This ‘cull’ had been ordered by the Pastoral Lands Board, a section of the Dept of Rural Development and Lands in Western Australia, which delegates pastoral leases.
The lease of Lake Gregory Station is held by the Aboriginal Lands Trust, a section of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
A private pastoralist has asked to sub-lease Lake Gregory from the ALT to put cattle out for the live export trade.
Excuses touted by government for this ‘cull’ were that there were too many horses
Pastoral Lands Board, Rob Gillam said 9,000, Dept.Aboriginal Affairs said 5,620,
The Aboriginal Community members said up to 2,000.
Wild Horses Kimberley had 2 teams drive around the entire area twice and counted
up to a mere 500.
A second excuse by government was that horses were getting stuck in mud.
Wild Horses Kimberley asked the ALT 5 years ago to invest in equipment to create safe water points around the lake and get old bores running again; nothing happened.
Horses attempted to get water from a dam at Balgo because the troughs next to the dam hadn’t been filled by the residents.
A third excuse by government was that ‘overgrazing’ was occurring. They thought that horses were eating grasses that should have been available for cattle. But scientific proof shows that horses only eat the tops of grasses and cattle eat the lower areas. Cattle and horses can exist together.(Princeton University study-see WHK website). Government now plans to put thousands more cattle onto this area. This will cause massive environmental damage to the lake as cattle wallow in water and trample flora.
After the ‘cull’ horses were left dying. Dept. Agriculture estimated that about 1% did not die after the initial shot. This means that many horses suffered agonizing slow death in 40d heat.
RSPCA, which supported the aerial ‘cull’ has not found an excuse for this.
Reports from the lake say that
*dead horses have been left everywhere and are contaminating the area, including the water for the remaining horses, cattle, wildlife, birds and fish.
*requests for funds to get old bores working to provide fresh water have been ignored.
*requests to humanely manage horse numbers using infertility drug Pzp on mares and gelding, stallions, passive trapping for re-homing, have all been ignored.
The Lake Gregory horses are a valuable asset to the three Aboriginal Communities living at Lake Gregory. Introduced Arabians at Balgo by the Pallotine priest Father John McGuire have developed into strong bloodlines which the Sheik of Dubai, Mohamed bin Rashid al Maktoum sought out and managed to take 13 Lake Gregory horses to Dubai for endurance riding in 2007. Most of these horses live near Mulan where the people have grown up respecting and loving their horses. At the third community Mindibungu (Bililuna) the Percheron bloodlines were introduced along with Arabians to produce very big heavy strong horses, much valued by horsemen all over the world.
Wild Horses Kimberley will continue to save and protect the wild horses, raising funds to provide safe areas where they can be managed and allowed to run free to spread the indigenous seed, create fire breaks with their tracks, keep the grasses down to prevent fires.
Governments throughout the world must be educated to understand the ways of the wild horse and their benefit to our environment. Killing horses en masse must never be allowed to happen again.
Wild Horses Kimberley