i) Critteraid Farm Environmental Improvements
To give you some history, in 2007/2008, Critteraid volunteers developed an initiative called Project Equus addressing the wild horses of British Columbia. We submitted this Proposal to the Penticton Indian Band and to known owners/guardians of the free-roaming horses, as a vision of what can be achieved cooperatively by individuals, bands, non-profit groups/registered charities, service clubs, politicians, entrepreneurs, and more. With the objective of this project being to humanely and safely decrease and control the population of the free-roaming horses, responsible range management practices would follow. The document was intended to provide long-term solutions to managing the free-roaming horse problem. Areas of concern that are addressed in this document cover:
A. PUBLIC SAFETY
B. SOUND EQUINE HEALTH
C. GOOD RANGE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
D. COMPASSIONATE EQUINE TRAINING
E. SECURE FUTURE FOR HORSES
F. VIABLE TOURISM ENTREPRENEURSHIP
On Friday February 18, 2011 the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Natural Resource Operations announced that a mare and a stallion seized from rangeland near Deadman Lake will be turned over to the Summerland-based rescue organization Critteraid. Minister Thomson used his parliamentary privilege to do this and sent a further 4 horses to Critteraid and prevented another 6 horses from going to slaughter where the previous impounded horses all ended up.
Unfortunately, our dealings with the individual horse owners on the Penticton Indian Reserve had not developed as we had hoped and one owner alone had shipped over 50 horses for slaughter. It is considered a normal practice.
It is our intent to show the magnificence of these incredible animals as a viable tourism endeavour that would attract people from all over the world. The wild horses of British Columbia are truly a resource worthy of note.
We have met with one member of the Penticton Indian Band and arranged and paid for her training in Colorado for administering the PZP birth control vaccine. We have raised funds for the dart rifle and secured same.
Since that time, we have just learned of a Canadian vaccine that is more efficient, less handling of the horses thus less intrusive and as effective, if not more effective.
Three of the mares brought in to Critteraid were pregnant and they have all since foaled. We presently have 5 of the wild horses at Critteraid Farm, one continues training and three have been adopted. In order to continue to provide this care for additional horses at Critteraid Farm, we need to comply more sooner than later with the Environmental Farm Assessment protocols.
When our study was undertaken, we learned that we would have to remove two of the paddocks/pastures and we have made the decision to leave them empty rather than to destroy them. We will continue to do the basic maintenance that would be required in order to accommodate any animals during disasters or emergencies as Critteraid Farm is set up to be an animal intake facility during a declared local state of emergency. Therefore, two more pastures/paddocks with loafing sheds need to be built in order to accommodate the existing population.
ii) CDART PROJECT CROCTALK BUNNY SANCTUARY
In 2010, our emergency animal rescue division CDART (Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team) volunteers attended a crocodilian facility in East Kelowna where they were asked to take guinea pigs and rabbits that were provided as food for the crocodilians. After a lot of thought and planning, the volunteers agreed to be responsible for these animals and removed them from the facility. All were spayed and neutered and out of the 49 guinea pigs, we only have 17 remaining due to good adoptions. A decision was made to keep the large breed bunnies together as they were a bonded group and did not make good pets due to their size (spinal injuries are often caused from people mishandling them).
We were able to make a temporary structure to house the bunnies but this past winter we experienced severe flooding and foundation damage and we are seeking funds for a new efficient, secure and comfortable structure.
iii) SUMMERLAND CAT SANCTUARY / FERAL KITTEN PROGRAM
In 2011, we received funding for one stainless steel unit consisting of three cages. This has proved to be invaluable to us. We are seeking two additional units: one for the Summerland Cat Sanctuary and one for our Feral Kitten Program.