Monday, March 15, 2010

Aussies New Wild Horse Killing Squads

Thousands of brumbies killed in western Queensland to save Carnavon National Park

By Des Houghton
From: The Courier-Mail
March 15, 2010 10:41AM

THOUSANDS of wild horses will be killed in western Queensland by a new government squad trained to shoot the animals in the heart and head.

The Courier-Mail reports the cull in Carnarvon National Park, 450km west of Bundaberg, follows expert advice that Queensland's most fragile ecosystems are under siege from animal pests including horses, camels, pigs, dingoes, deer, rabbits, foxes, cats and even feral cattle.

Many thousands have been shot, trapped and baited.

Fears of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease prompted a war on feral pigs, which are also destroying the habitats of endangered birds and marsupials.

State Environment Minister Kate Jones said six park rangers using high-powered rifles had been trained to shoot the wild horses - known as brumbies - in the heart and head for a swift kill.

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Related Coverage
Call for cull of wild brumbies Daily Telegraph, 2 hours ago
Harden up on the refugee issue Daily Telegraph, 2 hours ago
Camels to rescue in ecosystem The Australian, 9 Feb 2010
Feral camels clear in Wong's carbon count The Australian, 7 Feb 2010
Killer feral pigs are taking over, 6 Feb 2010
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Similar culls in 2007 and 2008 sparked international outrage from animal rights groups and the Save the Brumby organisation.

Ms Jones said she could understand animal lovers' concerns, however, the wild horses were causing major damage to the park's fragile ecosystem and shooting them was the most humane way of reducing numbers.

The park could be overrun by up to 45,000 brumbies if action was not taken quickly.

Ms Jones said there would be two three-day culls.

RSPCA officers would monitor the shoot and a back-up helicopter would be used to dispatch any animal not properly killed by marksmen in the lead helicopter.

More than 6300 horses have been shot in the area since 2007 in one of the world's biggest brumby culls.

An attempt to muster the horses and sell the meat to pet food companies failed.

Ms Jones said there were at least 4450 brumbies in the park. There was no maximum number of horses targeted.

Read more about the thousands of horses to be culled at The Courier-Mail.

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