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Maori & animal welfare orgs condemn horse kill

Media release

29th January 2004

Maori and major animal welfare organisations condemn
proposed aerial kill of Kaimanawa wild horses

Seven of New Zealand's most prominent animal welfare organisations and Maori land owners have joined forces to save over twenty wild horses from being hunted down by helicopter and shot to death by the Department of Conservation.

The proposed aerial shooting is within & adjacent to “no-go” zones on Army land in the Kaimanawa Ranges and is expected to take place in a few weeks. The Department of Conservation claims the horses are a threat to the ecologically sensitive area of the Moawhango region.

The Kaimanawa Horse Consortium is made up of RNZSPCA, SPCA Auckland, SPCA Wellington, International League For The Protection Of Horses NZ, Friends Of Kaimanawa Horses, Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust, Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) along with the Foundation Franz Weber, Oruamatua 1U and 1V Block Trust.

The Consortium is demanding an explanation from the Minister of Conservation Chris Carter to justify DoC's proposal and has requested evidence to support such lethal and potentially cruel means. The Minister has been urged by the Consortium to consider repatriating the horses into neighbouring privately owned land where they will no longer be considered a threat to native fauna. The Consortium believes saving the horses is also likely to be a more cost-effective method for DoC.

Aerial shooting has met with strong opposition in Australia when used to control populations of wild horses, due to the inevitable animal suffering when horses were not killed instantaneously. Subsequently the Australian Government has sought alternative methods of control and removal of horses. The New South Wales Government banned helicopter shooting in 2002.

The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Management Plan states: “A key objective of the plan is to ensure that the treatment of the Kaimanawa horses is humane. Manipulations of the horses, including those causing the death of the animal, must be able to achieve the objectives of the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Plan without the horses experiencing undue physical and behavioural trauma. There is no single technique that is without disadvantages. Therefore, a range of methods must be available so that the most appropriate method can be used for each situation. Issues such as public perception, practicality and cost, while secondary to humaneness, must be considered.”

The Consortium is calling for the Minister of Conservation to adhere to the Management Plan to achieve DoC's objective of preserving the fragile ecosystem of the area without agreeing to have these magnificent horses hunted down and killed.


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