Demanding for RSPCA to prosecute if evidence shows that brumbies were killed inhumanely

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On 2 July 2020, four brumbies were shot and killed on private property in the Goldsborough Valley (Cairns Region).  Animal cruelty is prohibited under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) ("the Act"). Section 18 (2) of the Act provides that it is cruel to kill an animal in a way that is inhumane; or causes it not to die quickly; or causes it to die in unreasonable pain. 

The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals provides that a .308 calibre rifle should be used for humane killing of horses.  The temporal method is the most humane for mature horses, with the frontal method preferred for younger horses. Both involve shot placement to the head, to cause a sudden death with the least amount of suffering to the animal. 

Temporal or frontal shot placement is not visible on the photographs of the horses killed at Goldsborough.  One photo shows a horse shot through the gut, with intestinal matter protruding from the entry point.  We therefore believe that these animals died a painful and inhumane death.  One killed was a mare in foal.  Witnesses observed that the leg of the foal was protruding from the body of the mare post-death. The length of gestation is not known, or if the foal was humanely destroyed.  

It is also considered cruel (s.18 (2) (a) the Act) to do anything to an animal that causes it pain in circumstances that are "unjustifiable, unnecessary or unreasonable".   It appears that they only entered the property as a result of the property owner's failure to maintain sufficient fencing to land where livestock (cattle) are kept (Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011). Sufficient fencing would have not only kept cattle in, but would have also served to keep the horses out.  Choosing to kill animals rather than fulfilling a legislated obligation to maintain sufficient fencing cannot be considered reasonable.  

The matter was immediately reported to RSPCA and assigned to an Investigator. Information has been received that RSPCA has not yet taken statements from the two witnesses some two months after the offence was allegedly committed.  We are calling upon the RSPCA to conduct a comprehensive investigation as a matter of priority.  We further call upon the RSPCA to commence a prosecution against the person responsible, if investigations reveal that the horses were not killed using correct shot placement, with an appropriate calibre firearm and recommended ammunition type.