Bev McArthur MP, Member for Western Victoria, Media Release, 21 November 2021
A petition of more than 1150 signatures has been tabled in the Victorian Parliament requesting the Government abandon aerial and ground shooting of wild horses.
The Government wants to remove 560 brumbies from the Bogong High Plains and Eastern Alps this year.
Petitioners argue that the population counts, and the environmental damage apportioned to the horses, are wildly exaggerated.
Member for Western Victoria Bev McArthur, tabled the petition.
“The environmental arguments behind the cull are inadequate – the damage done by other feral species such as pigs, deer, dogs, cats and foxes is far greater – as is the damage done by uncontrolled noxious weeds,” Mrs McArthur said.
“The wild horses or brumbies actually support natural diversity and reduce fire risk by reducing undergrowth fuel loads.”
Mrs McArthur said other online petitions have assembled 180,000 signatures to the brumby cause.
Groups have united over the management of the brumbies and include the Brumby Action Group, Australian Brumby Alliance, Barmah Brumby Preservation Group and Heritage Brumby Advocates of Australia.
The groups – and the petition – argue for legislation to protect the brumbies and a community advisory panel to guide the conservation of sustainable brumby mobs in the National Parks.
“What they quite sensibly want is the gentle, and systematic, removal of agreed numbers of brumbies with suitable time given for rehoming and adoption of these horses.
“It avoids the unnecessary and cruel shooting program – from either land or air.
“Such shootings result in animal cruelty, protracted deaths and festering injuries to horses shot inaccurately. Dying animals and depleted carcasses further exacerbates the expansion of feral carnivore as shooting leaves them bleeding in the forest floor.
“For it to happen now – in foaling season – is unconscionable.
“The purists in the Department, fail to understand the horses’ cultural and historical place in Australia’s history or within the local landscape.
“This antipathy has forged the current dogmatic position from the Government which has not been led by science.
“And where guidelines have been prepared, they are being ignored.
“What has happened to the best Management and Pestsmart Codes of Practice? Or the Standard Operating Procedures and Model Codes of Practice?” she asked.
The petition was titled Wild Horse Control, but Mrs McArthur said the sanitised description would more accurately be described as Shooting Brumbies.
“The trapping and shooting of brumbies must stop.
“The environmental reasons are weak, the alternatives unconsidered, and the counter-arguments ignored. This is a pointless exercise, with ideology and stubbornness the only conceivable explanation.”