Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Equine Outrage

The second depressing post in one week. I will try to have something a bit cheery tomorrow.

Had this happened years ago, the recently departed this earth Dr Hugh Wirth would once have been seen in a news clip on tv thundering on about the outrageous deaths of 16 polo ponies.

As I have said in the past, I am not keen on horses but I never want to see them harmed. Polo ponies were transported using proper horse transport vehicles and the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Tasmania for a competition but upon their return journey to the mainland and and then on to New South Wales, they nearly all died. Aside from it being very warm weather which could be relevant, the cause of the deaths is not known. Of course the deaths are under investigation and hopefully the cause will released to  the public and not swept under the carpet. Someone is responsible. Were the horses poisoned, was it a lack of care or was it a communicable disease?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-09/truck-carrying-dead-polo-ponies-was-well-ventilated/9412622

The Spirit of Tasmania media manager person was straight to the offensive and immediately cleared itself of any blame. We don't allow people down on the livestock deck while sailing for security reasons, although exemptions can be made for veterinary treatment. Well, how will anyone know if an animal becomes unwell and need veterinary treatment if no one is allowed onto the livestock deck to check? It's security, says the management of the Spirit of Tasmania, but clearly not the security of the horses.

Now, of course the horses are not let loose on the ship to graze on hay or drink from troughs. They will have stayed in the horse floats. The lead time from when the horses were loaded onto trucks to the time when the Spirit set sail must have been at least two hours. The sea journey takes eleven hours, so we are up thirteen hours.

While I don't know when the horses' deaths were discovered, they were journeying on to NSW and the autopsy is happening in Albury on the border of Victoria and NSW. So add three more hours on the road to near Albury that they have been in the horse floats, plus one hour disembarkation from the Spirit. So what are we up to with my guesstimates? 2+11+1+3 = 17 hours in a horse float in stinking heat. I expect they died well before the 17 hours.

I can't imagine the practicalities of feeding and watering horses over such an extended period in very hot weather in a horse float, but surely that would be part of standard horse transport of great distances in heat? Surely?

It is always a safer and easier option to let the system take its course, but on this occasion I will call it. Criminal charges of some sort need to be laid against someone. Sixteen horses don't just fall down and die without good reason.

Later edit: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/exclusive-spirit-of-tasmania-ship-on-which-16-horses-died-has-history-of-safety-concerns

29 comments:

  1. I found it all very strange too Andrew! I remember some years ago that some dogs died onboard the Spirit . Dogs are kept in these little cages and I think fumes got them....or the bloody cold down there in the boat. I do hope we get to know the reason as many people transport dogs on the spirit as many pure breed dog breeders are in Tassie . I remember looking at some Pekingese there ,in the end I got one here. Dr Hugh would be so angry!

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    1. Lady J, I can't remember that but it sounds awful. The dog we look after has moved with his mum to Tasmania using the ferry.

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  2. Someone needs to be held accountable, none of this "unforeseeable accident" malarky.

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  3. It reminds me of slave ships sailing from Africa to the Americas where bodies died in the hulls or were thrown overboard. Nobody seemed to care.

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    1. Hels, plenty more where they came from, I guess was the attitude. They had a value only as a beast of burden would.

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  4. Dreadful thing to happen. We were at Barnbougle Golf Course on Sunday (near Bridport) and could see the road to the Polo etc. I reckon those horse suffocated.

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    1. Margaret, wouldn't you think after the ferry trip, a quick visual check would be made of the horses. Make sure none had fallen over at least? Hopefully we will learn what happened.

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    2. You say exactly as we did. Can't understand why the driver didn't look as soon as he got off the boat, thought it would have been common sense...we will find out in due course

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  5. I added a link to a more recent SBS story, dated yesterday, 13th.

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  6. I heard these news on the radio a few days ago and think it's sad that so many horses died on such a long trip.

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    1. Sami, very sad and someone needs to be held to account.

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  7. Could be Carbon Monoxide/Dioxide poisoning. Very sad story.

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    1. Cro, it may well turn out to be that, by the latest report.

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  8. I can't believe it Andrew, I mean those polo ponies are worth a fortune, you would think they'd be looked after right royally! Does sound like carbon monoxide poisoning.. those poor, poor horses, it would have been a horrible way to go! Quite honestly I think they should do away with both polo and horse racing, especially horse racing.. too cruel!

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    1. Grace, the horse sporting industry gives so much ammunition to those who want to ban competitive horse events. Just awful.

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  9. Seems to me the humane thing to do is check on the horses several times during the crossing, have a fan or similar cooling system down there, then let them out of the floats for a short time immediately they are off the ferry.

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    1. River, that is exactly what any normal person would think should happen. But why didn't or doesn't it happen?

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    2. $$$ and time.

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  10. Anonymous11:50 pm

    So sad to hear about the horses...

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    1. Jene, it certainly is a very sad story.

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  11. This awful situation does not seem to have been news in NSW, or else I have missed it.

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    1. Victor, I was/am a little suspicious that it was being a hidden story. I am probably too suspicious.

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  12. Oh, how sad!! Tragic!! I've not heard about this horrible occurrence.

    I love horses...beautiful creatures they are. That's heartbreaking...how disgraceful something like this has happened.

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    1. Lee, it is horrible and someone or an organisation needs to be held to account.

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  13. It's going to be heat stroke I bet, or something maybe.

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    1. Or poisoning from car/truck exhaust fumes, or both.

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    1. Fen, we can only hope they were painless deaths.

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