Rancher defends Alberta's wild horse cull

Published Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rancher defends Alberta's wild horse cull

Management plan considers how the land is used by wildlife, livestock and local residents, says rancher

CBC News Posted: Feb 20, 2014 8:25 PM MT Last Updated: Feb 20, 2014 8:25 PM MT

One of the ranchers given permits to cull wild horses says many people don't really understand what's being done — or why.

The cull — the first of its kind in three years — is facing a lot of opposition.

Bryn Thiessen runs a ranch near Sundre and has a permit to catch 28 horses.

He knows the cull is not popular but believes it is part of a larger management plan that has to consider how the land is used by wildlife, livestock and local residents.

  • Listen to his full interview on the Calgary Eyeopener below:

Thiessen says if he does manage to capture any, some could be turned loose, others could be adopted and some could wind up at a meat processing plant. 

He also says he won't make any money from the licence and will be lucky to break even.

The province estimates there are 980 wild horses near Sundre based on an aerial survey done before the June floods and this year's harsh winter. That number is up from 853 the year before.

Provincial biologists have said in the past they don't consider the feral animals true wildlife because they are descendants of domestic horses used in logging and mining operations in the early 1900s.

 The provincial government announced in January it was giving out licences to capture 200 of the feral animals.

       The provincial government announced in January it was giving out licences to capture 200 of the feral animals. (Wild Horses of Alberta Society)