Animal welfare groups have released video showing a group of wild horses and sheep being taken to an undisclosed location, allegedly in an attempt to force them into sex slavery.
In the video, filmed by the Australian Humane Society (AHSS), two female horses are seen lying on the grass at an undisclosed farm in Queensland’s south-west, before being removed by a number of people.
They are then left to roam on the farm for a while, before the group are taken back to the barn where they are then filmed performing oral sex on a male horse.
The AHSS said the animals are being held captive for the “consent of the owners”, but that it was unclear if the men involved were being paid for the work or if the animals were merely “sick”.
“These horses and goats have been repeatedly exposed to the risk of sex trafficking and are being kept as sexual property in this country,” said AHSS President and CEO, Heather Henson.
“This video exposes the horrendous reality that many of these animals are suffering because of the conditions in which they are kept, which is a violation of their human rights.”
Australian authorities are working to find out what has happened to the animals, who were captured in August and are believed to be on the loose.
Henson said that despite the cruelty involved, it was clear that the animal owners wanted to get on with the business of raising and breeding the animals.
There was a “culture of cruelty” among owners and the animals themselves, she said.
Australian police are also investigating the case.
While the horses were being taken away, Henson said there was a strong possibility that more animals may have been taken from the property.
Australia has a number to the number of horse-related deaths in recent years, with at least 22,000 of the animals being euthanised.
According to the AHSS, between January and October 2016, about 1,200 horses were taken into captivity, including one male horse that was being held by a farm.
One of the horses was euthanased after he was found to be suffering from chronic pain and vomiting, the organisation said.