Feral horses (Equus caballus) can cause significant environmental damage and losses to rural industries. Although considered a pest, 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 trapped in yards at a water source or occasionally by using mineral blocks, feed or lure mares as a enticement. Trapping at water involves the construction of fences around water points with a number of one-way gates or ramps. The gates/ramps allow horses to enter the trap and have access to water but prevent them leaving.
Once trapped, 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 costly or impractical e.g. in conservation areas or remote areas without access to transportation, the horses are sometimes destroyed by shooting in the trap yard.
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.
|Region||Australia - national|
|Documents||HOR004: Trapping of feral horses [450 kb PDF]|
|Secondary title||Standard Operating Procedure|