Guy Fawkes Brumby Slaughter


Watch this video which explains coverup, corruption and a single guilty plea that halted damning evidence being present in court that would have exposed wholesale slaughter of our heritage horses, it’s a bloody disgrace, and is being revisited today.

Fictional Evidence Slaughtered Brumbies

Read The Brumby Story The PlanThe SlaughterThe White WashVET’s Speak OutThe Court Case

Brumby and foal shot and left to die in October 2000

World disgrace and cruelty accompanied national condemnation of the Guy Falkes murder and inhumane executions of our national heritage Brumby in October 2000 by the NSW National Parks.

Keep in mind that only by a stop on gunship shooting by Debus, from massive public damnation, can be lifted at anytime and that is very much on the cards.

The Wilderness Society, Andrew Cox, was a major architect of the Guy Fawkes massacre, and still remains a mover and shaker to shooting the Brumbys, just in case you are thinking of donating to that organisation who should hang their heads in SHAME.

Some names of those directly responsible for the cruel slaughter of Brumbys in Oct 2000.

  • The then Bob (Devious) Debus, NSW Minister for Environment Now Labor candidate for the Federal Election
  • Mr. Brian Gilligan, the then Director General, National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Mr Alan Jeffery, the then Regional Manager, North Coast NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • Mr Bradley Nesbitt, the then Project Officer – Pest Species Management, NSW National Parks Wildlife ServiceBrad Nesbitt NSW National Parks

Bradley James NESBITT, a brown shirt NP&WS ranger who took refuge behind a court AVO taken out in a NSW court against a person in Queensland, who dared expose this massacre in which Brad Nesbitt was a major player. Allegations, currently under investigation by our tireless team on sleuths, indicates he again is active on another NSW push to annihilate our heritage horse.

Let us take a look back to the start of the planned execution of Australian Heritage Horses.

The Guy Fawkes River National Park:

Looking roughly north north west from Lucifer’s Thumb lookout.

A section of the Guy Fawkes River was taken over by the New South Wales government in 1972 and declared a national park.

At the time of the slaughter in Oct 2002, the park was approximately 68,000 hectares (168,000 acres) in size. The park has been steadily growing in size. At one stage before this valley became national park, it was recorded that cattle numbers reached as high as 5,000. Brumbies have been known to be in this area for many many years.

The Guy Fawkes River National Park Horse Steering Committee meetings were a facade for supposed public consultation. The meetings had no legal guidelines/model rules, as do other legally constituted organisations. All meetings were run according to the rules of Alan Jeffery, meeting chairman, NPWS.

The steering committee meetings were ‘loaded’ with members who support NPWS agendas – such as the one now 2007, being conducted by the NSW National Parks.

The then Environment Minister Debus, who instigated these meeings rarely responded to questions of significant importance.

An interesting comment was made by Mr Scott Cardmathas, policy advisor for Mr Bob Debus (Minister for Environment) on 9th Oct 2002 when Lyall Sempf (activist in the preservation of our Brumbys and lives in Queensland) asked him how NPWS “concluded” that there were no escaped privately owned horses in the Park at the time of the slaughter. Mr Cardmathas replied that NPWS assumed that all Brumbys in the park were wild and not owned by anyone.

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The slaughter – by Lyall Sempf

On October 22nd to 24th 2000, hundreds of brumbies were secretly slaughtered in the Guy Fawkes River National Park by the government department known as the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The brumbies were shot from the air by three gunmen in helicopters. Due to the nature of the terrain being rough and covered with
trees, this slaughter of the brumbies resulted in more than one bullet being needed for many of the horses. Many brumbies suffered a terrifying and slow death.

The slaughter went ahead secretly with no advice given to, nor consultation sought from the Australian public or Animal Welfare Groups.
When the slaughter was discovered, one of the claims of the National Parks and Wildlife Service was that the brumbies were starving and dying from lack of food due to bush fires that had gone through the park. There were bush fires in the park, but the brumbies were not starving as has be verified by photos.

When the slaughter was carried out, a proper check wasn’t done to ensure that people weren’t in the park at the time. The famous National Horse Trail goes through this park. Two ladies from New South Wales rode their horses right into the slaughter zone. They were quickly advised by National Parks staff to leave the park and were told that the aerial riflemen were shooting feral goats and pigs.

New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and the law

An environmental law was broken because some brumby carcasses were left where they shouldn’t have been, such as in flood plains. The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 ( NSW ) defines water pollution as the placing or introducing, whether through act or omission, of any matter which makes the water or is likely to make the water unclean. This also includes placing any matter in a position where it falls or is likely to fall, descend, wash, blow or percolates into any waters, dry beds of any water, or into any drain, channel or gutter.

Public response to the slaughter law
When news of this horrific brumby slaughter was released by the media, the Australian public were outaged that such an act could be carried out by a government department. It was so unAustralian.

The news of this slaughter also reached a number of countries around the world, ith the United States of America being a major protestor. The New South Wales government, their National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Dr Anthony English (who was employed by the government to produce a supposed independent investigation of the cull ) received many emails and letters of protest from overseas, especially
from the United States.

The ‘Report on the cull of feral horses in the Guy Fawkes River National Park in October 2000’ by Dr A. English, 15th November 2000 reads

Comments are by Lyall Sempf

horse3Feral Horse Control Techniques in GFRNP
Section 38:- Later in 1993 the first attempted muster of feral horses
was carried out, using electric tape to guide the horses into temporary yards. None were caught. In June 1993, 28 animals were caught in
three runs ( 18/19/1 ) at Rock Wall in temporary yards made from shade cloth.

This remains the single most successful capture of horses in the Park, with seven people involved.

There is no mention here as to whether any brumbies were injured or killed. One would also wonder what is meant by the words “most successful “?
Does it mean most cost effective, does it mean the least amount of brumbies were injured or destroyed, or does it mean the most humane method??

Section 39:- In
1994 a set of steel yards were built and used to capture 27 horses which were mustered by local horsemen. Some animals died from injuries received when they hit the steel yards. This was an expensive failure, and the yards were not used again for animal welfare reasons.

It is not surprising that it was decided that this method should not be used again.

Section 40:- In
1995, the Service turned to light fishing nets to construct temporary yards in locations where mustered horses could be caught. In the first attempt private horsemen were used, with two horses captured. However both escaped by breaking through the light nets.
This was tried again later in the year with heavier nets, with 7 horses caught. The blue nets were dyed to make them less visible for further attempts, which was an improvement.

In three activities a total of 35 were caught in net enclosures, using horsemen and a helicopter in two attempts in October 1995.
This last episode involved not only the aircraft but 8 people ( 5 service, 3 private ) over 9 days, at an
estimated cost of $7,500. Eleven horses were caught, but one mare close to foaling was injured and
had to be shot.

In December this was repeated using heavy net enclosures, with 12 caught over 5 days using only horsemen. Two pregnant mares broke their necks, 4 were shot for dog meat, and 6 were taken out.

This method should not be used again.
Section 41:- In
1996 and 1997 there was no mustering, but in 1998 the heavy net enclosures were used again, with mustering by horsemen and a helicopter. A small number were caught, of which 4 were released with radio collars for a study on home ranges. This activity extended over 5 days and utilised 7 people ( 4 Service, 3 Private ) and was costed at $8,869.

There is no mention here as to whether any brumbies were injured or killed.  There is a report that some brumbies were injured and therefore had to be destroyed.

A similar attempt at the Sara River junction in May 1999 resulted in 18 horses being caught, with 10 people involved over 5 days.

Again, there is no mention here as to whether any
brumbies were injured or killed.

Section 42:- A
total of 156 horses were removed from the Park by these measures, with 15 or more musters between 1992 and 1999. The cost-effectiveness of these activities must obviously be questioned in relation to the benefits derived from reducing the population by only this number, which is arguably less than the natural rate of increase or the herd.

Perhaps the ‘cost-effectiveness of these activities’ is what lead the National Parks and Wildlife Service to
resort to the inhumane aerial slaughter in October 2000.

There were also significant animal welfare concerns in relation to the techniques that were used, despite
the involvement of experienced local horsemen and experienced Service staff.

It is worth mentioning here that NPWS staff did not always take the advice of experienced local horsemen.

Also one would not class the NPWS staff as “experienced Service staff”.

Animal Welfare Concerns
Section 43
:- Despite a commitment over a number of years to utilise non-lethal means to reduce the
horse herd in GFRNP, there were significant problems in the techniques that were used to catch and
move the horses from the Park. These stemmed from the behaviour of the horses and the remoteness
and nature of the terrain, and in particular from the difficulty encountered in getting trapped horses
out of the valley and up on to the escarpment.

With an absence of roads over most of the area it was necessary to lead the horses up the valley.
This was done initially by the use of stock horses, behind which the haltered feral horses were lead many
kilometres. They were generally not inclined to travel readily in this way, and the whole process was
difficult and stressful for the stock horses, the newly caught feral horses and the people.
In 1999 a trial was conducted whereby the haltered horses were tethered behind 4-wheel drive
vehicles and virtually dragged up the escarpment.

This is an act of cruelty – How ignorant, inhumane and unprofessional. Worth mentioning is that NPWS
staff were advised against this method.

This was also a failure, in that the animals fought against the vehicles and fought against the vehicles and became quite distressed.

Section 44:- In the time immediately after being trapped and even before the attempts to move the horses up the valley there was a very stressful 24 hours, in which the animals were roped in the enclosure, and then usually thrown to the ground and haltered. The practice was to tether them for the first night in the enclosure, drag them to the river for a drink and then begin the move up the escarpment. This whole process resulted in a number of horses being injured or killed, and all animals that were taken out were certainly very distressed by what was done to them. It was also extremely dangerous for the people concerned.

Brumbies received broken necks and broken legs, as reported by people other than NPWS staff.

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Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) spoke out about the Guy Fawkes

Minister Bob Debus, and Director General of the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Mr Brian Gilligan, used careful phraseology in media interviews to imply that the cull of October 2000 had the endorsement of the AVA.

From a media release in late
The Australian Veterinary Association, whom the NSW government had tried to suggest endorsed the methods that they used in the Guy Fawkes cull, has issued its own media release which is reproduced below.

AVA appalled by brutal slaughter of 600 horses and NPWS misrepresentations

The Australian Veterinary Association today accused the NSW Government of twice publicly misrepresenting AVA policies in an effort to moderate public reaction to the shooting slaughter of
more than 600 horses in a national park near Dorrigo.

The helicopter cull, supposedly using expert marksmen, was approved by the National Parks and Wildlife
Service and occurred about two weeks ago.

The issue has attracted increasing public criticism in the light of reports that many of the horses had
sustained large numbers of bullet wounds to the body, legs and even the rump when marksmen are
meant to kill humanely with clean shots to the head.

The AVA Vice-President, Dr Garth McGilvray, said the organisation had a very detailed written policy
outlining the specific circumstances – and types of terrain – where it accepts that properly controlled
helicopter culling of wild horses may be necessary.

He said: “Firstly, we would like to express our outrage at the apparent lack of concern by NPWS for
the welfare of the many horses which suffered terribly in this incident.

“Our policy expresses the view that helicopter culling may be the most humane method of reducing
populations – but it emphasises that the AVA requires that it be done as a last resort by expert marksmen,
who are regularly retrained and tested “

Bob Debus MP“The Minister for Environment, Mr Bob Debus (left), and later, his departmental head, Mr Brian Gilligan, used careful phraseology in media interviews to imply that the operation had the endorsement of the AVA.
Any such suggestion is absolutely untrue.

“The NPWS did not even approach anybody in an official capacity at the AVA until the evening of October 30 – about two weeks after the culling took place – and that belated effort was clearly designed only as an attempt to moderate criticism of what they did.

“Our policy on helicopter culling of horses applies specifically to open arid and semi-arid country, where helicopters can easily pursue any injured animals to ensure they can be put down without undue suffering.

“The very rugged forest terrain in the Guy Fawkes National Park is not suitable for this because of the
obvious difficulty in conducting the operation in the most humane manner possible.

“Had they consulted the AVA before the cull we would have advised them of our position. “The AVA, which represents the majority of veterinarians in Australia, is incensed that the NPWS and its Minister have sought – retrospectively – to infer we were directly involved in this cull or that we had somehow approved it.
We did neither”, Dr McGilvray said.

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The Court Case between the RSPCA and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

On 4th July, the court case between the RSPCA and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) concluded, with NPWS escaping conviction over the slaughter of these brumbies.

4th July, the Australian Broadcasting Commission
that environmentalists welcomed this decision. Summarised as follows-

Twelve charges against NPWS alleging cruelty to animals were dropped, in favour of a guilty plea to a new charge. The National Parks Association and Colong Foundation for Wilderness says the way is now clear to remove the remaining brumbies from the Guy Fawkes River National Park.

Environment Minister Bob Debus says the brumbies will be removed by expert handlers and then will be found homes.

Andrew Fraser MP, Coffs Harbour, accused Environment Minister Bob Debus of covering up the actions of the NPWS during an aerial horse cull in October 2000.

Mr Fraser is calling for an inquiry into the matter, despite the dismissal of animal cruelty charges against NPWS in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court. Mr Fraser says he will forward evidence of the cull in the Guy Fawkes River National Park, to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

He says he does not have a problem with the culling of wild horses, but NPWS should be made accountable for its mismanagement of the horse cull.

He said “I believe this Minister should have prosecuted his own department for damage to the watercourses which other farmers and other people are actually charged with on a regular basis.”

“This whole thing’s been swept under the carpet … now we have to really have a proper investigation into what went on.”

Environment groups have reacted positively to the dismissal of charges against NPWS.

The Colong Foundation and the National Parks Association of New South Wales are now calling on the State Government to lift a ban on aerial culling of feral animals.

keith Muir Colong FoundationThe director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Keith Muir, says the court decision vindicates the actions of the NPWS during the horse cull. “It is an emotive issue, I think that Andrew Fraser beat the story up
to billyo, that really the service was doing the right thing,” he said. “There is definitely no need for any further inquiries into this matter, there’s been no conviction against the Parks Service, there is definitely no further need to pursue a vendetta against the Service on this matter.”

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported: Summarised as follows-
The NPWS said its ban on aerial culling of horses would continue – despite
being cleared of any wrongdoing in the controversial killing of 606 horses at Guy Fawkes River National Park.

The service escaped conviction in the NSW Local Court on animal cruelty charges stemming from a legal brumby cull in October 2000.

gunshipOne horse out of the 606 shot from helicopters was found alive with bullet wounds two weeks later and put down by RSPCA officers.

A magistrate dismissed the charges brought against the service by the RSPCA.

The cull, conducted by NPWS contractors from helicopters over three days, provoked public outrage, forcing aerial shooting of brumbies to be banned.

The NPWS had pleaded guilty in the Downing Centre Local Court, Sydney to one charge of committing an act of cruelty during the cull, acknowledging “unintentional cruelty upon a small number of horses“.

Eleven charges were dropped in exchange for the one guilty plea, which centred on the one mare found alive with two bullets in its body at least a week after the cull.

Magistrate Grahame Hanson recorded no conviction, telling the court: “Without proceeding to conviction the charge is dismissed.” But he ordered the service to pay the charity’s legal costs, amounting to $50,000.

Hanson told the court that while people felt “revulsion” for the cruelty, all the evidence pointed to the culling being carried out professionally by officers of the NPWS.

“Like all activities, an inevitable risk which is least desired . . .may come to pass,” he said.

Brian GilliganNPWS director-general Brian Gilligan said independent experts found the “operation was professionally and humanely carried out . . . But accepted there was evidence that at least one and possibly up to four horses may have unintentionally suffered”.

Mr Gilligan of NPWS said. “It is important to stress that this one charge does not relate to the whole operation, but refers to a small number of horses only. While the service is legally obliged under the National Parks and Wildlife Act to remove feral animals from national parks, including horses from the Guy Fawkes River National Park, it was obviously never intended for any animal to suffer in any way. Aerial culling of horses in national parks has been banned in NSW national parks and reserves and the service now uses a range of other methods to remove horses. The service has now changed its approach to wild horse management, which involves working closely with the RSPCA and the community.”

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2 responses to “Guy Fawkes Brumby Slaughter

  1. Ann Buckman

    September 3, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Amazing how it is ok for an animal to suffer by RSPCA standards. But when it comes to money the RSPCS have double standards. They conficate a horse if it’s under weight but its ok to kill beautiful healthy horses many with foals ay foot.

  2. Carolyn Baker

    February 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Wow, I’m shocked and absolutely appalled. How can Australians lower themselves to this, someone is getting their rocks of by shooting these animals and it’s being allowed, what ever happened to our moral and ethical standards.


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