Source:  Alberta’s Free Roaming Horses Society

Alberta’s Free Roaming Horses Society and have just begun legal action against the Alberta Provincial Government for, what appears to be, a violation of their Statutes and Regulations with regards to capturing and removing the wild horses from Public Lands.  They have been gathering documentation from Freedom of Information Requests for 4 years.  The Action was filed on August 31st, and they are waiting for a response.

The Originating Application and the Affidavit and Exhibits are HERE.   

Originating Application – Filed August 31, 2018

Affidavit of Alberta’s Free Roaming Horses Society – Filed August 31, 2018

The story below briefly summarizes what occurred over those 4 years:

Our Battle with he Alberta Provincial Government – Part 11

“The Past Was Erased, The Erasure Was Forgotten, The Lie Became the Truth.”  (George Orwell – 1984)

by Alberta’s Free Roaming Horses Society

I have a tale to tell of epic Orwellian proportions. For the last several years, I have been on a mission to preserve, protect, and maintain, the last of our Alberta wild horses living on Public Lands.  Along the way I’ve met, and had dealings with, many others who also claim to be on the same mission.  Sadly, as usually happens over time, many good, caring people became casualties, and walked away.  Most of the remaining few left, seem to have forgotten what they were initially fighting for, and appear to have changed their stance, and actually joined the opposing side.

The Alberta Government, Environment and Parks (AE&P), has, for the last few decades, allowed the systematic reduction in population of our Alberta wild horses, in favor of commercial entities.  To accomplish this population destruction, Capture Permits were issued to a select few people, who then set out capture pens, baited with hay and salt, and once captured; the wild horses were, in many cases, shipped to slaughter.  Thousands of our wild horses paid with their lives, so cattle ranchers could graze their cattle, forestry companies could clear cut timber, and hunters could shoot and trap other wildlife, etc.  Our wild horses, being in the way of this commercial activity, were simply removed.

AE&P have Statutes and Regulations in place, that require the Government to follow specific steps and meet specific requirements when issuing Capture Permits for the wild horses.  The Minister of AE&P must first form an Opinion that in order to preserve and protect the rangeland, it is necessary to remove the wild horses.  In coming to such an extraordinary Opinion, presumably the Minister relies on good, solid evidence that removing some wild horses from particular Public Lands is a necessary step in protecting certain rangeland, but we have never seen that evidence, let alone the Opinion.  After the Minister forms the Opinion, the duties of issuing Capture Permits for specifically designated lands, can then be delegated by the Minister, to others within the Government.

Trying to discover why killing all those wild horses was considered necessary, has been a very long, tedious, and frustrating process.  I started down that long, winding road in 2014, by initiating contact with AE&P.  I also met, and spoke with, other groups and individuals claiming to want to preserve and protect the wild horses.  These contacts were to see if others were sincere about protecting the wild horses, and to stop their unnecessary slaughter.  It wasn’t long before egos began to surface, and the downward spiral began.

I walked away from the egos, and focused on investigating the possibility that the Alberta Government, and specifically, AE&P, were deliberately using the wild horses as an innocent scapegoat for all the wrongs caused by commercial exploitation of our Public Lands. It appears to me, that AE&P, rather than preserving and protecting the Public Lands and its natural inhabitants, has given priority to maximizing the tax revenue that can be obtained from exploitative commercial interests that use our Public Lands.  Alberta has recently seen ample evidence, that those commercial entities cause irreparable damage. The wild horses, on the other hand, are clearly a beneficial contributor to the well-being of the grasslands. (1)

In 2016, one of us from Team Wildies, my nickname for the informal group, hired legal counsel to begin the process of uncovering the truth.  Specific documentation was targeted, but requests for general information were also made, just to see how those requests were handled.  Also, specific requests were sent to AE&P and the Justice Department.  The responses were very interesting.

The initial requests for information through the Freedom of Information process were returned by both Departments, claiming no documents were found.  Those requests asked for specific documentation dating back to 2008.  The Justice Department even went so far as to return the $25 fee, in an apparent attempt to avoid having to respond.  Of course, this attempt to avoid responding was rejected.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Photo Credit: Catherine Stehr Mann
September 7, 2018

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