Could the Brumby killers have broken the law?

No consultation claim over horse kill

Brad Thompson, The West Australian October 31, 2013, 4:54 am
No consultation claim over horse kill
Horses at Balgo that died in the mud last year. Picture: Supplied

Experienced pastoralists and the RSPCA have backed a mass cull of thousands of feral horses on two Kimberley stations despite claims from the Aboriginal manager of one of the properties that he was not consulted.

Bililunna manager Mark Gordon wrote to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier and Lands Minister Brendon Grylls last week pleading with them to prevent the cull.

The letter was signed by Mr Gordon and eight others who said they were traditional owners who had not been consulted and were opposed to aerial shooting of horses on their land.

The Aboriginal Lands Trust and the Kimberley Land Council yesterday rejected the claim, saying the cull had been discussed with traditional owners on several occasions and unanimously supported.

The ALT and the KLC said the cull was necessary to prevent an animal welfare disaster, for the economic viability of the stations and for the ALT to meet its legal obligations to control feral animals. The ALT had received breach notices from the Pastoral Lands Board and was in danger of forfeiting the valuable leases.

“At least we have a way forward to build economic sustainability for communities on those two properties,” ALT’s chairman Clinton Wolf said.

Haydn Sale, who runs nearby Yougawalla Station, said the ALT had no choice after investigating other options. “They were facing absolute disaster, thousands and thousands of horses stuck dying in the lake as it dried up,” he said.

The cull started at Lake Gregory on Monday and there were unconfirmed reports from Kimberley Wild Horses yesterday that about 3000 horses had been shot.

Mr Gordon agreed urgent action was needed as the lake dried up but said he wanted to muster the horses to create employment. He said some would be kept for breeding, others gelded and old or sick horses put down.

The RSPCA and Mr Sale said mustering and trucking wild horses exposed them to a high risk of stress and injury.


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Australian pro-kill article spins brumby massacre despite livestock damaging the land and plans for Fracking

When will Australia come clean with the real reason they want to kill off the brumbies? Read the biased spin piece (below) that doesn’t mention the other side of the debate. Why isn’t ABC including brumby advocates in this article?


Cross-posted from ABC

Feral horse cull commences in the central Kimberley

By Belinda Varischetti and Babs McHugh

Updated Thu 31 Oct 2013, 1:47pm AEDT

An aerial cull of thousands of feral horses has started on two Indigenous pastoral leases in the central Kimberley.

The Kimberley Rangeland Biosecurity Group says there are about 6,000 feral horses on Lake Gregory and Billiluna stations. However, the Pastoralists and Graziers Association believes the number is closer to 9,000.

The Aboriginal Lands Trust says the horses must be removed to protect the local environment, to comply with legal obligations and to mitigate animal welfare and public health issues.

The RSPCA is also supporting the aerial cull.

Clinton Wolf is the chair of the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

“What I am firm on is the number in relation to the aerial count and that was 6,000 horses,” he said.

“The logistics is basically that the RSPCA is heavily involved, we’ve got two veterinarians there, I believe that there is two helicopters involved and that’s the standard way of doing culls in Western Australia on pastoral leases and we’ve just tried to make sure that we’ve followed to the letter the exact requirements for best practice aerial culling which we believe and we’ve been told by a variety of experts is the most humane way of dealing with the feral horse population.”

Mr Wolf says the traditional owners want the feral horse numbers under control for business and personal safety considerations.

“Build a fence one day and the next day it’s not there because a huge herd of wild horses has run right through the middle of it. You can see the distress in their eyes and they’ve had a connection with these horses for 120 years.

“When you see them say we’ve had enough and sure we want a few horses out here because we want to maintain that connection, but you can’t have six to seven thousand horses running around and what is concerning them also is when there was no water around, the horses were coming into the community.

“And you’ve got two or three year old kids walking around and we’re not saying wild horses are aggressive or anything like that, but when you’ve got a wild animal that suddenly takes flight over a vehicle going past and takes off and runs over the top of a child, is anyone going to turn around and say ‘well, we should put up with that’, because quite clearly we shouldn’t.

“We’ve got a feeling that if we get on top of the bulk of them, we’ve already had discussions with Kimberley land Council rangers who are saying that as part of their duty statement that they’re prepared to participate moving forward so that we absolutely keep a handle on this.”

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy has backed the cull of the brumbies at Lake Gregory “as long as it’s humanely conducted”.

The AWC owns more than 800,000 acres in the Kimberley, most of it former pastoral stations.

The land is being rehabilitated and cleared of feral animals to help build up numbers of endangered species.

Chief executive Atticus Fleming says the brumbies don’t belong there.

“Feral horses do have a significant impact on the environment, they are driving the decline in our wildlife, along with other feral herbivores.

“So action does need to be taken. It needs to be done humanely, but we need to remove them from the Australian environment.”

Mr Fleming says the option of rounding up and breaking in the brumbies wouldn’t be practical in the vast Kimberley.