Forestry companies are constantly complaining about the wild horses, claiming that they are damaging the environment. According to spokesman Tom Daniels, Sundre Forest Products plant about five million seedlings are planted in a year and an unknown number are damaged by grazing horses. He also claims that the horses are a potential traffic hazard, and problem for employees, as they have had staff threatened by horses while working in the field. What theses forestry companies need to remember is that the land does not belong to them, but to the Albertans. Many Albertans share a strong emotional connection to the wild horses because of their part in settling the West.
The wild horses in Alberta are descendants of the horses used to help work the fields and the mines back in the 1900's. They used to improve the quality of life and provide a means of transportation. Once they were no longer needed, the horses were set free to roam the lands. The number of wild horses has increased over the years, not only because of breeding, but because of escaped and illegally released horses.
There have been that many attempts made to capture the horses, that in order to ensure the humane treatment of the horses, the government created the Horse Capture Regulation. This regulation also allows the government to regulate the issuance of licences for horse capture, and also restricts the inhumane methods of capture. Over the past couple of winters, trappers have caught and sent more than 350 wild horses to slaughter. That is 31% of the total wild horse herd.
Many are crying out for the government to create an Alberta Heritage Species Act, which will change the status of the wild horses from feral, and have them protected through legislation. Both Saskatchewan and Newfoundland have brought in legislation to protect their wild horses, now Alberta needs to do the same.