RSPCA launches probe into brumby deaths
UNLESS cruelty can be proven it's unlikely a Goldsborough grazier will face legal action for allegedly killing four brumbies earlier this month.
On July 2 it's alleged four brumbies, including one in foal, were shot dead toward the end of Goldsborough Valley Rd. Their rotting carcasses remain above ground prompting Biosecurity Queensland to be notified.
The landowner accused of the shooting has been questioned by animal welfare group the RSPCA during an investigation into the deaths.
A witness to the incident will also be spoken to by Cairns-based investigators, RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.
"We are looking into it and have already started speaking to the grazier concerned," he said.
However, as the animals were allegedly killed on private land and are not afforded any state protection under the Nature Conservation Act, it's thought criminal charges would not be laid.
"It is within his rights (to kill the brumbies) but we would always hope that people would took to an alternative to killing," Mr Beatty said.
Animal advocate, Kate Rasmussen had been working to protect the small population of brumbies inhabiting a narrow tract of land in the remote valley, south of Cairns.
"People are really horrified about it, they are really disgusted.
"They are a much-loved part of the valley," she said.
And horrified in the way the animals were killed. Witness to the alleged shooting Zeb Stephens said the killings were a premeditated act. "Me and my mum were swimming down at the third bridge and we heard a gunshot," he said.
"He got one to come up to him like he was going to feed it a carrot and he just shot it."
The grazier, who cannot be named for legal reasons said the wild horses had caused damage to his land.
Ms Rasmussen said this could not happen if fences were maintained and gates kept closed.
"If he was to maintain fences, a natural consequence of keeping his cattle in would be keeping the brumbies out," she said. "(Brumbies could be) competing for feed but keeping them out doesn't mean leave the gate open and shoot them."
Originally published as RSPCA launches probe into Goldsborough brumby deaths