Kaimanawa horse shooting commences
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1997:
WELLINGTON, N.Z.––A five-year struggle to save the wild
horses of Kaimanawa, New Zealand, apparently ended in gunfire on May
25, equine behaviorist Sharon Cregier told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Cregier,
of Prince Edward Island, Canada, relayed a faxed report from former New
Zealand Horse & Pony editor Peg Harvey that, “Reporters and photographers
are being kept from the slaughter area. Horses are being driven into
trucks bound for slaughter. Others are being shot and the carcasses left to
rot. Twelve hundred horses are expected to be shot. The roundup, slaughter
transport, and killings are under the auspices of the Department of
Conservation. The New Zealand Wild Horse Protection Association and
International League for the Protection of Horses have protested the killings,
some protesters chaining themselves to the trucks and being sent to jail.”
The Kaimanawa herd, descended from military horses released
during the 1860s and deliberately supplemented with Exmoor ponies and
Welsh stallions in 1877, is to be reduced to 500 of the healthiest horses,
who will be confined to an area less than half the size of their present range.
Only 200 of the horses survived as of 1981, when they were protected by
Forest and Bird Protection Society conservation director Kevin
Smith demanded the removal or killing of at least 1,200 horses on April 8,
after an aerial survey showed the population had increased to 1,700. One
month earlier, Massey University ecologist Clare Veltman announced that
an attempt to limit horse numbers through immunocontraception failed, as
13 of 21 mares given the vaccination nonetheless became pregnant.
The last wild horse herd left in New Zealand, the Kaimanawas
have no natural predators, but data gathered during adoption round-ups in
recent years showed that though more than 80% of the mares are pregnant at
any given time, only one foal in eight survives to become a yearling.
According to DOC veterinarian Nigel Coddington, most suffer from internal
parasites, contributing to malnutrition which in turn produces bone and hoof
deformity. Adoption demand has according been low, with barely 50 applications
submitted this year.
“My own feelings are, for the horses’ sake, the nicest way is just
to shoot them where they are,” Coddington said.