Training starts for wild horse contraception

Members of the Wild Horses of Alberta Society will be trained on horse contraception in July in the hope that the province will approve the method to control the wild horse population by this fall.

Members of the Wild Horses of Alberta Society will be trained on horse contraception in July in the hope that the province will approve the method to control the wild horse population by this fall.

The Feral Horse Advisory Committee, which is composed of trappers and ranchers, as well as horse, animal welfare, veterinarian and conservation organizations, has yet to approve the program.

Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS) sits on the committee and WHOAS president Bob Henderson said he is optimistic a decision will be made next month.

“Hopefully we can show them our way of doing things is a much more humane way and positive way, and a much more effective way of controlling population for the benefit of all the stakeholders and other users of the range, including the other wildlife,” Henderson said.

Alberta currently captures wild horses to reduce numbers. They are either slaughtered or taken in by horse owners and ranchers for personal, work or recreational use.

WHOAS members are attending a three-day training session in Montana in mid-July that would qualify them to use the contraception vaccine.

They propose that 18 mature mares would be selected for injection through darts that will prevent them from getting pregnant for three years.

“The prime time to be darting them would be September and October,” Henderson said.

He said contraception is used in the U.S. to control its wild horses as well as in Germany. Zoos also use it to regulate breeding in ungulate populations.

If necessary, contraception could be augmented with the capture of some younger horses to be adopted out, he said.

“If you get rid of the old stallion and lead mare, then they’ll breed like crazy. By taking the youngsters, you leave the horse herd structure in place and that helps population control.”

WHOAS also argues there shouldn’t be a general capture this year.

“The winter was really, really hard on the horses. When they counted the horses in March, they counted 880.”

There’s few yearlings in the West Country wild horse population. Many mares aborted, with some mares lost due to complications when they tried to give birth, he said.

“It’s a sad time, but it’s part of nature.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Lacombe council seeking answers about policing cost overruns

Council surprised to find out about $240,000 policing budget shortfall

Red Deer fundraiser to help educate Somali orphans on May 11

The Mother’s Day event is for all ages

Lacombe to join municipal coalition spreading the word about importance of resource industry

Resources Communities of Canada Coalition to represent municipalities connected to resource industry

These blues will get you dancing: The Overdue Blues Band performs in Red Deer Saturday

Calgary’s Brother Ray Lemelin Band is also on Elks Lodge bill

Gardening: Time and effort key to buying garden plants

Greenhouses, garden centers and box stores are set to start selling bedding… Continue reading

Montreal native Nicholas Latifi off to solid start on Formula 2 race circuit

Practice makes perfect for Canadian Nicholas Latifi. The 23-year-old Montreal auto racer… Continue reading

Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup

TORONTO — Many NHL players were either not yet born or too… Continue reading

Swole, buzzy, among new words in Merriam-Webster dictionary

BOSTON — Get swole, prepare a bug-out bag, grab a go-cup and… Continue reading

Garner graces cover of People’s annual ‘Beautiful Issue’

NEW YORK — Jennifer Garner graces the front of this year’s “Beautiful… Continue reading

Updated: Joshua Arthur Sanford has been found, says RCMP

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Most Read