The woman who put the brumby aerial cull on the public’s radar is being inundated with a tirade of abuse and threats.
Keyboard warriors are using the Hunter Valley Brumby Association Facebook page to blame her for the herd’s destruction at Singleton army base a few days before Christmas.
Others are calling her mobile in the early hours of the morning and leaving disgusting anonymous messages and threats like “watch your back”.
Kath Massey, the association’s president, said the blame game was unproductive and had to stop.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks. People are focusing on laying blame rather than trying to prevent it elsewhere. They should be putting their energy into preventing more aerial culls and helping brumbies, or other animals,she said
“What happened to the Singleton brumbies could be used as a precedence to use aerial culling in other areas. We need to work together to put pressure on the government to make it illegal.”
Ms Massey says the Department of Defence never consulted her about the cull, and she was not invited to a Defence meeting on December 17, which the NSW RSPCA attended.
Defence started talking to her in the days after the cull and said it would provide figures on the death toll. She is yet to receive that information.
In a statement issued after the cull, Defence said no feral horses had been sighted on the base.
But Ms Massey said that meant the shooter had targeted the entire herd, including pregnant mares and foals.
Ms Massey heard about the cull from a source a few days before it happened.
She contacted the media, relevant politicians, Defence and shared the situation on social media.
It’s too easy to make a scapegoat out of someone through social media. I’ve got a thick skin, it’s not affecting me, but the bigger picture is it makes people think twice about getting involved,she said.
“Some people are already saying they have the means to set up their own rescue, or to volunteer, but why would they do it if this is the kind of thing they are going to face?”
Ms Massey has spent 10 years helping brumbies.
In that time she has seen her paddocks destroyed, her personal bank account depleted and has been physically and emotionally wrecked to the point that sometimes she has found herself resenting the animals she so desperately wants to save.
The three orphaned foals rescued from Singleton Army Base last year will remain with the association for life as a tribute to the herd.
Tigerlilly and Brad were rescued in November and Ms Massey is feeding them on foal formula.
She is the primary carer of several brumbies – including two orphaned foals that require formula, as well as a sick dog, cat, goats and newly adopted chickens.
This isn’t the first time she has been a target of abuse.
“Social media can be your biggest alley, but in a heartbeat it can be your worst enemy,” she said.
“The animals are easy to deal with; it’s the people that will suck the life out of you … the person that will never donate … the person that will never pick up the phone and talk to you personally to ask of the facts, the person that will never offer to volunteer their time to help, the person with a keyboard, or worse, a smart phone with them day and night.”