Parliamentary inquiry into shooting of brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park

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More details have been revealed about the property where more than 500 slaughtered horse carcasses were discovered, with allegations the animals were being killed as part of an illegal horse knackery for pet food.

Allegations of illegal horse slaughtering, the possession of firearms, the presence of sheep testosterone, and the theft of a horse had been referred to the NSW Food Authority as early as 2021, it was revealed during a parliamentary inquiry into the aerial shooting of brumbies at Kosciuszko National Park.

Previously, concerns have been raised whether brumbies rehomed as part of the program had been slaughtered at the property, with Wagga Wagga 266km away from the park.

NSW Food Authority’s compliance director Greg Vakaci said they referred the matter to police, however didn’t follow up on the complaint.

Mr Vakaci added he did not receive advice to the number of carcasses at the property.

His comments come amid ongoing investigations at the site, in a multi-government approach involving the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), NSW Police, NSW Food Authority, Local Land Services, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Racing NSW.

In April, Wagga Wagga City Council confirmed the discovery of April this year, following reports the horses had been left in a dry creek bed.

The council said carcasses were found in varying states of decay, and had been discovered at location throughout the property.

“Some of these carcasses were no more than skeletal remains while others were killed relatively recently,” the council said in a statement.

Further investigations revealed 434kg of animal flesh was seized from the property, comprised of 320kg of horse meat, and 114kg of pig fat, Mr Vakaci told the inquiry on Thursday.

Speaking hypothetically, Mr Vakaci said the presence of different animals products in one facility posed cross-contamination risks.

“There are controls in place that assure certain animals are being processed at particular points, and that comes down to how they’re restrained,” he said.

“Minimising contamination, cross-contamination is really important.

“Hypothetically processing of different species does happen but its controlled through their systems.”

2GB radio host Ray Hadley, who first broke the story on April 2017, will also give evidence at 2.15pm on Wednesday, as will Environmental Minister Penny Sharpe.

Hadley alleged 300 of the horses found on the property were brumbies that had been rehomed from Kosciuszko National Park.

The program has been suspended amid investigations.

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