B.C. horses rescued before being auctioned off and processed into food

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A group of Interior B.C. residents opposed to the impending death of horses that would be used for food has convinced the government to transfer the animals to them.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A group of Interior B.C. residents opposed to the impending death of horses that would be used for food has convinced the government to transfer the animals to them.

But one skittish wild stud ushered out of the B.C. Livestock Producers Co-op yard this week needed to be convinced through expert handling that a trailer was a preferred destination to the corral it shared with a smaller mare.

It was a long way from the wild rangelands the pair traversed west of Deadman Valley just a few weeks ago.

The bay stud and mare were slated to be auctioned off on Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, more than a dozen other wild horses rounded up in January were sold off at an average of $200 for processing into food products.

The province ordered the herd — believed to be mostly abandoned animals — thinned out because it was damaging rangeland.

The stud was moved to Causton in the Okanagan by Theresa Nolet, one of a handful of people who worked to stop the auction of wild horses captured by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

“This is the best day of your life,” Nolet whispered to the horse before it was placed in the back of a trailer owned by Critteraid, a Summerland, B.C.-based society devoted to animal welfare.

The mare is being held back.

Glen Allan, with the ministry’s compliance and enforcement division, said someone called to say the horse belongs to a friend.

The ministry will hold the horse until the claim can be verified. If not, it will go to Critteraid.

“This bay stud is a good-looking animal,” Allan told Nolet as they watched the big horse being herded into the trailer.

Nolet works with Critteraid through a joint effort called Project Equus, which was created two years ago when she cared for feral horses starving in the hills behind her home in rural Penticton.

She drove the bay stud to the home of a trainer who intends to halter train the animal so it can be checked by a veterinarian and then gelded.

It will be eventually put up for adoption, and Nolet said she’s confident it will one day make a fine trail companion.

“A lot of people like a more natural horse (who is) used to being out on the range. They don’t spook when they see a snake or coyote.”

Allan also told Nolet the ministry has rounded up four more horses, three adults and a colt now being held in Cache Creek.

Under provincial law it must hold them for at least 10 days to give owners a chance to claim them.

If no one comes forward, and pays the cost of capture and upkeep, those horses will also be given to Critteraid. (Kamloops Daily News)