The community in Alberta really pulled together this past week to help out their own fellow neighbours, friends, family, strangers and four legged animals. The equine community was very quick to respond to social media outlets asking for all kinds of support for flood victims and their livestock. The Alberta Equestrian Federation’s Facebook post asking for help on Thursday June 20th at 6:39pm was shared 349 times accompanied by 135 comments and offers for assistance with livestock in need. These offers came from all over Alberta and included all types of livestock assistance: everything from transportation to stabling, to pasture and included pet friendly accommodations in people’s homes. The response was overwhelming and we truly saw the horse community in Alberta unite to help their own out.

After the water has begun to subside, the true sense of loss begins. In the horse community, we seem to have had some lucky horse shoes on our side this time. The reports of displaced livestock are minimal and the loss of livestock life, at this stage, is also minimal. We spoke to the Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) Livestock Alert Line and they had not received a single call requesting help due to flooding. According to Lorna Baird, Executive Director with AFAC, “the alert line only received calls from people looking to offer help, none from people seeking help.”

We contacted Livestock Identification Services (LIS) with regards to this situation and they also did not have any calls at this time. Gary M. Guichon is the South Provincial Field Supervisor for LIS, and is in direct contact with the MD of Foothills to initiate information protocol with regards to livestock inquiries. He has not received a single call as of Monday June 24th at noon. “I am hopeful that most animals close to the waterways would have access to higher ground,” stated Gary in an e-mail. “We will however see what happens in the coming days and weeks, as I am certain there will be many compromised fence lines.”

If you are missing livestock in the coming days and weeks as a result of the flood, please contact LIS as they are the delegated authority for the stray animals act. Livestock producers and owners can fill out a missing livestock report with LIS so they have that critical information at their fingertips.  If LIS receives a stray livestock phone call or report, they then have the most current information on file. The information allows LIS to be better equipped to find the rightful owner(s) if a missing animal matches a stray animal report or surrender.  This practice helps to expedite the process of reuniting owners with their livestock.four horses in temporary home

Although the front line services appear to be virtually unused, there were still some small, yet heartwarming, acts of animals being rescued from danger. One such story was out of the Siksika Nation, where flood waters rose so fast that one rescue trailer had to be abandoned. Rescue groups were able to get four miniature horses out and off to Lethbridge as well as two mares, one with a three week foal at her side, and a gelding. The mares, foal, and gelding are being sheltered temporarily at Higher Trails, in Okotoks, until it is safe for them to return home. The owner is very grateful that his most trusted gelding and the mares and foal were able to get out in time.

Hundreds of generous offers came from the equine community to help; it appears that the supply has far exceeded the demand. This is great news as the southern and central parts of the province moves from emergency mode to recovery mode. Having one less thing to worry about is a welcomed blessing when it comes to the province’s livestock. If there is still a need for assistance, please call the ALERT line (1-800-506-2273) or contact us (403-420-5949). Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has many useful resources. 

There is a need for supplies now such as equipment, feed, and tack that have been lost completely or damaged beyond safe use. There are two different groups collecting donations and items for horses. One is the Canadian Standardbred Network with donation sites throughout the province and the other is through Higher Trails, Equi-Health Canada and Okotoks Country Living with donations being accepted in Okotoks. For further information about these donation centres please see the posters below. Also, stay connected to the HIAA Twitter and Facebook pages as this event is far from concluded.

We wish all the horse and livestock owners, producers and industry partners a swift recovery from this unbelievable catastrophe. Stay safe out there and continue to make this Alberta horse community stronger.flood higher trails

flood can standardbred

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