Distressing footage: Animal welfare probe by RSPCA
THE RSPCA and Biosecurity Queensland are investigating claims that horses weren't given adequate protection from the heat at the Laidley Horse Sale Yards at the weekend.
People at the sale contacted the RSPCA saying they were concerned wounded horses and foals were left without adequate shade or water as temperatures hit 32 degrees in the afternoon.
They say their claims are supported by footage and photographs depicting convulsing, sweating injured animals, and that the dehydrated horses and foals gulped water bystanders poured from drink bottles.
The RSPCA confirmed it was investigating and its findings were to be delivered to Biosecurity Queensland.
Patricia Hoelmer of the Australian Equine Unification Scheme, who was one of those who complained to the RSPCA, took aim at a perceived gap in legislation.
"We cannot get the government to act.
"The system is broken and horses fall through the cracks," she said, referring to laws which classify horses as either livestock or companion animals.
The animals' welfare falls under the jurisdiction of the RSPCA or the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries depending on the state. She says this system does not ensure the animals' protection.
The RSPCA said it had previously investigated claims the conditions at the Laidley saleyard.
"We have had issues with Laidley before and we thought that had all been sorted," RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.
"They planted some trees but they're not giving off enough shade and more needs to be done.
"A lot of people were concerned, that's why our inspector drove down there."
One of those who was concerned was Alicia Palmer who told the RSPCA one mare "was dripping in sweat and looked like she had colic from all of the stress". She said she raised her concerns with management.
A Biosecurity Queensland spokeswoman said: "Biosecurity Queensland is aware of concerns raised at the Laidley Saleyards and the matter was handled over the weekend. Biosecurity Queensland will continue to work with the Laidley Saleyards around the concerns raised."
She did not elaborate on whether any further action would be taken.
Management of the Laidley Horse Sale Yards declined The Chronicle's request for comment.