When Modesto Domínguez arrived at the mountain on Saturday at seven o'clock in the afternoon, one of the mares still breathed. His skull was sunken, as were his other three dead companions, but his suffering had dragged on since Thursday, the day the ranchers suspect that the killing took place. In a particular corridor of death, the four animals remained locked with a latch along with five other horses that saved their lives, lined up, one behind the other, between the two iron railings of a deworming corridor for cattle in the municipality of Pontevedra. from Oia, south of Vigo.
The Seprona has opened this morning an investigation to discover the authors of this attack to a thousand-year-old species in the process of disappearing, the garranos, wild equidae but with owner who inhabit the sierra and who annually star in the traditional "rapas das bestas" in Galicia.
The mares belonged to four different owners of several municipalities of the region, and if it is a settling of accounts nobody explains why. Farmers say that these animals, markedly territorial, "did not bother anyone." They lived on high, in a very secluded area known as O Areeiro (Viladesuso, Oia), which only sometimes happens "some cyclist". To get to the place where the corridor or deworming hose is located, you have to cross a one kilometer track without asphalting, and to corral the wild horses there you have to have experience.
"When I arrived it was already dark, there was fog and it was raining," says Domínguez, president of the Association of Gandeiros de Cabalos do Monte da Groba"I opened the door and the five animals that were alive escaped, today we will look for them to see how they are, because we still do not know if they were also beaten." While the agents of the Civil Guard of Tui (Pontevedra) and the veterinarians of the Xunta displaced to the place take samples of the macabre scene, the cattlemen aim that the used weapon "surely was an iron bar" that remains thrown next to the narrow structure where the mares died. They believe that "the intention was to kill the nine", but that "some noise" or any other circumstance frustrated their objective.
The first to discover the massacre were, on Saturday afternoon, several cow owners who live in freedom in the same spot. In fact, this manga built by the Community of Montes de Viladesuso is only used for cattle. The metal and concrete structure gives service to the veterinarian, who confines the cattle to her in her periodic reviews. The wild horses were in a different terrain, and those who orchestrated their killing "had to go through two fences with them" before pushing them into the funnel leading to the deworming corridor. "Impossible that it was a single person," says Arsenio Pérez, president of the Community of Montes de Viladesuso.
"This hurts us all," laments this neighborhood representative. "Currently there are no conflicts between the owners of horses and cows, and these horses in particular did not give anyone problems, they were known to be there, but they did not cause damage, they did not go down to inhabited areas and nobody saw them." This attack is "inexplicable", "it can not be more than the work of a psychopath," he protests, "to damage the living heritage that we have: these animals that are so important for the maintenance of this mountain, where we did not have fires since 2006"
On Saturday, after releasing the living and discovering the dead, Modesto Domínguez summoned all equine owners of Monte da Groba and passed the chip reader through the corpses to identify them. All the beaten mares were wearing it, as required by a 2012 decree issued by the Consellería de Medio Rural, against which the owners of wild horses in Galicia rebelled because they considered the measure economically unviable. The conflict resulted in a long judicial campaign and last September the last resort of two livestock associations ended at the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.
As Serafín González, CSIC scientist and president of the Sociedade Galega de Historia Natural (SGHN), remembers, the obligation to implant microchips to the garrams, a species at risk of disappearing after inhabiting "the mountains of the north of the peninsula for 20,000 years years, "has caused a drastic reduction of the cabin for six years. If before the decree, in the Serra da Groba there were about 1,300, now the specimens total approximately 700.
"According to recent genetic studies," the SGHN emphasizes, "the garranos were already here in the Pleistocene and are one of the two ancestors of the current horses, or horses proper". Between them there are "genetic, ecological, ethological, morphological and physiological differences". In its decree, "the Xunta ignored the exceptions to the compulsory identification that had been contemplated by the European Commission for equidae that live in the wild or semi-wild", highlights the environmental defense group. "And since then, in Galicia, the Town Councils can decide the sale in public bidding or the shipment to slaughter in slaughterhouses of the garranos that locate without a chip in the mountains. "But the four mares tortured in Oia complied with that law so alien to their life in complete freedom.