Feral horses (Equus caballus) can cause significant environmental damage and losses to rural industries. Although considered pests, feral horses are also a resource, providing products such as pet meat for the domestic market and meat for human consumption for the export market. Control methods include trapping, mustering, exclusion fencing, ground shooting and shooting from helicopters.
Feral horses are mustered from helicopter, motorbike or on horseback, sometimes with the assistance of coacher horses. Once mustered into yards, net traps or fenced paddocks, the horses are usually sold to abattoirs for slaughter which can offset the costs of capture and handling. Less commonly they are sold as riding horses or relocated to reserves or horse sanctuaries. Where there is no market for them or where removal may be too costly or impractical e.g. in conservation areas or remote areas without access to transportation, horses are sometimes destroyed by shooting in the yards.
This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override the legislation that applies in the relevant State or Territory jurisdiction. The SOP should only be used subject to the applicable legal requirements (including OH&S) operating in the relevant jurisdiction.
|Publisher||Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre|
|Institution||Invasive Animals CRC|
|Region||Australia - national|
|Documents||HOR003: Mustering of feral horses [530 kb PDF]|
|Secondary title||Standard Operating Procedure|