Once again EPA, Queensland Government, is conducting aerial shooting of wild horses in Carnarvon National Park. The Park will be closed as from 1st March 2010 while this slaughter is carried out. Press Release AERIAL SLAUGHTER Bullets are again raining down from summer skies in Carnarvon, the timing could not be worse, little foals born this year will stagger and fall, trying to keep up with the terrified mobs. If they survive the shoot they face slow starvation without their dams. Is this a third world country ?? no, it’s Australia in the 21st century. Despite what EPA say regarding animal welfare we have photographic evidence to show that such protocols are not always followed. (See photos below) After the last slaughter in Carnarvon we obtained a copy of an autopsy report; some 21 carcasses were inspected by Government vets from thousands of carcasses left to rot on the ground in Carnarvon. An average of four bullets to kill each horse, ages ranging from foals, yearlings and adult horses. The cost to Queensland tax payers was in excess of $250.000 for helicopters, snipers and 20.000 rounds of bullets. Our web site has published a statement issued by RSPCA regarding aerial slaughter. (See below). Last year, RSPCA refused to condone further shoots calling for the EPA to investigate alternative control methods, to include fertility control and passive trapping and removal. It has been stated in RSPCA’s Code of Practice that it is not possible to kill animals humanely from a moving platform such as a helicopter. In correspondence with EPA we have been informed that Expressions of Interest were issued to remove horses and cattle from Carnarvon. The response was negative. Of course it was; the public just don’t have thousands of dollars to outlay for trap yards, trucks and personnel to conduct such programs. Until Queensland Government is prepared to make a genuine and sincere commitment to outlawing aerial slaughter, form a Government Steering Committee of experienced personnel and work through this issue once and for all the massacres continue. Yet EPA can find money to aerial shoot and pay for snipers and bullets at tax payers’ expense. We ask, why cannot such money be redirected into alternative management plans ?? We have received emails from horse interest groups in Northern Queensland willing to remove horses on an annual basis. But some funding is needed. Such interests have people waiting to retrain these Heritage Brumby horses for stock work and equestrian pursuits and we have been informed that there is a real need for tough and sturdy horses in this part of the country. However it would seem that bullets are still the quick and easy fix and no real attempt to investigate alternative management plans would appear to have been made since the last slaughter. Fertility control could be trialled in isolated groups of 200 plus horses in several areas of Qld. Ongoing management in this method of control is well advanced in the USA and other countries. We ask, when is Australia going to stop the blood and bullets, sit down round the table and look to the future. And provide some funding and assistance for the public to take on these superb Heritage Brumbies. Aerial slaughter of our Icon, the Heritage Brumby, is AUSTRALIA’S SHAME and with our extensive land and resources there is no excuse or justification for such actions. In 1972 an Act of Congress was passed by the US Government proclaiming the Heritage and History of the American Mustang wild horse and his value to the American people. Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages over 60.000 horses on an annual basis and runs Government adoption programs for such horses. All financed by the US Government. Why cannot such programs be introduced in Australia ?? Why ?? simply because those in power refuse to take animal welfare seriously and prefer the easy, outdated way out, blood and bullets. In NSW aerial slaughter is banned, wild Heritage Brumbies in NSW National Parks are passively trapped and handed over to rehoming groups or contractors for removal. This outcome has been achieved after many years of negotiating with State Government and although still far from ideal such programs pave the way to sustainable management. We were initially told that such a task was impossible, the terrain was inaccessible, the horses were diseased, feral, not worth the effort. In Guy Fawkes River National Park, the scene of the aerial slaughter that made world headlines in 2000, we have proved Government wrong on every count. The Management Plan for wild horses in Guy Fawkes in which we had a large input is now a model for other national parks to follow. Queenslanders, realise what is happening in your own State and help stop the cruelty inflicted on horses that have served us in war and peace, introduced by us and now, subjected to a cruel death in the name of conservation. Save the Brumbies Inc. again urgently calls on the Queensland Government to ban aerial slaughter immediately, instigate a Steering Committee and redirect monies allocated to aerial slaughter into more positive outcomes. Posted March 2010 RSPCA QLD. STATEMENT MICHAEL BEATTY PUBLICITY OFFICER There is no way that the RSPCA actively supports the killing of any animal. It’s a sad fact of life that for many of our staff humane euthanasia of domestic animals and wildlife has become part of their daily existence. Human irresponsibility, neglect and occasionally blatant cruelty are the main causes of this senseless waste of life. Unfortunately in the case of the feral horses in Carnarvon, the numbers have irresponsibly been allowed to build up so that there is now a major problem, not only to native wildlife and flora but also a potential welfare problem to the horses themselves. In fact many horses are starving. The numbers should never have been allowed to escalate to this level, particularly in a National park. Yes fertility drugs (PZP) have been used to control feral animal numbers overseas and we have been urging State and Federal Governments to investigate these alternatives and implement programs sooner rather than later. Otherwise it goes without saying that culls will become “necessary” in other National Parks. We have explained to the EPA that we need a firm commitment from them to actively investigate the use of PZP here before we sanction any further culls. We do accept that sadly there will need to be a further reduction in numbers in Carnarvon before PZP can effectively control the future population. The horrendous debacle in Guy Fawkes River National Park in NSW was quite rightly a major animal welfare issue. Many of the animals were left to die in agony and these images lived with many animal lovers for a long, long time. I can assure you that RSPCA Qld would never have supported an aerial cull, (albeit reluctantly), to go ahead if there was any likelihood of this carnage being repeated. In Carnarvon a backup helicopter was added in an effort to ensure there were no suffering animals left behind. A combination of inhospitable terrain, the severe stress put on the animals by ground mustering in this terrain and the health of the animals concerned were all taken into account before the decision was made to proceed. Again I must stress that we reluctantly accept the action was necessary and the cull was carried out as humanely as possible. We will not “support” any further culls until the State Government has agreed to trial immuno- contraception (PZP) or bring in an expert on its use from the United States to advise on its use in Carnarvon and other National Parks. Warning These photographs may cause distress; we show them to expose the shocking brutality of aerial slaughter and the distress and prolonged suffering it inflicts on living creatures. Please email: www.pm.gov.au and voice your concerns directly to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.