Update on the Jeparit Ponies

Update: As of 11:40 am local time, only three horses remain alive. But please still act.

Update: We understand that some of the horses were chased until they were exhausted and shot at. There were unprofessional youths involved in the shootings. The ponies died in fear.

The Jeparit ponies came into my Divine Love Healing Circle last night and their souls were released shamanically. Their own anger transmuted and they were truly free. Later, while communing with Grandfather Tree, a little one came and walked beside me in spirit. We did the midnight rounds of our ponies and brumbies together. She said to say, “Thank you to all those with heart.”

When humans love, it makes a difference.

. . . . .

July 15, 2011

I write this update on the Jeparit ponies with a heavy heart and a call for urgent action.

Tao, one of the Jeparit ponies who have been killed

Tao, one of the Jeparit ponies who have been killed

This is a picture of Tao, a soft, gentle man with more courage and dignity than any human I have ever met. He told me he wanted his family saved. He told me he knew he would “go down with the ship”. I offered to buy him and have him here for life.   I did my best to save his life and have sent his photo to the ABC , the Minister for Agriculture and also the DPI.   He was murdered in the last two days of DPI  shooting. I will spare you the pictures of his dead body, and that of the pregnant mare shot in the head. Of the mare and foal standing bleakly and frightened. There was nothing wrong with these ponies. They were innocent victims and I don’t understand how any vet could authorise a mass murder like this. But the Victorian DPI vets did.

What is particularly sad is that these ponies could have had homes. People wanted them. Pony Rescue saved 80 of them. I haven’t given up on some more lives saved today. I light a candle for those murdered so cruelly and will be doing ceremony for them tonight.

Further Pony Rescue had bought and had vet certificates for more ponies which the DPI killed anyway.  When they tried to get the horses,  Pony Rescue were ushered away.   The DPI even brought police in.  A frightening TV cop show type of situation.  And one that I’m not sure is legal.  And indeed an animal lawyer has been contacted.  But too late for the ponies who could have had a second chance at life.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks liasing with Pony Rescue and Friends in Victoria (link goes to their Facebook profile where photos are — see the album), trying to help save the lives of the Jeparit ponies.  I want to thank you so much for your efforts from around the world, showing what a fantastic animal-caring community you are. Your contributions helped Pony Rescue enormously and ponies were able to be rescued, fed, wormed and cared for.

In the last week, I have been patronised, yelled at and hung up on by those in charge of the Jeparit pony massacre. I have never met such a wall of resistance, where you are passed from person to person, no one answers their phones or emails and you feel like a voice in the wilderness, begging for compassion in a world which has turned its back on such noble notions.

Sadly, despite an enormous effort writing emails, making calls to the Department of Primary Industry, to the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, to all kinds of press (here’s a story someone else managed to get placed) and other animal welfare agencies, these ponies have been subjected to the worst kind of abuse, being shot in paddocks and yards in front of each other.

This is what the DPI consider to be “humane” to “alleviate the suffering” of the ponies, who Pony Rescue was rehoming. They refused to work with Pony Rescue, who as you can imagine, were very emotionally involved in the lives of these ponies, wanting the best outcome for them. I still don’t understand why the DPI had to muscle their way in, guns blazing, when a kinder more gentle option was clearly available. This draconian mindset completely baffles me.

It has been a very very painful time, trying to save them, and getting nowhere.

To be an animal sensitive in this kind of environment takes a lot of strength, and hats off to my student Carolyn Bischoff, the Pony Rescue girls Tania  Decker and Jodi Hutson , and  all theother on the ground supporters, because it is always a challenge to watch animals be killed just because some authority says they have to. The girls have been run off their feet and Tania is currently in hospital with MS.   It didnt stop her working around the clock.  They have done their best and we are all feeling that horrible feeling when our best is not good enough. Eighty horses is a fantastic effort. With more time and support, they could have got them all.

I had to tell Tamsin that Tao had been killed. After we had opened our hearts to letting him in – him and any other who would have found sanctuary here. It wasn’t easy. Sadly she learned long ago that people in authority are often wrong. And I teach her, as I teach my students, that we have to know what the right thing to do is by our hearts. Walk our own path, with our own code of ethics. It wasn’t so long ago that our society once believed that women did not have souls. And today it still doesn’t believe that animals do. Animals are still under “dominion” and are enslaved and subject to atrocities.

One of the many letters I wrote to the DPI challenged them on their choice of “humane” action. What kind of world are we creating when the solution is only found in violence?

Why couldn’t they work with Pony Rescue? They could see the girls had done a mammoth job with these innocent little ponies.  The girls could have been supported , not hindered.  Could that have been so hard???

The lucky ponies, by the way, who have gone to new homes are quickly regaining their strength and settling in, enjoying the love and care they are receiving. So DPI excuses of “they are too wild to be rehabilitated” are just ridiculous. And too thin is also a poor excuse. Hands up how many of us have rehabilitated  thin horses. I don’t understand this mindset. I do know that I want to change it.

If you would like to protest this situation, and help try to save the rest of the ponies, please contact Peter Walsh, Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture and Food Security (link goes to his contact page, where you can find email addresses and phone numbers).

Or you can speak to the Department of Primary Industry in Victoria (link goes to their contact page). The Departmental Secretary is Richard Bolt, and the woman in charge of the decision appears to be Deb Morrison (those are both email links).

Or to the press. Please ring all the press you can today.  Go to the Pony Rescue page on facebook above and send them photos.  Make them feel.  The public has to know that these horses had the potential for a second chance.   They woudl have had homes.  they had people who cared.  Make a noise for the ponies who suffered under our so called animal welfare. And maybe we can still save the remainder and let them have love in their life.

I rang the RSPCA by the way.  I was told  this situation was completely under the DPI jurisdiction and the RSPCA could do nothing.  Where is the law that protects animals?

If this sort of behaviour angers you and frustrates you and makes you feel helpless. Then channel it into action. Please call and email any press you can and protest against the murder of these frightened ponies who coud have been given a second chance at life in loving homes.   Question their action.

When I spoke to Simon Price of the Department of Agriculture (03 99385954)  I was assured that this would be done humanely.  That to allay community fears, the RSPCA vets would be on side and absolutely ponies who could be re-homed, would be,   I begged him to talk to his people and make sure they did that.

They didnt.

Thank you for your compassionate action.

Billie Dean


Showing 18 comments

  1. Zoe Langdon

    What a load of rubbish!

  2. Andrew Einspruch

    I have to agree. This sort of behaviour from the so-called authorities is, indeed, rubbish.

  3. Zoe Langdon

    I’m actually referring to Billie’s post. I have been out to the property where these ponies are being held…all I can say is thank goodness the authorities have FINALY stepped in to put an end to this mess. The ponies need not suffer any more. These women don’t deserve a medal…they shold hang their heads in shame!

  4. Madeline

    So Zoe, Your saying that the ponies deserved to be chased around in a vehicle until they reached the point of exhaustion, then shot at to disable and shot up to 4-5 times as they struggled to get up? You want to refer to the property in which I too have visited, maybe actually have a look at the way the DPI carried this out. Getting in inexperienced shooters (a judgement on the lack of direct shots) from the knackery to do their dirty work, even pointing a gun at a person on the property during this whole ordeal.

  5. Zoe Langdon

    Where in my post did I say that these ponies deserved that Madeleine? These women drew so much attention to themselves and these ponies – and it did them more harm than good in the end. Had they used the time that they had more efficiently, maybe a lot more could have been saved. I understand that their intentions were good at some point. but turning down help from a number of welfare organisations, blocking and deleting the concerns of the public on their original Facebook page, chopping and changing their stories along the way…you figure it out. The DPI originally gave the old man twelve months…in the end these rescuers got just less than five months. These ponies deserved nothing less than a humane ending. I am yet to see video footage of these ponies being chased around and shot a number of times. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  6. Andrew Einspruch

    Zoe, I have to disagree with you. We were in direct contact with people on the ground, and a lot more could have been done on all sides to avoid this kind of slaughter. This situation strikes me as a failure of will – the will to find a solution that honoured life. We have spoken to people who have taken on some of these very horses, and they report that the horses are sweet and doing very well. So culling was not the only option. So many more of them could have found love, including at our place, given the chance.

    While neither the original situation nor the rescue effort was perfect, there were people there ready to help, take on horses, give them a home, and rehabilitate them. A small amount of “yes” would have given dozens of animals a second chance. But all there was was “no” by the time we came to hear about it.

    We come to these situations with the idea that all life is precious, asking the questions, “How can we do a better job, and how can we honour life?” The horrific, unprofessional method in which these horses were slaughtered is unacceptable, think what you will of the circumstances that led up to it.

    Being shot at in this manner means the ponies died not in peace, but in terror. Again, not acceptable.

  7. megan williams

    So WHY did the pony rescues turn down help from legitimate equine rescue groups??? I am sad these ponies have been killed, but better that than starve. I am disgusted by the way the story keeps changing- I don’t mean by outsiders, but by the girls themselves on their own facebook pages!!! I applaud DPI for acting instead of letting the pony’s misery continue. They have been for sale (NOT rescued) since at least APRIL, not just a few weeks…If anyone thinks the DPI staff are trigger happy jerks then that is far from the truth, NOBODY enjoys killing so many animals 🙁

  8. Billie Dean

    Thank you for your viewpoint, The heart of the matter is that the pony population was neglected by the old man who was supposed to be their guardian. He was difficult to deal with. The girls had to buy the ponies from him because that was his income. The girls saved many lives and could have rehomed them all if humans could all work together and get along with an eye to highest good (meaning a good life) for the ponies. People in rescue all need to understand that other people are willing to take on animals in need of rehabilitation. That shows compassion. And for some it is a healing journey for both. This is an important point.
    There are many questions in this situation and one I need an answer for is why the DPI decided to kill the ponies that were already bought and had vet certificates to prove they were in rehomable health.. Why didn’t they work with rescue organisations, including Pony Rescues to rehome and rehabilitate these ponies instead of shooting them. Why couldnt they work with others in this case? This is what I really don’t understand.
    There is a mindset of disconnection which believes that animals can be shot like this. They shoot kangaroos. They shoot wild horses. I live in a country town where some people consider it fun to go and shoot wild pigs, kangaroos and any other helpless animal. This is the mindset we need to look at changing. It is not acceptable to take the life of other species as if they don’t matter — and especially in the Jeparit case when so many people were offering to take ponies to rehabilitate them.
    As someone who has been in rescue for over 20 years, I find it very disheartening when I come against this mindset which also happens in pounds around Australia and the world where behavioural testing decrees the life of an animal, not always the fact that they are loved and wanted. I can tell you too many stories of animals lost – just because the “authorities” said. It is this outdated mindset which needs to be changed. Compassion means giving an animal every chance to live and be loved, not shooting them. Like I said, I had my name down for a Jeparit pony. I was denied that joy.
    This is a situation which will polarise people. it is deeply upsetting. But when you can communicate with animals, as I have always been able to, you know their hearts and their pain. And that gives you a strong perspective of compassion and empathy. Believe me, those ponies died in a most dreadful manner, and as a shaman I will work to help them on their soul journeys. I do this as a matter of course as part of my work for all animals who have died in violence and unwillingly. Animals do have souls, just like us.
    Yes, the situation needed more aid. I believe the girls were working with Project Hope as well. I take my hat off to them because it is a huge undertaking,. And they just kept going the best they could to save as many animals as they could.
    Thank you again for your contribution to this discussion. Let’s make a stance so all animals are safe and protected. This is why I have started the International Deep Peace Foundation.

  9. Madeline

    The people that carried out the job on behalf of the DPI were knackery workers, I very much think they do not care much for horses when they slaughter them on a daily basis, these horses did NOT have a quick or humane death

  10. Billie Dean

    I KNOW the ponies were terrified out of their minds. I lived it with them. It was not humane. So I completely agree. The shooters did not care and showed no compassion at all.

    PS They are only at peace now because I released their souls shamanically. They were traumatised, earthbound and angry. NOW they are free. But only now, after shamanic work.

  11. Zoe Langdon

    And how do you kinow this Billie? Have you seen actual footage of the accusations that are being made re the DPI? Or are you merely relying on the information fed to you by the people in chaege of the rescue? I’m sorry, but until there is evidence of such an unjust end to the lives of these ponies, how can you be sure that this is the truth? I await the Youtube video that Tania Decker stated that she was going to post showing DPI shooters chasing these ponies around until they were weak enough to shoot. Instead so far, all that has been posted is a vid of the gruesome aftermath that we have already seen on Facebook. So where is the PROOF?

    The contradictory statements made by Jodi and Co have caused me to be rather skeptical of the information that they are feeding to the public. It’s amazing how one can get their stories mixed up when on live radio, and without being able to put any forethought into responses. 😉

  12. Anna

    Legtimate in whose eyes?? I know the ponies would not have been concerned with such judgments, why are humans??
    Blessings to all Billie.

  13. Melissa Brooks

    Hi Billie,
    This is extremely sad and unfortunately a very typical outcome due to the involvement of a government department. I completely agree with you – why kill the horses if there is an alternative solution? It doesn’t make sense and it reminds me of one of my rescue efforts when I had to deal with my local council…
    I took in a stray piglet and while the sweet girl was staying with my friend who had a more appropriate yard than I, she got out and was put in the pound. When I found this out I told them her story, explained that I had found her a forever home and could they please release her without charging me the $200 fee. After much to-ing and fro-ing with those in charge (and an article in the local paper expressing my outrage) the outcome was – Pay the fine or she goes to market in two days. (This was a meat market). They won, I paid. I just couldn’t believe that they were more interested in making a quick 200 bucks than seeing this piglet go to a family where she could live out her life. Money, money, money.
    I bet there was money involved for the DPI. Why else wouldn’t they just let Pony Rescue continue with their great re-homing work… and let the bought horses go to their forever homes!! That is madness.
    I commend you for all your efforts Billie. It sounds as though you did everything you could.
    I regularly write to councils regarding the atrocities that are Puppy Farms and it is extremely frustrating because the laws that protect animals are practically non-existent. I think many voices have a chance to bring about change (ie the 200,000 that spoke out about the live exports footage) but few voices seem to have very little impact.
    Reaching animal lovers through welfare organisations and encouraging everyone to act is crucial when facing an urgent situation like that of the Jeparit Ponies. I will certainly be letting the DPI know what I think about their actions and I encourage everyone who reads Billie’s blog to do the same. Lets all work together, to change Australia’s pathetic animal welfare laws. Together we can be one loud voice for those who have none. 🙂

  14. Lee

    Sorry to hear this has happened. Thank you to everyone who tried to help them. I hope you’re able to bring them healing from what they’ve endured, Billie, and that they’re now in a better place of love, safe from human cruelty.

  15. Emma miller

    I have been watching this story for the last few months,everyone has their own opinion which they are entitled to but in the end its not about us its about these poor ponies.I do agree that some should have been put down(in the correct way)but the ones the could have been re homed should have been.How would people feel if they were seeing their families shot in front of them not knowing weather to run for your life or try and save your loved ones.This is so so sad,i have to stop following this story as it is affecting me to much to sad i wish i could help more but i think it is to late dpi are going to do what they want.My thoughts are with these poor ponies may they rest in peace.My hearts are with you ,you poor little buggers…yours faithfully Emma Miller.

  16. Natalie

    The authorities need to justify their existence and pay. So they act out of fear sadly at the expense of the ponies in this case. To say that there is not enough food and space and healing available for those ponies is only a perception, built on the foundation to justify and argue the correctness of their own actions, and pay packets at the end of the day. Their judgement day will come, no one can run from karma.

    This is what many animal advocates and lovers are trying to change, to have people understand what it means to act from the heart rather than out of fear. We are all responsible for each others destinies, some chose to accept and act, some to sit back and judge those involved. Whether we decide to accept this fact or not lies in each individuals consciousness.

    Humans are the ‘poor’ souls that need to learn that no other animals on this planet do what humans do to other life forms. We have control and are abusing this power in selfish ways that are not in tune with nature. We have lost our way. As conscious beings we have a choice, to act, and not just accept for granted this behavior from people who have been allocated a so called ‘authority’ title (which is another debate all together) and think that we are powerless.

    Let the ponies pain and suffering be a lesson, and let us act in more unison next time to prevent history from repeating itself. We are responsible for what has happened and what will happen. Whether humans choose to admit or not, WE CAN make a difference…as long as there is plenty of room our hearts. So let your heart grow from these experiences. This is another sacrifice, let us open our third eye and see the gift so that their pain and suffering can help us defeat human notions of fear and powerlessness towards so called ‘authorities’.

    Love and light to all beings involved in this situation in hope that we act with even more love and courage tomorrow, the day after, and every day after that.

  17. jodi hutson

    It’s now the 4th anniversary of the deaths of the jeparit ponies.
    I’d never seen this page before today but wanted to say thankyou to those above for their comments.
    Zoe Langdon the videos were never released due to the hurt they would cause to the people watching them and to us who would have been criticized for showing them. We tried our best in very trying circumstances. The owner of the ponies was a difficult man and we had to abide by his rules and restrictions. Yes we could have done better with more experience but we did save 147 ponies and 108 were shot. We had agreed that some needed to be destroyed but mainly the older stallions and we did load a few to be taken to a knackery
    Anyway RIP to the ones destroyed . We have lots of successes with the survivors and they are wonderful ponies

Leave a Comment

We're working out the details of the new store, and are getting the items in place. If something looks wonky, or you can't find something, send an email to info@billiedean.com, and we'll look into it. Cheers, Andrew Dismiss