A Tale Of Two Wildies

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

sable-island-horses-tonemapped1These famous lines, which open “A Tale of Two Cities,” hint at the novel’s central tension between love and hatred. Indeed, the subject of opposite “pairs” is one of the major themes of Charles Dickens’ novel.

I’m reminded of both the similarities and differences between the wild horses of Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia and western Canada. On the one hand, the Sable Island horses are romanticized as being the descendants of shipwrecked horses, while the wild horses residing in Alberta and British Columbia however, not treated with such sentimentality. They are considered to be feral, inbred, and worthless, while spreading parasites and disease to other ungulates in the area. Both groups of present-day horses, however, are descendants of animals brought to these areas in the 1700s. When horses galloped across what would become the US border onto Alberta’s prairies, it was a bit of an overdue homecoming, having been perhaps 10,000 years since the province’s grasslands shuddered under equine hooves.

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One comment

  1. Glenda · ·

    Perhaps the differences between the Sable Island horses and our own prairie horse could be used to advantage. What legislation protects the Sable Island horse and is it applicable to our own cause? Can we seek their supporters to join with us? Maybe we need to “romanticize” these horse more with short You-tube videos promoting and asking for global support of the Alberta Wild Horses. Maybe crowdfunding is another avenue as to raising funds towards the support of these horses including the purchase of the “culls” from the Alberta Government, and than adoption if it is forseen that Alberta is not interested in the well-being or welfare of a wild horse herd…even as a tourist attraction which the Sable Island horses are world renown for. Maybe we need to promote these Alberta Horses as an Alberta Heritage and push for tourists to view them in natural state. Maybe, we just need to think outside the box, be more creative and use global social media to take the message that slaughered horses from US/Canada are not fit for human consumption such as: Don’t kill your love ones serving horsemeat containing banned substances. You know the effects of “mad cow” but are you now prepared to risk lives eating horse meat well documented to be unsafe? If we cannot stop the slaughter here, at least we can take this message to the buyers and hopefully that in itself will reduce the “demand” for horse meat in other countries.

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