Journal article

Assessment of animal welfare for helicopter shooting of feral horses

Jordan O Hampton, Glenn P Edwards, Brendan D Cowled, David M Forsyth, Timothy H Hyndman, Andrew L Perry, Corissa J Miller, Peter J Adams, Teresa Collins



Context Helicopter shooting is an effective tool for reducing feral horse (Equus caballus) populations that are considered overabundant. However, this tool has been less commonly used in recent years because of concerns about animal-welfare outcomes, which have not previously been quantified. Aims The aims of the present study were to assess the helicopter shooting of feral horses to determine (1) the duration of stress, (2) the frequency of adverse animal-welfare events and (3) the influence of explanatory variables in determining welfare outcomes. Methods We quantified the welfare outcomes of three helicopter shooting programs in central Australia during 2013 and 2015. We conducted ante-mo..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank all contributing shooters, helicopter pilots and field staff for accommodating our study. We thank the traditional owners of our field sites for access to their land. We thank Quentin Hart, Bidda Jones and Magdalena Zabek for helping design the study, and Charles Caraguel for help with data analysis. Comments by Malcolm Kennedy and Viv Read greatly improved the manuscript. This project was funded by the Robert Hammond Foundation, Murdoch University, and the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission.