Horse News

Alberta’s Wild Horses Suffer Same Abuse as U.S. Counterparts

By Jordana Divon | Daily Brew

Most Captured Wild Horses Sold Off to Slaughter

Alberta's Wild Horses ~ courtesy of the Calgary Herald

With the highest cowboy boot per capita ratio in the country, Alberta would seem the most natural place in Canada for wild horses to roam.

And it is. The Wild Horse of Alberta Society estimates that hundreds of the magnificent creatures live freely and openly in the province’s forests, with the government allowing for a certain number of horses to be humanely captured each year.

But, as the Calgary Herald reports, the number of captures recently hit a record high and the increase has the Society concerned that the wild horse population will disappear if it continues at this rate.

Between December 2011 and February 2012, 216 horses were taken from the wild out of an allotted 237 permits issued per season. In comparison, an average of 30 horses were captured per year over the last half decade.

Statistics on the number of horses that live in the wild vary. While Sustainable Resource Development spokesperson Dave Ealey said the official tally stood at 778 horses — down from 1,000 before this year’s roundup — Bob Henderson, president of the Wild Horse of Alberta Society claimed the number is closer to somewhere between 500 and 550.

What’s most troublesome to Henderson, however, is that he claims 90 per cent of those horses are sent straight to the slaughterhouse for their meat.

“These horses are part of our natural heritage,” Henderson told the Herald.

Henderson told the paper he has no problem with people taking the horses for adoption purposes, but he said the province doesn’t follow up with the animals once they’ve been taken, meaning people can ultimately do anything they want with them.

“We really don’t follow it. It’s basically their property once they’ve captured the horses,” Ealey admitted to the paper.

“They are entitled to the horses for their particular purposes because, basically, they’re private property then. A lot of the horses in the past, we know have gone to rodeo animals, stock animals, some of them have gone to the food industry, along with domestic.”

Part of the justification for this practice, said Ealey, is that the horses are considered “feral,” having escaped or being released by their owners, while others are the offspring of those horses.

He also said the horses pose a risk to humans when they cross roadways and that they eat the grass meant for other wildlife species.

Henderson firmly disagrees with both arguments, writing in an open letter on the Society’s website that several leading archaeologists, biologists and geologists believe the horses to be indigenous to North America, and secondly, that there is plenty of grass to go around for everyone.

“They used horses to open this whole country. They should mean more to us than someone’s opinion that they’re feral and stray and they don’t belong out there,” he added.

If anything, said Henderson, Alberta has a responsibility to protect its heritage. He noted that Mounties observed thousands of horses in the wild when they first came west and he hopes the government does something before the entire population becomes a historical footnote.

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20 replies »

  1. Wow and they film the Canadian tv show Heartland in Alberta. Heartland is Canada’s no.1 Family tv show. It’s based on the kid’s books but has changed over time. I just found out earlier today that there will be another season!


  2. Looks like they have the same mind-set and following the same actions, taken by our BLM. I admire Henderson for pointing out that Alberta has a responsibility to protect its’ heritage and that they do something before the entire population becomes a historical footnote. We are also at the same crossroads.


  3. It seems like the only people who are anti-wild horses and burros are the government officials and the cattlemen. So when a clear majority of “the common folk” wish the abuses to stop why is it the politicians all side with the cattlemen? It couldn’t be corruption could it?

    It would seem the lawmakers. the Secretary of the Interior, the employees of the BLM, even the President of the United States don’t give a damn what we, the owners of those horses and burros, think and want for our animals.

    How much money is being passed under the table to keep “We The People” from having things our way? Unfortunately “we” are not enough. There is a growing concern over the treatment of these animals but our numbers are not growing fast enough. By the time we can become a block of voters large enough to be reckoned with and feared by Washington many more animals will have suffered and died at the hands of the BLM.

    We need to gather the entire group of organizations again and together flood the emails and phone lines of the White House, congressmen/women, senators etc. with our demands of exactly how we want these animals treated. I propose this happen at least once a month until our wishes are acknowledged and acted upon..

    Someone smarter than I needs to write the ‘American Wild Horse and Burro’ Bill of Rights. A document we could present to the folks in Washington and ask them to sign it so the list of names can be published and all of America can see who is in the cattlemen’s pocket and who really cares to preserve these magnificent creations of God for ever and ever.

    Madeline Pickens spoke volumes when she said ” How do you get rid of something God gave life too?”


    • Steve, how right you are. You covered everything and I believe we should get to the bottom of all those whose pockets are being lined with the “cattlemen’s bonuses”. It’s about time we take back our government from these idiots and their disasterous ways. The cattlemen may have money but they don’t have brains nor are they liked by many, including me. We should start a “stop eating meat” campaign until the cattlemen get their damn cattle from our wild horse ranges. And, I firmly believe we should take back our rights as American citizens for what eighty percent of our citizens believe — no more roundups and no more horse slaughter. That’s the bottom line.


  4. “We really don’t follow it. It’s basically their property once they’ve captured the horses,” Ealey admitted to the paper.

    “They are entitled to the horses for their particular purposes because, basically, they’re private property then. A lot of the horses in the past, we know have gone to rodeo animals, stock animals, some of them have gone to the food industry, along with domestic.”

    And like the Bureau of Land Management, obsolve themselves of any additional responsibility for the welfare of these animals. Both the BLM and SRD conduct their policies and expect citizens to view these policies as benevolent. And all I see is evil. How can any of these fools look themselves in the face with the full knowledge they are sending the majority of animals captured into a living Hell?

    Dave Ealey – you are a gutless wonder, much like your many counterparts down here. And no one with a brain is impressed.


  5. Canadians and Americans should unite and form a coalition. We all sign each other’s petitions and we’re all on the North American continent. I could see a very strong force come together in this. Different governments with the same agenda, so our fight is basically against the same foe or foes.


    • Yes Louie, we could be a great force on the North American continent if we all banned together-but let us not forget our Austrailian friends who are fighting this same thing in their country with their wild horses/brumbys – we all need to stand together world wide to fight this apparent evil in our governments.


    • I’m with you Louie. The coalition sounds like a GREAT IDEA. Let’s roll and accomplish this for all the Canadian and American horses needing to be saved from these evil b___tchs.


  6. if one stops to think about the ‘feral’ horse theory, one would quickly figger out that ALL horses are wild. weather a colt is from the wild or from your own farm, the colt still needs to be taught to be domestic. you know darn well, if you ignore your horses for awhile they revert to being wild. so, what i’m saying is ALL horses are born wild.


  7. if this generation would only remember how our own families depended on horses in everyday survival, most of the cruelty against horses would cease. they still save lives today. think of that gal in the news that was kidnapped and held captive for 18yrs. now she’s in therapy with horses. can’t remember her name at the moment. then of course the paint horse that delivered medecine across a flooded road recently. rural mt. search and rescue teams on horseback. i imagine there’s many more. has everyone noticed the landcape without the horses living on it resembles the moon? desolate hell.


  8. Christine, you are so right..The flight instinct is so ingrained that even our domesticated equines suffer a brain cramp every now and then, reverting back like we are a fly on a wall. Its apparent that neither the US or Canadian government want to protect the horses. Of course Canada has several of the largest slaughter plants there. They also have the largest hormone collecting facilities as well. So what do they care about the horses…they are a means to an end.$$$$$$
    I have read several articles regarding the rescuing and rehoming of horses. I feel if a horse(s) is adopted from the BLM, the life of the horse or burros should be traced each year with four or five
    central data bases existing. None of them should ever enter the slaughter pipeline.


  9. This is a deplorable situation in Alberta. The wild horse enemies are getting their corrupt way and this must be opposed vigorously and the wild horses restored. I give a lot of information on this situation with the wild horses in Canada in my book The Wild Horse Conspiracy, available on, citing Canadian zoologists who expose the unfairness. Happy Earth Day!


  10. thank you RT, for sharing, we are thrilled with the support !
    I hope you don’t mind if I add a little something. Action NOW
    For anyone wanting to comment to get questions aired, and raise awareness for the importance of this topic, please follow this link to for a chance to speak up.!/sunnewsnetwork
    Keep the comments nice, and mind your manners.
    thanks, if you shared and/or commented ☺


  11. A “World-Wide Force of the Horse” coalition sounds wonderful! I know we have horse/equine advocates all over the world, but we really need to get together to BE that powerful force! 🙂 How can mankind seek out & destroy such beauty, one of our Creator’s greatest & most special gifts to us. For a flight-prone, prey animal to accept & trust the most powerful, &, at times, the most heartless, of all predators, man, speaks volumes on behalf of the horse.


    • Valerie: Beautifully said. These are animals that accept and trust us and we (some of us) are nothing but cold blooded killers. The human race is dispictable.


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