RSPCA Victoria is making inquiries after reports an allegedly emaciated horse was assessed as fit for sale at Echuca saleyards last month.RENEE THOMPSON June 13, 2014 12:01pm
RSPCA Victoria is making inquiries after reports an allegedly emaciated horse was assessed as fit for sale at Echuca saleyards last month.
The report surrounds the sale of a chestnut mare in pen 92 at the saleyards on Friday, May 23.
A member of the public at the saleyards that day, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she took two photos of a ‘‘severely dehydrated and emaciated’’ mare on her phone and confronted the saleyards manager about the horse’s condition.
The woman said she was told the horse was fit for sale because it had ‘‘bright eyes’’.
She forwarded copies of the photos to Campaspe Shire
She also emailed the Riverine Herald, explaining the mare should not have been accepted for sale.
‘‘This is a very clear breach of DEPI and Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals Act legislation,’’ she said.
‘‘No horse in such an emaciated and unhealthy state can be accepted as fit for sale, under those legislations.’’
ACHA’s Barrie Tapp, who was an RSPCA Victoria senior inspector of two decades, shared the woman’s concerns and also reported it to DEPI, on May 26.
He claimed the sale of the horse did not meet DEPI’s Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses minimum standards which states a horse’s body condition score
‘‘This mare had a body score rating, as per DEPI scoring chart, of zero to one, was emaciated with all ribs clearly visible, hip bones visible and according to a very experienced horse woman who attends these sales regularly, was severely dehydrated and in contravention of not only (the Cruelty to Animals Act) but any code of practice and, not to mention humane commonsense,’’ Mr Tapp said.
He said the complaint needed to be investigated as it appeared ‘‘management of these yards also needs to be accountable’’.
However, Campaspe Shire commercial operations manager Rohan Burgess said the horse was not emaciated and was assessed as being fit for sale because it was.
‘‘A very skinny horse was presented at the Livestock Exchange on Friday, May 23,’’ he said.
‘‘The horse was assessed by the saleyard’s superintendent and the horse responded well.
‘‘It was walking freely, (had) bright eyes, had muscle tone and met the requirements associated with being fit and able to be sold.
‘‘It was not emaciated.
‘‘Whilst visually a skinny horse is not nice to see, it was fit for sale and has actually gone to a better home.’’
The RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate is authorised to investigate and prosecute breaches of the Cruelty to Animals Act and investigates thousands of animal cruelty complaints each year.
Only a small number of those investigations lead to prosecution.
Inspectorate manager Allie Jalbert said she could not disclose details of complaints or investigations regarding Echuca saleyards for reasons of confidentiality and legal process.
However, she said RSPCA Victoria had been ‘‘working closely with Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Campaspe Shire over several months, on an inter-agency approach to improve welfare standards of horses presented for sale at the Echuca saleyards’’.
Ms Jalbert said the three organisations were planning to discuss protocols at the saleyards on a yet-to-be-determined date this month.
‘‘Protocols for dealing with horses unfit for sale, should they arrive at the saleyards, have been discussed and will be the focus of a meeting between the three organisations later this month to further improve horse welfare standards and response to non-compliance,’’ she said.
When the Riverine Herald asked DEPI about the May 23 report, a spokesperson confirmed RSPCA Victoria was looking into it.
The Riverine Herald also presented DEPI with one of the submitted photos of the horse and asked DEPI to assess the horse’s body condition score.
A spokeswoman said the assessment involved tactile and visual components.
‘‘It is not possible to conclude with confidence the condition score of a horse based on a single photo,’’ she said.
‘‘There are a range of other factors that are also important in assessing the suitability of a horse for sale including age, demeanour and mobility.’’
The spokesperson said the inter-agency approach would ensure the welfare of horses being sold at the saleyards.
‘‘DEPI’s role in relation to horses being sold at saleyards is to provide the legal framework that supports industry-managed arrangements and allows effective action when the welfare of animals is compromised.’’
Mr Tapp disagreed that the photo was not enough to make an accurate assessment.
‘‘I’ve taken hundreds of photographs to court with horses in like conditions to that shown in the photo and seen convictions come from it,’’ he said.
He said other factors, such as age or whether the horse had gone to a good home, had nothing to do with its body condition.
‘‘If it was 20 years old, it still shouldn’t have been in that condition,’’ he said.
‘‘That horse is emaciated, that’s all there is to it.’’
‘‘There is no grey area.
‘‘It should never have gone through (the saleyards).’’
Every picture tells a story and every treasured object has a memory — this is the message behind a call to find Shepparton memorabilia for display.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.