All brumbies sold
By UTE SCHULENBERG
SATURDAY'S auction in Dorrigo of 34 Guy Fawkes brumbies saw all the horses sold at prices ranging from $50 to $350.
Auctioneer Brian Darby said having the heritage horse connection certainly generated a lot of interest.
The brumbies were the remaining stock of a trial removal program that brought 114 horses out of Guy Fawkes River National Park between April and November last year.
Erica Jessup was one of the team that removed the horses and has been involved in their care on behalf of the Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association ever since.
"We believe that while some of the horses will end p at the meatworks, most went to private homes," Ms Jessup said.
"The association is determined to do the right thing both by the horses and by the national parks, who are financing the removal of the horses."
"Even if a small percentage go to the meatworks, it is better than seeing 100 per cent of them being shot in the park."
But Jan Carter, of Save the Brumbies, disagrees.
"We deplore the actions of the association that would allow any horses to end up at the abattoirs," Ms Carter said.
"Suitable alternatives were offered for homing the horses and were rejected."
Ms Jessup said the offer made was not formal and the group was not willing to pay for the horses.
She said the sale was necessary to raise funds for the agistment of the small number the association has kept for breeding purposes plus new stock expected when the next round of removals from the park starts in the next few months.
North Coast regional manager for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Alan Jeffery, said the ultimate aim was to have the Guy Fawkes River free of horses.
"Our draft management plan has the removal of all horses from the park as its bottom line, but makes the animals available to people interested in conserving them," Mr Jeffery said.
"Disposal of the horses is an issue of supply and demand and while it would be ideal for all to be found a home the reality is that some go to the abattoirs."
Ms Jessup said the association was trying to find 'middle ground'.
"If the horses stay in the park, the tree-lovers are on your case and if any go to the meatworks, the horse lovers are upset."