Following the mysterious deaths of 16 polo ponies, one highly experienced equine veterinarian describes the situation as “unacceptable” and cites the complete lack of information available as worrying.
The ponies deaths happened while they were on a truck en route to Melbourne after the Tasmania’s premier polo event at Barnbougle.
Michael Morris (Vet) suggested there was “ample time” since the incident for all of the necessary tests and autopsies to be completed.
“Six months after the event the horse-owning public are entitled to know something about what may have contributed to the deaths of these ponies,” he said.
“Under normal circumstances you would get autopsy results within well under a month. Admittedly we are dealing with 16 cases here, and I can understand that sometimes results are inconclusive.
“But I think it is stretching the imagination to suggest they are going to be inconclusive in 16 carcasses.
“The fact that there was a lot of [dead ponies] would certainly take the relevant authorities a bit more time than usual. But six months is just extraordinary.”
Dr Morris said it was critical to get some answers.
“At the moment we are being kept completely in the dark and that is just not acceptable,” he said.
A Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) spokesman said the investigation into the deaths was ongoing.
“As it is an active investigation more detailed information cannot not be provided at this stage,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“The department has provided information to the RSPCA and the equine industry, which said at this stage no ongoing concerns have been identified in relation to the ongoing movement of horses or other livestock across Bass Strait.
“The department will continue to keep the industry informed of relevant information. More detailed information will be provided when it is possible to do so without compromising the investigation.”