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Australian alpine brumbies win reprieve in heated High Country battle

Edwina Mason 19 May 2020
Wild brumbies running through the Victorian Alps.

The battle for the future of brumbies in the Victorian Alps continues in the Victorian Supreme Court, with Omeo-based mountain cattleman Phil Maguire obtaining an injunction to halt a planned cull until June 1. Photo: Supplied.

Victoria’s iconic alpine brumbies, which were due to be culled by shooters from Monday, 18 May on behalf of the Victorian Government, have won a reprieve.

The intervention comes in the middle of heated debate over plans to manage 4000 wild horses in the northern sections of the Kosciusko National Park and wilderness on the NSW and ACT side of the border. While current NSW Government proposals include rehoming the horses, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean has consistently refused to rule out some shooting as a possibility.

A last-minute legal intervention by Omeo-based mountain cattleman, Phil Maguire, helped convince the Victorian State government to refrain from embarking on its shooting program until June 1.

Mr Maguire and his wife Louise made an urgent application to the Victorian Supreme Court on Sunday night to prevent the planned cull.

The injunction was not required in the end because the government agreed to halt the program pending a court case on Tuesday, 26 May. Depending on the outcome of the case, the shooting may never happen.

Mr Maguire said his objective was to have brumbies added to the National Heritage List and managed sustainably and humanely. Where numbers are found to be excessive, he would favour rehoming the horses.

The brumbies due to be killed were located in the far east of Victoria between the high country town of Benambra and the Snowy River.

Mr Maguire, whose alpine grazing property borders the Bogong unit of Alpine National Park is also fighting to save the Bogong brumbies from eradication.

He said these horses have important heritage value with a proven genetic link to Walers ridden by Australian Light Horse troops in the Middle East during World War 1.

Bogong brumbies are descended from horses bred on the Bogong High Plains by the McNamara and Young families for the Waler trade. The two families used to graze up to 3000 head on the Bogongs, and muster about 600 every year and drive them to the Wodonga Waler sales. Colts were allowed to breed before being gelded and sold.

Mr Maguire is planning to muster the 100 remaining Bogong brumbies and depasture them on his property until another solution can be found.

Comment has been sought from Parks Victoria but About Regional has not received a response to date.

What's Your Opinion?

5 Responses to Australian alpine brumbies win reprieve in heated High Country battle

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Stephen S 2:51 pm 19 May 20

Maguire is being totally selfish, because in no way does he take responsibility for the bottomless environmental costs and utter management futility of his jingoistic fantasies.

So what are the grounds of the application exactly, apart from the usual tosh of “culture” (not mine) and “heritage” (not mine)? It’s too noisy? The horses are unarmed? They’re using the wrong kind of bullets?

Leanne Sky 5:31 pm 19 May 20

This story is confusing as Phil Macquire is only mustering the remaining 100 or so remaining Brimbies to his place after Vic Parks plan to eliminate them all last Sunday night.
With hours to go Phil got it halted pending the court hearing Monday morning.
The judge decided to grant an injunction holding the shooting off until next Tuesday to give Phil and others the chance to go in and muster as many as they could to Phil’s own property so no matter what the court decides next Tuesday some of these totally unique Brumbies are still alive.
The Snowy Brumbies cull is set for next month… I haven’t had time to read there management plan to see if the 4000 they want to take is it or do they intend to eliminate the snowy brumbies as well

iChaz 3:14 pm 20 May 20

When someone can prove to me that horses are Australian native marsupials with soft feet, I will sign a petition to save them.

Donna 8:50 pm 23 May 20

Keep the brumbies. Part of our heritage. Keep the numbers in check by allowing farmers to sell any they take on.

kylie rollans 3:44 pm 26 May 20

Opinions are abstractions to your mind.
What I am about is science and facts with a opened mind.
If a job can be reformed by updated management plan
then this is the way to speak the language of Federal Government
who we need to be speaking the same language to.
As soon as we create sides of opposition of them and us
we have built a wall preventing any growth of open clear communication.
Stick with science and facts and creating a healthy debate with pros and cons
in priority order combined with everyone on board in the productive role of what and where they can.

What ultimately what wants to be heard is the relevant management plans up and going and a fact becomes Brumby management …
is active/ pending?
What is measured ultimately is what we are doing
not so much saying.
Opinion stems from emotion and the individuals own experience and this why opinion
is a wide based response question .

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