Mystery over mass pony deaths
A FORMER captain of Australia’s polo team is demanding answers after 16 of his ponies were discovered “dead and cold” soon after disembarking the Spirit of Tasmania.
Andrew Williams returned to Victoria with his A-grade ponies after competing in the Barnbougle Polo event in Tasmania on January 20.
He claims the ponies were “dead within an hour of the crossing” and said the tragedy had cost him a “priceless” breeding line that could spell the end of his business.
Mr Williams, owner of the NSW-based Willo polo team, described the horrifying moment he opened the door to his horse truck. “Within an hour of leaving the boat, I had 16 horses dead and cold, and two fighting to survive,” he said.
They were taken to the Wagga Wagga equine hospital, which is conducting autopsies.
The ponies travelled on the Spirit of Tasmania overnight on January 28.
An A-grade polo pony can be worth more than $100,000.
The Department of Primary Industries in Tasmania is leading an investigation with chief veterinary officers in Victoria, Tasmania and NSW.
The operators of the Spirit of Tasmania declined to comment.