November 03, 2003, VANCOUVER – The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is taking action to save the last population of wild horses in British Columbia, one of only three remaining wild horse herds left in Canada. These horses are currently in danger of losing their vital feeding grounds as peat fires continue to burn the meadows in the Chilcotin Valley on which the horses rely for food.


“The government’s position to allow the fires to burn out of control is unnecessary and cruel, “ says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “This decision puts these wild horses and other animals at risk.” Currently the population of wild horses is no more than 200 individuals, and are believed, and genetic tests are being conducted, to be descendants of a population of the horses brought to North America by the Spanish which moved into the area two centuries ago.


“Even if they survive the fires, they could wind up starving to death over the winter because their food supply has been burned out. The fires burned so hotly, that in some areas the topsoil was reduced to ash. We need to act right now”, says HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan.

The BC Government estimates that it will cost $10,000 to put out the fires, and in a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell, O’Sullivan is offering his charity’s help in coming up with the money needed to save these magnificent animals and their habitat. The Humane Society of Canada has already sent $ 1,000 to the Friends of Nememiah Valley, who are working on the ground alongside aboriginal teams to put the fires out.

Anyone interested in helping these magnificent animals can help by sending The Humane Society of Canada a donation, which will be used to help BC’s wild horses. “We’ll use every one of your hard earned dollars carefully and wisely to ensure the protection of these horses and the ecosystems upon which they depend for their survival,” states O’Sullivan.

People interested in assisting these endangered animals can also visit the HSC website at or by calling toll-free 1-800-641-KIND (5463).

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

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