Researcher calls for more wild horse protections after 17 shot dead in rural B.C.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A biologist and wild horse researcher is calling for stronger federal and provincial protections for the animals after 17 carcasses were found in rural British Columbia.

Wayne McCrory, who has been studying horses in the province for about two decades, says he was shocked to learn the animals had been shot to death.

He says wild horses are an important part of Canadian heritage, First Nation culture and the ecosystem, and need legislation to protect them.

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine, who is the sole such livestock investigator in the province, says he believes the bodies of the horses had likely been there for about two weeks, based on how heavily scavenged the bodies were by the time officers arrived.

The animals were found about 65 kilometres west of Kamloops on Friday, and Lepine says they were located various distances apart in two groups, one with six and the other with 11.

Lepine says the motive has not yet been confirmed, but called the act "senseless."

He says he is not yet sure what charges the individual would face if caught, but animal cruelty would likely be the main allegation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2023.

The Canadian Press