Skip to content

Letter: Horse lover says feral horses have no positive environmental effect

"We are not saving some rare Spanish bloodline as some would like to have us believe," says reader

Re: Letter: 'Wild' foal survival rate in Sundre area disputed

Good to see I'm not the only one taking an informed look at the feral horse story. 

The question that is never answered is, what positive environmental effect do feral horses actually provide? Absolutely none.

And guess what horses produce? Methane as well as cattle, sheep and other ungulates and how are they going to be taxed for that environmental pollution? 

We are not saving some rare Spanish bloodline as some would like to have us believe. 

All the wild horses in Canada are horses turned loose by owners that no longer had a use for them either logging, packing or farming. It's really all about serving the egos of the feral horse lovers. 

Their money and efforts could easily be put to better use with a charity that actually betters the life of people. 

Better to have the grass the wildies eat available to real wildlife or food producing livestock.  

And I'm a horse lover too - been riding, training and using them for ranching and rodeos all my life. I give the ones under my care the very best of care and assure them a good quality of life safe from predators.

That can’t be done for feral horses. I’ve also saved several horses lives as a large animals veterinarian. 

I have friends who used to capture wildies during winter to sell, to supplement their income. One time, one captured a yearling filly, too thin to sell, likely wouldn't have survived the winter anyway, so  it ended up to be in her best interests to get caught. 

He kept her fed her well and grew her out. He  tried to train her to ride. She never quit bucking so he used her for a pack horse. 

She did well at that and spent the rest of her life as a useful well-cared for animal with a better life than if she had remained in the wilderness or end up on some Asian or Europeans dinner plate. Her name was Mamie. 

Now if culling is not going to happen, and I think it should based on the percentage of horse number increases or it should be coupled with a good adoption program.

Also contraception should be enacted. Otherwise the numbers for the Sundre area will be well over the max by springtime. And continue to climb yearly. 

I had offered to help with the contraception, having had lots of experience with remote delivery of medications. But I was never asked to partake.

There is another approach to consider. The first contraception in large animals was in camels practised by the Arabs to stop their female mounts from lying down at the presence of ale camels. 

It was a good way to immobilize the approaching army all mounted on female camels - to release a bull camel. They prevented this by putting washed stones into the camel’s uterus after calving. This was the very first use of IUDs ever. 

Maybe there’s something to be learned from this that could be applied to the feral horses. It could be done with remotely delivered sedation shortly after foaling. 

Or there maybe a better way to deal with the excess of feral horses if the people concerned would do some open-minded thinking outside the box.

Darrel Florence,


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks