WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: The discovery of 22 dead horses and another eight emaciated animals on a Queensland property has left locals “disgusted”.
The starved horses – seven of which were determined to be former racehorses – were recently found on a property near Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, by a neighbour, according to The Courier Mail.
The RSPCA, Department of Agriculture (DAF) and Fisheries and the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission have since been alerted to incident.
A woman who lives in the area claimed on Facebook on Friday that the RSPCA referred the case to the DAF because of the number of horses.
She also posted several images of the dead animals laying on the dirt.
Biosecurity Queensland told Yahoo News Australia inspectors and a vet visited the property in the Gowrie Mountain area and directed the horses' owner to feed them.
“A direction has been served on the person in charge with regard to the ongoing care of animals on this property,” a spokesman said.
Biosecurity Queensland are investigating the incident, a Queensland Racing Integrity Commission spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia.
“The owner of the horses is not and has not been a licensed racing industry participant,” the spokesperson said.
“Among the deceased and horses in serious condition seven can be identified as ex-race horses.”
The response to the animal deaths so far has been "totally unacceptable”, according to the Australian Farm Animal Rescue Matters founder Marjorie Pagani.
Ms Pagani told The Courier Mail she has been feeding the horses out of her own pocket after their owner declined her offer to take them.
She said she has arranged another drop off of food on Tuesday.
When the animals were fed by a farmhand following complaints last week, Ms Pagani says the horses were given "mouldy garden mulch".
"We are the only ones keeping the horses alive, just, and probably not for much longer,” she said.
She urged government agencies to take more action and for the remaining eight horses to be placed in foster care.
"It's one of the worst cases you could possibly see, and I can't understand why the department won't remove them. How bad does it have to be?" she said.
"They're in acres of dirt, we have foster carers ready to help.”
The animals’ owner, who has not been named, told The Toowoomba Chronicle the horses appeared to be fine when he saw some of them two months ago.
He lives almost 1000kms away in Mackay, but said he has hired a man to go to the property every couple of days to provide the horses water and food.
"I'm as upset about the whole thing as anybody else is, I love horses and I'm very sad about what's happened,” he said.
An overwhelming number of people responding on social media were appalled by the deaths of the horses, with many locals offering their help or supplies.
“Disgusting. I own racehorses, I’m also a trainer. I don’t know how people could let this happen,” a woman who lives in the area told Yahoo News Australia.
“I’m in shock, never in my life have I seen something so shocking,” another person wrote.
“If you can’t afford to feed the animals and take proper care of them, then don’t own them,” another said.
Yahoo Australia has contacted RSPCA Queensland for comment.
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