By Mark Carroll
Mickey Mouse, an Australian brumby, was attacked at home in his paddock sometime during the night of October 7, 2013. Investigators concluded Mickey was approached in his paddock by a person or persons and stabbed through the chest. After delivering the first blow the knife was then pulled upwards before being removed leaving a gaping hole in Mickey’s chest. Unaware of his plight his owners, a retired couple, did not realise his dilemma until daylight the next morning.
Mickey is a one-year-old brumby who was caught in the forest near Rosewood in N.S.W. After being held captive for a short time he was whisked across the Victorian border to the Echuca Sale yards where he escaped the knackery for the rock bottom price of ten dollars and came to be known as “Mickey, the ten-dollar brumby.” His winter coat covered up his emaciated body. His jaw was out of alignment and his body riddled with bugs inside and out. One of his eyes was injured and had a third of its bottom lid missing. If that was not enough for the little Aussie to cope with all of his gums were impacted with grass seeds. He was not expected to last the night. His lifesaving owner, Susan Howman, expected to arise next morning and give the ‘poor little bugger’ a decent burial. Mickey had other ideas of cause. He fought all night to stay alive. Rising the next morning Susan and her husband expected to confront the worse case scenario- burial.
Overjoyed that Mickey had lasted the night Susan did not have to think twice in saying “If your going to fight Mickey we’re going to fight with you.” From that moment on, every possible means were put in place to help nurse Mickey back to full health. Slowly and step by step Mickey learnt the best of what humankind could be like – caring and compassionate. From equine vets and dentists, medicines to horse garments, slowly and bit by bit, this little Aussie battler empowered the humans who fought on his behalf, epitomizing, for both horse and human, the fighting spirit and hardiness of Australia and the high country which shone bright through Mickey.
As one hurdle after another was cleared, the little brumby was on the mend. Then the unthinkable challenged him once more as he contracted pneumonia. This battle would be no different. He would fight like hell to keep going!
Just when Susan thought she had seen off the last of Mickey’s trouble a new problem was discovered- a botched gelding thought to be done the old way. Mickey still had a testicle that he wasn’t supposed to have. Susan’s equine vet examined him and looking at the mess in his scrotum, they concluded no vet would have made such a mess of the area. Mickey had to be gelded again but this time it would be done ethically and humanely. The poor little brumby had been to ‘hell and back’.
In his new home, Mickey had become accustomed to the gentle touch of a human hand yet would see that trust in humankind be his enemy on the night of Monday the 7th of October, 2013. Climbing through a fence at the rear of Mickey’s paddock, it is believed that a perpetrator(s) walked up to Mickey without incident and thrust a razor sharp knife deep and upward into his chest. They then left Mickey’s paddock walking along the same path they had made for themselves when entering.
WHY? Why Mickey? What did this innocent little horse do to deserve this?
Mickey’s owner Sue, like many of us abhors cruelty and fights hard to see that all animals, and especially horses, get a fair go. After all, that is the Australian Way. It is what has made the country, culture and people successful and strong. Unfortunately, the humans who did this show the ugly reality and cruel and Un-Australian side of our people, not to mention the horse trade. It is humankind at his worst. Why Mickey was a clear message for Susan to back off! A retired woman who has dedicated her life, tirelessly helping to rehome the throw-a-way horses that find their way to her. It is akin to assaulting a baby in their own home who is in the nursery sleeping and out of immediate sight of mum and dad.
This is a case where Factions in Australia have stooped to the lowest ebbs of humanity when it comes to protecting their reputations and cash flows no matter at what expense. In this case THE HORSE IS EXPENDABLE and as social science research has well documented, what is done by humans to animals, humans will go on to do to other humans.
UPDATE: Susan’s vet attended to Mickey and he had thirty to forty stitches inserted and administered with antibiotics. The vet is confident that Mickey will make a full recovery. No vital organs were damaged in the attack. He was standing up this morning eating his breakfast without too much discomfort. He is the epitome of the fighting spirit of our brumbies- so regal and refined, so inspiring and spiritually empowering. An ‘Aussie battler’ with true grit, determination and durability. These are the horses that built our nation, served alongside our soldiers in war and stood beside us when we needed them most. K.D. Lang sings in one her songs “I would walk through the snow barefoot if you’d open up your door.” We would all walk through the snow barefoot for you Mickey Mouse!