Horse community deserves more support

I hope Langley Township will be sympathetic to the equine community. Horses have a place here; to remove them would be to remove part of B.C.’s heritage.

Editor: Re: “Horse Federation requests will be pricey,” (The Times, Sept. 29).

In the upcoming election, both equine and non-equine supporters are voicing their opinions as to how the government should be orchestrated. I speak for the equine supporters.

With subdivisions and development in Langley, there has been more and more problems with animals in our area. Horses have been depositing ‘bundles of apples’ on  roads and trails. This creates odour problems, sanitary concerns and ruins the general image of Langley.

Cats, dogs and large animals have been running abundant and animal shelters have become overcrowded. Dangerous animals  have created fear.

All this led to the Animal Control bylaw in 2005. It provided what appears to be a safe, legal way to deal with enforcement of penalties, animal control shelter operation, licensed kennels, control of animals, licensing of dogs, dangerous dogs and aggressive dogs. In very few places are there mentions of horses. There are even fewer mentions of cats.

Cats are the silent menace to society. Just like horses, they usually have a sweet nature. They are normally owned by families who will have, on average, no more that three felines.

Unlike horses, there are many homeless cats. They are known to spread diseases, caught from the mice or creatures they catch. Most are not neutered. Animals, especially nocturnal animals, are vulnerable to cats that hunt.

For most cat owners, keeping, maintaining and loving their cat is not a problem. As with horse owners, most of them do not create problems. Yet this letter writer targeted horses, not cats.

The difference between the equine and feline community is simple. Their relative size plays a huge difference. Horses eat more, and therefor pass feces more consistently and in larger quantities.

They can also be taken out, but unlike taking a dog for a walk, humans have chosen to ride them. Cats and dogs can use much smaller areas to exercise in. One hectare of land can effectively exercise 20 dogs in a dog park. For the same number of horses, at least 30 acres are needed.

Licensing horses, as we do dogs, might control a population of horses. They are already highly-controlled.

The horse population in Langley is estimated at 3,858. The reason it is not larger is because the cost of a horse (the initial buying price) ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. Langley is the horse capital of B.C. and is proud of its numbers, as well as the more than $60 million in annual economic output.

When was the last time you saw a horse running around our busy roads?

The horse community is a very small one. I sold a horse five years ago and a friend, of a friend, of someone’s aunt now owns that horse. The horse community is very tight and many would argue small. No horse issue goes unseen.

Horses pass a total of 51 pounds of manure a day. Horses are normally fed grass or hay, and do not look in garbage cans or need to kill for their food. Horses do bite, but only if threatened. They would much prefer to escape than attack.

Horses can only have a maximum of two foals a year (and that is if there are twins).

How will candidates try to secure election and please both parties? That is why equine issues have been ignored or set aside for someone else to fix.

Don’t license horses. Tax money should be put into a horse trail network, which has been slowly diminishing, and would keep the manure off the sidewalks. Manure is the biggest issue, but Langley Horse Federation also called for signs, broader road shoulders, and more convenient riding facilities.

I hope Langley Township will be sympathetic to the equine community. Horses have a place here; to remove them would be to remove part of B.C.’s heritage. If there is a practical, safe and economically sound way to fix these issues, we should do so. Langley deserves it.

Amber Gambling,

Langley

 

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