they have absolutely no proof of this. We have suggested that if they wanted to test for this, perhaps a more scientific way would be to tranquilize a sample population throughout the province to take a blood sample, as they do for other wildlife for other reasons.  Here is some information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Premises affected by equine infectious anemia (EIA) in Canada in 2013

Canada’s control program for equine infectious anemia (EIA) has made significant progress in reducing the prevalence of the disease in Canada. However, despite the best efforts of the horse industry and governments, EIA continues to be detected in Western Canada, particularly in the northern parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as in Yukon.

Horse owners and owners of properties where horses co-mingle should take measures to protect their animals – particularly if they are purchasing or receiving animals from the areas mentioned above.

The CFIA, in collaboration with provinces, territories and horse industry, conducts surveillance for EIA through the national EIA Control Program. Under the program, horse owners voluntarily have their animals tested for the disease.

EIA is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Regulations. This means that all suspected cases must be reported to the CFIA.

The following tables list equine premises confirmed to be affected by EIA in Canada in 2013.

The provincial maps show the number of EIA-positive equines identified in 2013. The positives may have been identified during a new investigation or an on-going investigation from the previous year.

Premises affected by equine infectious anemia (EIA) in Canada in 2013

Canada’s control program for equine infectious anemia (EIA) has made significant progress in reducing the prevalence of the disease in Canada. However, despite the best efforts of the horse industry and governments, EIA continues to be detected in Western Canada, particularly in the northern parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as in Yukon.

Horse owners and owners of properties where horses co-mingle should take measures to protect their animals – particularly if they are purchasing or receiving animals from the areas mentioned above.

The CFIA, in collaboration with provinces, territories and horse industry, conducts surveillance for EIA through the national EIA Control Program. Under the program, horse owners voluntarily have their animals tested for the disease.

EIA is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Regulations. This means that all suspected cases must be reported to the CFIA.

The following tables list equine premises confirmed to be affected by EIA in Canada in 2013.

The provincial maps show the number of EIA-positive equines identified in 2013. The positives may have been identified during a new investigation or an on-going investigation from the previous year.

Current as of: 2013-12-31

Alberta

Map EIA 2013

Map EIA 2013

 

More information came to light that in fact the ESRD did not plow out the trail into the area we suspected was a trap site. However, we did have the first information from a concerned citizen who works in that immediate area.

I know that the ESRD staff consider me a trouble-maker and that I misrepresent facts about the wild horses. You need to know that I search out data and contact knowledgable sources and I also spend considerable amount of my own time and resources out with the wild horses. My intentions have always been strictly honourable and only for the benefit of our wild horses. Many disagree with me, but that is their purview.

One only has to listen to the spokespeople for the ESRD who made a statement like “There are no natural predators to the wild horses.” (quoted last evening on Global TV News) to question who is misrepresenting the information. From information presented recently by the ESRD that there is documentation of a male cougar who in one season, took 14 (I’m not sure of the number) but at least several wild horses as food. I have personally seen the horse kill sites of the cougar and wolves. The ESRD absolutely continues to refuse to listen to scientific evidence. There is so much data out there, documented and proven. We cannot understand why?

Here is an accounting of the conversations a concerned individual had with two ESRD personnel who are in charge of issuing the horse capture licenses. Permission was granted from the writer to post this.

Hello Bob:

Results of Wild Horse Capture Investigation for January 21, 2014 …. It is in progress 

I flew out over the Williams valley this afternoon and noticed that no activity was present at the horse capture site. I also did a comprehensive aerial count and located 61 horses in total, including the north valley herds. Three yearlings were all I could find.

There were 25 horses, in two herds within 500 – 800 meters of the capture site.

As I returned back to the Ranch, I am happy to relay, that I had lengthy telephone conversations with both Rob Kesseler, and Don Livingston.

Mr. Kesseler, confirmed that today, they received the go ahead from the Minister’s Office, to grant permits for the 2014 horse capture. I was told that they were considering issuing 2 – 3 permits, but did not have any actual numbers decided on for how many horses would be selected for capture. He indicated that they have discussed capture for up to 196 animals.

I asked him what number was specifically going to be captured from the Williams, and he said that I would have to talk with Don Livingston, on that. As for permit holders, I asked him directly if Jason Bradley, was to be one of the holders. He said YES.

I suggested that with Mr. Bradley, being part of the steering committee for this horse capture, where he would have some obvious influence in the process, …. then being issued a permit to capture these animals, and profit from the capture, ….. sounded to me like a blatant conflict of interest. Mr. Kesseler, disagreed.

Then we discussed the topic of EIA, or swamp fever. Mr. Kesseler, confirmed that this topic was of concern due to the input of a Vet, to the steering committee. No names mentioned. He confirmed to me that this was one of two major reasons for this year’s horse capture. The other reason being over population. So once again, I said we are very concerned about this potential development as it would present very serious consequences if any of the wild herd tested positive. I also insisted that if they were concerned about this potential for infection, that Mr. Bradley’s, entire herd must be immediately quarantined for testing due to the proximity of the wild herd. So Mr. Kesseler, then said, “ well then that would apply to all of the horses in the west country including riders in the area”. I said, “ That is exactly my point !!”  It would require mass eradication of herds if testing proved positive.  Somehow after that the topic seemed to become less important.

So in review;  Mr. Kesseler, stated up to 196 horses, over the entire wild horse regions, and 2-3 permits issued.

Now my telephone conversation with Mr. Livingston, at Rocky Mountain House. About an hour on the phone. 

Mr. Livingston, stated that the numbers of horses he was working with was derived from the count made in March 2013. Almost a year ago.

He also stated at the beginning, that 2-3 permits would be issued. So, I asked for what areas throughout Alberta, would they be issued? He said at this time the only area that permits would be issued is for the Sundre region.

So then I specifically asked about the Williams. I asked how many permits for that area? He said one. I asked if it was to Jason Bradley? He said YES.

Then I wanted to know what numbers of horses were to be captured and on what count for that valley. Mr. Livingston stated again, that it was the 2013 count of 169 horses in the Williams Creek valley. Then he was unsure at first whether it would be 20 – 25 or 30% of the count that would be permitted. By the end of our conversation, it became 25% or otherwise 42 horses.

I explained that I had current counts of our own and even today, I could only find 61 horses in the entire valley, including only 3 yearlings. Add the ones I missed, it still would not exceed 100. The proposed capture would severely impact the valley after such a hard winter has already culled a great number of them. 

He was not prepared to listen to my numbers at all. His mind was made up that he had accurate counts.

I asked him when the capture would commence, and he said likely by this coming weekend.

I also asked what his opinion would be on capturing the horses and simply inoculating the mares for non-cycling to implement population control. He said it has no proven record and the Vets in the past have indicated that it would be too dangerous for them and would likely just beat up the horses to accomplish it. I suggested it would be way better than capture and killing them. I explained that we know a Vet that provide his own time to do the inoculations. 

So now we brought up the EIA. Oh yes, this was important that we test a number of animals because they have been told that there is a possibility of infection in the herds. Again, I said, well then we need to quarantine Bradley’s herd because I just flew over 8 horses with 500 meters of his ranch. They likely have made contact there.

Ok, now I asked; “Where will these captured horses go after the pen”?  Don, explained that they were then the property of Mr. Bradley, and they would go to a buyer or a holder. I said “really”? you would put these animals amongst other horses, before being tested? And then check for swamp fever?  Ridiculous !!  He then said, we will test if we can.

Well folks, that’s a far cry from where this conversation regarding swamp fever started. And as for getting beat up in the pens to test, I asked why would they not just shoot a dart into the horses for sedation, and get their evidence? 

In my opinion, we were not given sufficient reasons nor accountability for ESRD, to proceed with this capture, especially when they won’t listen to the numbers we are reporting to them. We know how to find and count horses too. In another month and a half, we will loose another percentage of the animals that are now in poor condition. Why is that not being considered?

I requested to both gentlemen today, that we should postpone this imminent capture until we can “all” fly the valley and conduct another count, at my expense, …. and then re-evaluate the percentage to be taken. And frankly, how are we to believe that the Sundre zone, and specifically the Williams, is the only over populated area with wild horses.

I informed both gentlemen that we would be present at the capture site, taking video, and that the media may also be present. He cautioned me that the RCMP would also be present and that in the past, people have done things that can get them into trouble.

One of my major objections to this particular capture is the apparent conflict of interest on behalf of Mr. Bradley, also being a member the “steering committee” and holder of that grazing lease. Mr. Livingston, told me that the forage is consideration is 50% cattle and 50% for wildlife. No percentage for horses. So I said this falls back to a “cattle” issue, and he said yes, it does. 

When I mentioned that Mr. Bradley, should not be allowed to profit from this, Mr. Livingston, replied, neither should Bob Henderson, with WHOAS. Really ??

Furthermore, I am in total disagreement as to the numbers being used from a count done nearly a year ago. Mr. Livingston, mentioned that due to the high cost of fuel and flight time, that it was preventing additional flying counts.

_________

You need to know that we support anyone’s efforts to continue to try to protect and save our Alberta wild horses. You also need too know that any wild horses that are captured whether they are foals, or pregnant mares near term, who are under unbelievable stress right now, all end up being dealt with in the same manner. It used to be that it would be 3 studs to one mare but now it is deemed that this is too hard for the horse trappers to manage. So anything is fair game.

We have had interest from all over Canada and beyond on this issue. Participate as you are able.

I am discouraged, but will not give up no matter what they say about me or dislike me. I do what I do because of my passion and love for the wild horses or, in fact, any animal, domestic or wild.

Bob

 

 

 

 

14 Responses to “Too Late”

Great post, Bob. Extremely frustrating situation. If you need a body to travel to and photograph action at the capture site, just let me know. Meanwhile I know you will be doing everything possible from your end.

Bob,

Is there any way we can get a rally of protesters to the capture site(s) along with media to really expose the lies of the government? Or is the capture site too difficult to get to?
My friends and I who photograph the wild horses (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alberta-Wildies/171722399694014 ) are spreading the news about this. As much as WHOAS is trying to expose this tragedy it’s not enough because it happens every few years it seems. We need to do something bigger… but legal.
Have you been in contact with the media regarding the discrepancies?
Shirley

This is extremely frustrating to hear. I have personally seen the wild horses in the Sundre and Rocky Mountain House areas. At the time when I saw them a few years ago, they were small herds. If the winter we have this year continues over the next few years and have the capture seasons, it is likely we will have little to no wild horses left in Alberta. That would be a shame to see the wild horses be eradicated for Alberta like they did with the wolfs.

I have sent an email to CTV news asking them to also do a news story on the inconsistencies the ESRD have presented us and the injustice of the cull.

I think there may be some students getting in touch with this situation. I told them that I used my right to Freedom of Speech last night signing and sharing information about the Alberta Wild Horses. They were not very happy with what is happening. They wanted me to share your site on our educational blog but that I wanted them to make their own choices. I told them to google and search you. I think this is an important lesson for them. It gives them am opportunity to get involved and voice their own opinion.

Yes, Shirley & Bob, there are more ways to get social media involved. I have tweeted with links, and sent emails/tweets to Redford &Campbell. A Twitter account would help get it “out there” and circulating…

I too, am willing to protest the cull, I mean “selection”, document in any way that I can, in order to bring this to the public’s attention more than it is.

Feel free to contact me back, as I can help with a reputable petition for a world-wide response to this unnecessary cruelty.

I was very upset to read in the news today about the wild horse capture and have done some reading tonight, including the information on your site and for the life of me cannot understand why this is being allowed to go ahead with such little justification and with such little evidence or accurate information. I too am sending an email to ESRD and our local media. If there is a planned gathering at the capture site please let me know and i will be there and will try to gather others to participate. Thank you for speaking up for the horses.

Is there an official protest site or petition ? I would gladly sign again. I am also writting The Redford Govt., my local rep. and the ESRD regarding the blatently fraudulent way this “support for a couple of cattlemen” is being handled.

So sad, so frustrating!

Driving home last night I heard the rep from ESRD being interviewed by Angela Kokot and my blood was boiling!!! She said that the horses were being taken for use as riding horses or work horses and “sold for other purposes” but that none were killed “during the capture process”. That certainly does not address the fact that some or even many of the captured horses are sent to slaughter. I am going to email Ms. Kokot and ask her to present the other side of the story!

I was also annoyed at the ESRD rep’s insistence that these horses have no “natural predators”. That to me is really a twisting of words, because if they consider the horses as an introduced species then she’s right, they have no “natural predators” because they are not wild animals. That doesn’t mean that cougars, bears or wolves don’t prey on them. I am sure that ranchers who have grazing leases in the area lose many head of cattle every year to predators, but since they are domestic livestock they don’t have any “natural predators” either.

Keep up the good work Bob, maybe one day the powers that be will listen!

So I’m watching a documentary about the mustang makeover competition in the states, which lead me to wondering if there was something similar in Canada (which there isn’t) and that lead me to this discussion. Has anyone thought of bringing public attention to the Canadian wild horse through a competition using the horses that are required for culling? By selling these horses at public auction after the competition, it eliminates the meat buyers. And from what I understand, mustangs make amazing riding horses. Although it might not be a solution to the problem, I think it could bring positive attention to WHOAS mission.

Hi. Please let me know if there will be a planned gathering at the capture site and I will try my damnedest to be there – RCMP or not!

Paul

I will also be there at a planned gathering!
Is there a was we could hang around the capature site and scare the horses away, or drop food for them somewhere else?
Mike

Bob I think your conversation with both gentlemen should be sent to the media. Total disregard for current numbers. You can’t make a statement regarding health of these herds without proof. Blood testing and quarantine should be done since swamp fever is suspected although I highly doubt that is the case. Their excuse seem to change on a dime just to get this done. Certainly there is a conflict allowing this gentlemen Bradley to be on the steering committee and also have a permit. He of course I assume is a rancher with cattle ??
Maybe ” The Cloud Foundation ” can give us some advice given their constant fight for their wild mustangs.

I support this protest and have from the beginning. After viewing and reading through the many articles and comments, it seems to be ridiculously incredulous and non-forward-thinking for those who support this absolutely necessary protest to still ask “WHY” there is total disregard, not to mention, extreme disrespect of our questions and queries to the Alberta Government. Is this not the same ‘pattern’ used by Provincial and/or Federal Government in “managing sticky/public business” situations? The typical under-handed deviousness, plus deliberate, intentional lack of information and co-operation from the Alberta Gov’t. boils down to: ‘for their and their cohorts convenience ONLY’ (rapid access to financially profitable resources….gas/oil exploration). They will blast the area wide-open just as done elsewhere and no amount of re-clamation will return any of it to what it has been or what it is at present. Fact.

As for cattle…cloven-hoofed, less selective grazers than equines…are different but can co-exist!

In addition, PLEASE consider the following:

We, as residents of this province, deserve to be informed as to the ‘direction’ of each captured horse. It appears plain and simple human greed will determine the outcome…a path most of us can well imagine. Although many well-meaning and kind-hearted individuals would wish to care for or perhaps own the animal(s) in question, even there, I fear for the future of these unique horses. One only need observe the ‘living Hell’ too many ‘born and raised’ domestic horses endure….through lack of skills and understanding, knowledge, and apathetic ignorance of ‘horse owners’. Horses do not think like humans do. Nor do they learn on our terms. It is rare that human contact is not the reason for “that stupid horse” or those dubbed as having ‘attitude’. Therefore, it is up to each and every individual person to ‘honestly consider the horse for its specific psychological make-up…inherent needs, behaviour and sensitivities. They are as individual as each one of us. We place them within “unnatural” boundaries. We owe them the graciousness of understanding the way in which they see and react in their natural surroundings AND the artificial world to which we subject them. A horse’s purchase price is the smallest expense of horseownership. It is the WELFARE and RESPONSIBILITY that costs! CARE, RESPECT…AND THINK (MORE) BEFORE ACTING…
There has to be a solution to a secure future for Alberta’s Wild Horses.

Something to say?