17 May 2020

Riders and shooters to face off in Victorian Alps as horse lovers mount rescue mission

| Edwina Mason
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Victorian Alps

Perilous and wintery conditions await snipers and horse riders as they face off in the Victorian Alps tonight. Photo: Australian Brumby Alliance.

UPDATED, 11 PM: An application for an injunction preventing the Victorian Government from shooting any brumbies in the Victorian Alpine Country has now been filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria. This injunction application will now be heard on Monday (May 18) at 10.30 am

May 17, 8 pm: It’s a showdown with all the markings of Banjo Patterson’s colt from Old Regret, the one that got away. This weekend, a quiet insurgency is taking place in the Victorian Alps that otherwise would go unnoticed.

But for the objective.

The brumby – that wild iconic steed that divides opinions between individuals, communities, committees, politicians, conservationists, ecologists and scientists.

On one side are those who say wild horses have done immeasurable damage to fragile alpine ecosystems as their population explodes. On the other, a band of horse lovers determined to save animals they say are embedded in our heritage.

On the NSW/ACT side of the border, keen-eyed observers are watching the Victorian outcome ahead of the planned removal of 4000 horses from the northern end of Kosciuszko National Park.

And word up there in the rooftop of Australia, is that snipers are bedded down, sighting their rifles and stalking their prey in readiness for tonight’s darkness to shoot, at sight, hundreds of brumbies in Victoria’s Alpine National Park.

Those with the horse and heritage at their heart are digging in their spurs to see them saved, with experienced cattlemen and mountain riders moving into the high country to steer several mobs, including the prized Bogong brumby, with its 140-year-old bloodline, to safety.

Tonight or tomorrow – nobody actually knows when or where it’s to take place; but there are eyes to the sky, roads and the plains relaying updates down the bush telegraph.

The expected shooting cull on the Victorian side has been the most calamitous blow for brumby advocates since the May 8 federal court ruling from Justice Michael O’Bryan in favour of Parks Victoria to continue removing feral horses from Victoria’s Alpine National Park.

In bringing the action, Australian Brumby Alliance Inc. had specifically sought to stop Parks Victoria from trapping or removing any brumby in the Bogong High Plains area of the national park and, indeed, from taking action that might cause significant depletion of any of the other populations of brumbies in the national park.

But it was Justice O’Bryan’s view that, “retaining the current population of brumbies in the Bogong High Plains and Eastern Alps would not be an appropriate control of the threat they present to ecosystems, habitats and species in those alpine areas”.

That day, Parks Victoria, issued a statement welcoming the finding.

They also said that due to their inability to carry out their feral horse management plans, which include trapping and rehoming programs, for the past 18 months due to the injunction, numbers of feral horses had increased two to three times previous survey findings.

Numbers that hark back to autumn 2019, where the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program working with Parks Victoria, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and ACT Parks and Conservation Service undertook a feral horse aerial survey in the Australian Alps.

Mirroring a 2014 survey, it found the estimated population of feral horses within the Australian Alps National Parks Survey area – North Kosciuszko, the Bago-Maragle and the large Byadbo-Victoria – had more than doubled in five years with the combined population estimate for the three blocks increasing from 9187 in 2014 to 25,318 in 2019.

This, they say, combined with the 2019-20 bushfires which impacted large areas of the Victorian Alps and resulted in significant loss of threatened native wildlife and ecosystems led to Parks Victoria concluding that remaining unburnt areas were being severely overgrazed and damaged by large numbers of feral horses.

“Given the current circumstances, Parks Victoria will be commencing an additional technique to control horses,” they stated.

“Small-team operations will be deployed into high-conservation priority locations where ground-based professional shooters will use thermal imaging and noise suppressors to cull free-ranging feral horses, under strict animal welfare protocols with expert equine veterinary oversight.

This will complement the current bushfire recovery works that have removed more than 1300 deer from fire impacted areas in eastern Victoria, the statement concluded.

As environmental groups applaud this action, there is conjecture about the legality of the lethal cull with brumby advocates saying this action was not among the control measures Parks Victoria’s outlined in their submissions to Justice O’Bryan.

Liberal MP Bill Tilley last week put out the call to ensure the historic Bogong Brumbies were given refuge, “until Victorian has a friendly government”.

He believes the decision to cull the brumbies is based on flawed evidence.

“Brumbies have been blamed for the damage being done by the explosion of deer in the high country,” he said, “locals will tell you that deer numbers are out of control”.

“As I have said in Parliament, it’s not the brumbies wallowing in the moss beds, nor is it the brumbies chewing and rubbing against the snow gums.

“Not brumbies but deer,” he said.

He and a band of 20 bushmen including cattleman Phil Maguire, comprising experienced mountain riders from the Snowies, Omeo, Gippsland and the Barmah have ridden into the snow strewn hills amid temperatures sitting around one degree – 11 at best – on a perilous journey through steep, rugged and dangerous terrain.

Their plan is to muster the Bogong mob to safety on private property belonging to Phil.

“It’s hard rugged country down on the sides where the brumbies spend the cold months,” Phil said, “it will be a very difficult undertaking in what might be very unpleasant conditions”.

Social media has exploded with support and reports of activity in the mountains have indicated the shooters are in place as protesters and riders have also gathered at Nunniong Plateau, Native Dog Flat and Mount Nelse, prepared stand in the open to prevent the horses from being shot.

On Friday Parks Victoria CEO Matthew Jackson said Parks Victoria has a legal and moral obligation to protect the native species at risk of extinction from the impacts of feral horses and other pest animals.

“The conservation of Alpine National Park is key to this. Native alpine plants and animals which are found nowhere else on the planet are not equipped to deal with the weight, grazing, hard hooves or trampling of feral horses.

“The 2019-20 bushfires wiped out very large areas of habitat for our unique native species. The areas less affected by fire now provide the only habitat for threatened native species and are being severely damaged by feral horses, whose numbers have significantly increased in the past five years.

“By removing large invasive herbivores from the sensitive landscape, Parks Victoria is providing a greater chance of survival for native species. Feral horse management is one component of an integrated approach to reducing the impacts of introduced animals in the Alpine National Park,” Mr Jackson said.

As late as Friday an undertaking was given by the Victorian Government to the Victorian Brumby Association that no brumbies on Bogong High Plains would be shot, but a small localised shooting operation was planned to take place tomorrow in the “severely fire impacted, high conservation area” in Victoria’s Eastern Alps.

This is an area locals say wasn’t impacted by fire because brumbies had kept the on-ground fuel load down.

Across the border, the NSW government is also facing increased pressure to cull brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park while the ACT Government says brumby numbers are destroying alpine sphagnum mosses and threaten the quality and quantity of the water supply for Canberra.

In 2018 the “Brumby Bill” legislation introduced by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro recognised and protected the heritage value and cultural significance of the Snowy Mountains brumby, prohibited lethal culling and allowed for the establishment of a new community advisory panel to advise the environment minister on a new management plan.

But in February 2020 the NSW Government announced around 4000 brumbies would be removed from Kosciuszko National Park as part of an emergency response to protect the alpine ecosystem after large areas were devastated by bushfires.

Three areas in the north of the park – Nungar Plain, Cooleman Plain and parts of Boggy and Kiandra plains – are being targeted for trapping and rehoming.

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I would love to see a real study done. Id love to see Brumbies fitted with tiny cameras maybe plaited into manes so not endanger of catching on anything if they can be tranquilised breifly to apply. Documentaries have been done like this tracking cats with really surprising results. It would be great to see real evidence tracking them and their behaviours to better understand what they really are and are not responsible for, and maybe even clues to better ways to manage them. And def should be given time to muster. Thats just blood lust and mean to want to kill brumbies that are being mustered to private land. And shooting and aerial killing are def not humane answers.

Michelle Vinall2:47 pm 21 May 20

I would like to see the cattlemen and brumby advocates given the time to muster the Bogong gang onto private land. I have ridden the Bogong Plains and the brumbies are an integral part of its beauty and heritage,

There are decades of scientific research showing the damage done by feral horses. As a bushwalker, I have seen the damage for myself – eroded stream banks, polluted rivers and creeks, damage to alpine vegetation, wallowing mud or dust holes (depending on rainfall) cut into native grasslands and piles and piles of horse dung. This is HORSE DUNG, not deer droppings. I’ve seen large mobs of horses grazing and galloping across the landscape, cutting a network of tracks. I’ve been threatened by stallions.

In the 1940s, cattle were removed from the Kosciuszko high country because of the damage they were causing to the soil and water sources, sources that must be cared for in our drying climate. An enormous amount of work was done to stop the erosion taking place. Now we are thoughtless enough to protect another heavy, hard-hoofed animal which is destroying the natural environment.

Any farmer who allowed such overpopulation of his/her stock would be roundly criticised. Those who wish to protect “brumbies” should do so on private land holdings, and not be allowed to ruin our national parks.

Victoriapoppy9:38 pm 22 May 20

What makes you more worthy of walking those paths? Because you’re human? Because you’re top of the food chain? Tell me meg unless you are aboriginal were we not also introduced to this country? Do we as humans not also destroy this county with mining, building roads and houses? What makes it ok for our species to live how we please and not the others? You have a very selfish mindset

Cease this barbaric slaughter of these beautiful animals. Wild pigs deer and politicians who keep pondering to these latte sipping city greenies are doing more damage to our environment than these horses.

Continue the correct cull of these romantic horses. Feral pigs, dogs, cats, and deer should continue to be culled. Some of my indigenous friends sip lattes, I don’t and we all agree that the horse, in particular, does not belong anywhere in the wild in Oz. Look at the way of the beautiful, nowhere else in existence the Tasmanian Tiger. There have been sightings in the NSW/VIC alps. Imagine we cull most brumbies and the mainland tiger exists, it could come back being a scavenger. One would only hope.

Alan Crandell11:42 am 19 May 20

Less horses & cattle.
More fires & bigger ones.

Leave the beautiful horses alone, why not cull the wild pigs that destroy much of the country and also kill baby lambs. Wild bumbies don’t kill lambs and don’t harm anyone.

Let the bushmen round up as many as possible and cull the old and infirm. Foals and yearlings, in good condition, can be given to people who can raise and train them. Don’t kill every horse without knowing their age sex etc. Do it in a controlled manner as they do have a purpose in keeping the undergrowth in the forests manageable. Why can’t the meat be used for dog food if they are disease free. There are many things that can be done rather than simply shoot them and leave their bodies to rot in the bushland.

Maude Morgan6:48 am 19 May 20

l support the move to cull horses as they are a direct threat to native flora and fauna that one destroyed will never be replaced. These are the only areas that remain as refuges to iconic native species found no where else in the world.

Carol Doherty7:42 pm 19 May 20

Its a disgrace to blame the brumbies. We all know that deer and pigs roam and breed frolifically in this region & do far more damage than horses. These brumbies are descendants of the Whalers that went to World War 1. They fought for our country. How can we discrimunate against our foes. These horses gave their lives for us!!! Do you realise they are descendants of the Whalers that fought for us in Qorld War 1. You are so unaustralian.

I do not want to see one horse killed, enough of that happens in Thorough red racing. Finding new homes for some and leaving a percentage behind to carry on the heritage of the Brumby is best option.
I would love to re house if I could.

Helen Reynolds9:35 pm 18 May 20

There has to be another way to deal with this issue. It is unbelievably barbaric to slaughter these magnificent animals. I can’t see any justification for this.

Jillian Griffiths5:42 pm 18 May 20

There are far better options when it comes to managing Brumbies. Rehoming should be considered as a priority. No one argues that numbers do not need to be managed but shooting should NOT be an option. Any sane person who lives in the land knows the pigs & deer are the most destructive. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the powers that be will realise these horses are not only part of our heritage but also a great tourist attraction

Summer Brook-Jones5:15 pm 18 May 20

They should not be shot. Muster them and allow them to be re-homed to lead a useful life elsewhere. Indiscriminate shooting leaves mares and foals galloping with their entrails dragging on the ground until they die. They are gut shot from helicopters. This is not humane.It is disgusting.

Graeme James3:54 pm 18 May 20

This action by the Victorian government is a disgrace based on contrived data supplied by green activists
Brumbies are part of our history, they are a part of who we are.
To shoot them, harm them in any way, is animal cruelty and genocide
Find another way if their numbers are too great for the area in which they roam but do not destroy them
I will never forgive the Australian Labour Party if this cull goes ahead and neither will the bulk of the Australian people and people in overseas countries

Linda Morero3:36 pm 18 May 20

They should save them

Leona Cairns,3:06 pm 18 May 20

This is a cruel and ill conceived plan to kill these beautiful brumbies. There are wild pigs which breed numerous off spring and are far more damaging to the environment as are the many wild deer. This icon of the Man from Snowy River deserves better treatment than killing. They are lovely animals.We have three. They should be protected not culled.

Too many inconsistencies in the count, deers and pigs are in plentiful supply, and so deliver severe environmental damage. Typical city dwellers making decisions for the Bush with “questionable statistics”. The Bogong Brumbies are beautiful in their environment strong, brave, smart and majestic, better solutions are available and programs have been introduced around the world without the need to shoot! Short term gain to kill wild horses, will bleed Apline pain. City folks please listen to cattlemen and people who actually live amongst them, they have the knowledge.

Save the horses. We put them there. They carried our civilisation into the modern world. We owe them. If this alpine flower is precious then provide land elsewhere; but it’d not the brumbies’ fault- it’s ours. We are the worst threat to the ecosystem.

Donaldson family1:34 pm 18 May 20

There’s got to be better, more humane ways of dealing with this. Just find them!

Elaine Delaney12:39 pm 18 May 20

I would like to add my voice to the tidal flood of voices concerned about the decisions being made to destroy hundreds of brumbies in the Victorian Alps, by shooting them.
Choices that are being made now will affect not only the brumbies, but all of us as a people and nation, for future generations to come.
‘A nation and its people will be judged (by history,future generations and the planet as a whole) by the way they treat their animals’ – and indeed, all those who are most vulnerable!
Never underestimate the power of one person with passion, purpose and commitment.
I trust you know the story of Temple Grandin. This remarkable woman with autism, has changed the way humans treat animals. Temple’s passion was improving conditions for all animals, notably for cattle and other domesticated stock. Her tireless efforts have changed the world for millions of animals and humans.
Ms Grandin is now widely acknowledged for her humanity, her respect for life and for choosing a more positive approach on how we interact with all creatures great and small, even when she faced great opposition and ridicule.
“Nature can be cruel – humans NEED NOT BE!” Temple Grandin
Humanity right now has been given a prime opportunity, to choose a different approach on how we treat our planet and all who call this incredible space home.
I trust you will reconsider and ponder upon what you may be able to conceive and put in place that would allow a more positive outcome for all, in this particular instance, our iconic brumbies.
There are ALWAYS different approaches and perspectives on how specific goals may be achieved.
Why not take the time to consider other possibilities?
In this day and age of incredible achievements and knowledge, there are surely competent, caring people within our own nation, who would be keen and able to advise, plan and put into action, more humane, respectful and kinder approaches to realising these same goals.
You are currently in a unique position. To those who have been given much (power/responsibility) – much is expected!
The brumbies have been in these ‘pristine’ areas for decades, with very little ‘adverse’ effect.
The major change, is mankind’s approach and departmental body guidelines on how we utilise and manage these areas. These rulings have led to ongoing decline in the previous pristine conditions within these spectacular regions of our great nation and the upsurge of noxious weeds and feral animal populations.
Why rush headlong into controversial decisions right now?
How will the perhaps, ill-advised, over-reaction against perceived damage by one species, i.e. brumbies, change deteriorating conditions in our National Parks?
What would be an estimate of acceptable numbers of brumbies in these regions?
What other options could there be for those wild horses who need to be removed?
How could the presence of wild brumbies be an added attraction for visitors and tourists alike, to these spectacular regions of our beautiful country?
What ongoing decisions would have the most benefit, to allow our National Parks to flourish, providing an overall healthy, bountiful display of nature’s wonders to the world?
Now is your time and now is the hour for you to act, so people will remember the choices and outcomes for these national icons from our past, to the present day and into the future.
I pray you will choose wisely.
kind thoughts
Horses Teaching Humans Herd – and their humans
Elaine and Mike Delaney
Laggan NSW 2583

Ayla Zelandonii1:42 am 20 May 20

This is the kind of intelligent discourse required on this most pressing issue. Wholesale brutal slaughter is not the way, allowing barbaric cruelty because some people today have deemed brumbies to be the biggest threat to ecosystems, amazingly not humans, diminishes us all. We can and must do better. Thank you.

I do not believe for one second that the numbers are as high as claimed. I grew up in the Snowy Mountains of NSW, during my childhood you didnt have to go far to see the wild horses, But these days you can be driving for an hour before you spot your first, and often, only mob. Interesting that during the recent fires, the areas where the brumbies roam were the least impacted by the fires. Brumbies can help lower the fuel load so when a fire does go through, it isnt as bad as the areas which arent frequented by brumbies. There were losses of horses during that fire event of 2019/2020, the question is how many? There are more humane ways to manage numbers without the culling, Take a look at how the Americans are managing theirs, using birth control as a way of maintaining numbers without allowing the numbers to get too high. It can be done, If only the powers that think they know what to do will listen!

Daphne Dunphy11:36 am 18 May 20

It is my opinion, and many on the ground re-enforce this, that the so called multiplying numbers of brumbies has been grossly miscalculated. As well the brumbies have been blamed for destruction of grasses and flora which have been caused by other elements including deer and bushfire. These horses have historic connections in Australia and in fact are far stronger than pure breds. They have been in these territories for close to 200 years. How is it the country has survived with them during this period given their supposed destuctive traits?

I am appalled that the automatic reaction in Australia is to cull. There are better ways. The cause of most of these problems is the human race. Aerial shooting of these beautiful creatures is barbaric and dreadfully cruel, leaving animals maimed and suffering. I just can’t believe that the government condones this. Unbelievable. I hope the people concerned can sleep at night. It must be stopped.

I’m not an Australian, I’m an American, so I really have no right to tell you what to do, but if you slaughter these horses, you will regret it. It will be a stain on your country that horse lovers world wide will never forget, and your own people will never forgive. Find another way. We struggle with the same issue, and we have avoided the atrocity of what you are considering. Save your heritage, and the lives of your brumbies. They are a part of who you are.

Graeme James3:40 pm 18 May 20

I am an Australian and I totally agree with you

Madeleine Cannon10:47 am 18 May 20

I agree horse numbers need to be controlled but not by shooting. I also know that it is pig and deer that do the most damage wallowing and tearing up the springs and swamps. Horses do not like walking on insecure or boggy footing.

Every High Country horseman & horsewoman, and anyone else who can sit astride a horse, should be prepared to bring the horses to the City to make it VERY clear that destroying Australia’s culture by shooting horses will never be accepted.

Gayle Collins10:35 am 18 May 20

Leave the horses alone , let them eat the grass less fuel for fire season.

There are too many discrepancies on numbers and damage – this is not a humane practice – what and who are really doing the damage – not enough information – shooting these brumbies is not the easy fix and is not Australian! Any research must include the experts that have lived there since settlement!

Save these beautiful animals

Dee Copeland9:54 am 18 May 20

Save our Brumbies! Don’t shoot them…regime them!! 👍🏻🙏🏻🥰

There may be issues, but killing is not the answer. It’s not a new dilemma so figure out a better way to handle it. Seriously.

Jennifer boyd9:32 am 18 May 20

Give the brumby lovers time to get them out!! Shoot the pigs!!

Debbie Breen9:30 am 18 May 20

Stop this insane cull!! Too many animals have already died in the fires, drought and from shootings! Enough is enough! They are not responsible for the destruction of their environment! They have been a part of the landscape for over 130 years!! STOP IT !!!!!

Control the numbers, I understand this may be necessary but listen to the people of the high country who say the deer population explosion is responsible! Do not rid us of the Brumbies!! They are a part of our Folklore! It sounds as though the Victorian government want rid of all the Brumbies! Stop the cull and look at a non murderous way to control the numbers. There has to be a way! A gelding program of a few stallions in a herd. Just shooting them is disgusting and wrong.

Shirley Mcpherson9:13 am 18 May 20

Bring in a fertility plan. Have an independent company do a count. There are conflicting accounts of the numbers.

Vivienne MacMahon9:48 am 18 May 20

Geld a few stallions

I think it’s absolutely disgusting what they are doing
Stalking brumbies AT NIGHT WITH SILENCERS!!
It’s NOT a war zone looking for an enemy!
I am ashamed to be an Aussie right this minute!!!
Everyone knows That the horses are being used as scapegoats for the damage that is getting done by the deer and the pigs
Everyone knows that pigs wallow and root the ground up and have 6 piglets each litter and the deer are the ones that are damaging the trees as they rub and chew the bark off
Proper management all round is needed not a blood bath!!!!
You Parks Victoria should be ashamed of yourselves and hang your heads in shame for this bloody awful disgusting lies and the way you were sneaking around to MURDER these animals

We want this looked into and PROPER UNBIASED Reports done – not fudged ones !!!!

No environment can sustain uncontrolled animal populations. Culling, whether it’s natural (predators/fire/drought/flood/disease) or artificial is necessary for both herd and environmental health.
Sooo it comes down to the process of reducing numbers.
Historically, wild horses were escaped/freed domestic stock and reflected the bloodlines of those stock – they were generally Arab/thoroughbred/draft derivatives and generally good types that were of value, especially as cavalry remounts – they were a “managed” wild herd.
Their quality was deliberately maintained with the strategic occasional release of a quality stallion.
Nearly a century of inbreeding has produced a mixed bag of feral animals, of varying degrees of quality – some have excellent conformation…some are rubbish.
Number control is necessary – thoughtful genetic selection, rather than total genetic destruction would meet both environmental and historic objectives.

Please save our Brumbys our heritage….I own horse’s and I’ve oened 2 Brumbys but now only have one Brumby left….and one of my old horse’s I have have owned but gone, was one of the horse’s that actually was riden in the man from snowy river….back in her younger day’s….so this is very important that our horse’s and heritage is saved from this horrible disgustingly rude cruelity acted on the Brumbys 🥺🥺💔💔🤬🤬🤬🤬

Sandra Johnson8:32 am 18 May 20

Look at what can be done in America. They control their wild horses without mass shootings. We show case these horses to the world as our heritage when it suits us then shoot them when we are too bloody lazy to organise an alternative. The world must think we are mad.

Michele Timmins8:14 am 18 May 20

My opinion the wild horses are a asset to the high country as they are selective grazers & create open areas which also benefit native species, areas which would be otherwise be overwhelmed with bushy scrub. They do not wallow or destroy waterways, they don’t eat or damage trees.

There is nothing more heinous or repulsive than the act of the worst species on this earth, the most destructive, evil, cruel, earth damaging selfish narcissistic species, HUMANS!!!, playing God over other animals lives.
Leave our Brumbies where they belong!!!
Look in the God damned mirror, we are destroying everything!!!!

Amanda Wicks7:52 am 18 May 20

They should not be hunted and destroyed, they should be saved and relocated.

Elaine BUTLER7:39 am 18 May 20

Brumbies are the scapegoats. Leave them alone or try to restrict future numbers by a humame method.

Horses have an 11 month gestation. It beggars belief how the experts claim numbers have tripled in a few short years. The damage in question is not something I’ve ever seen horses do. This is a criminal, barbaric act by the government.

Margaret Dubois7:21 am 18 May 20

I have to laugh at National Parks and Wildlife. I grew up in high country with Brumbies on our property. Brumbies help keep the undergrowth down and they do not bog up waterholes or destroy fragile vegetation. By keeping the undergrowth down in poorly accessible areas, Brumbies help prevent bushfires that destroy native vegetation and wildlife.

No emphasis put on the MASSIVE population of wild pigs up there. They are extremely destructive! Horses have one foal a year. Pigs can have 2 litters with each litter consisting of up to a dozen piglets. I really don’t like killing of any sort but in this circumstance, everything MUST be looked at closely. We owe these horses and the Heritage that goes with them. 🐎🐎🐎

Rebecca Crotto6:45 am 18 May 20

Animal Welfare and the humane treatment of animals is number one when controling population. Especially when it comes to an animal like the wild Brumbie horses we owe unmeasurable respect to for the history of human survival. Arial culling like that done in Australia in Oct 2000 created unnecessary pain and suffering beyond comprehension, a disturbing and sick act.

Janelle Johnston6:44 am 18 May 20

Can there be a yearly roundup and horses rehomed. Cheaper prices to make it more affordable to purchase and the proceeds go towards the upkeep of the herd. Maybe the weaker or sick animals can be euthanized. I don’t agree with the night shooting. It needs to be more controlled. Mares with foals at foot will be shot, etc.

I would like to see actual numbers not guestimates. I can’t believe that the number of Brumbies would be around 25,000 not with drought and horrendous bushfires to cap off the last 6 years, I cannot see that the headcount would be possible. I believe our Brumbies should have a place in our high country, the damage that is being put down to their activity is questionable as we have some other very destructive animals invading the parks. Horses live harmoniously and without malous intent on other animals unlike pigs, cats and dogs that ravage nests, watersites and borrows our native animals are also being let down by tunnelvision. Okey pointed towards our Brumbies the most harmless of neighbours.

Marylou Kaler6:28 am 18 May 20

I support the horses. Financially, from abroad while a humane plan is fianaced and put in place. As far as the horses being an invasive species I’d say that title goes to the consumer, the city dwelling humans.

Carolyn Cooper6:25 am 18 May 20

IN WW1 these horses went to war to save our country … as far as causing damage you definitely have it wrong wild pigs .. wild goats and dear are causing the problems .. with the fires where the horses are grazing the fires were not as bad for they had kept the fodder down so the fires could not catch on and take off

Monika Walton6:25 am 18 May 20

Get rid of the deer, they are not native, leave our brumbies alone, they are part of our heritage.

Gloria Woodward5:52 am 18 May 20

Shame on the people who have made the decision to shoot and kill the horses who are part of our heritage. Shame on the professional shooters they have hired to kill them. I can’t begin to imagine how anyone could shoot mares in foal or who have foals that they are successfully caring for….how absolutely terrifying for them. What sort of mentality thinks this is appropriate…..I’m ashamed to know they are Australians.

Jackie Kelly5:08 am 18 May 20

Killing is never the answer! They need an immediate stop order for the “killing” and an order for an outside(those not directly involved in the benefit) source with expertise on this issues to study and make recommendations.

Tania Llewellyn3:20 am 18 May 20

Disgraceful of the Australian government. Please rethink because the eyes of the world are watching.

This is such a sad act… they know the horses do no damage… they can’t stand that they just run free… I hope that they find a way to respect them and leave them alone… if they worked things the right way, these horses could help them fight wild fires, but that must just make too much sense. A huge thank you to the group who is working to save them. Thank you all. Please share this article with all.

Barbara Kramer1:58 am 18 May 20

It’s not the brumbies, look at deer and wild pigs. It’s just awful to kill these wonderful brombies. Stay away from them. Its a shameful massacre to these wildies. STOP IT NOW !
I hope, these wonderful horsemen will be able to save these souls.
Shame on the people deciding this cruelty 💔

Deborah Walsh1:12 am 18 May 20

More money for inadequate Park management
Do not shoot the Brumbies !!!

Save them, maybe trap & rehome some, but don’t cull them !!

It’s the feral pigs they should be removing! Not the Brumbies.

Catherine Bowler12:26 am 18 May 20

Attempting to cull horses like this is barbaric to say the least and shame on anyone who is invovled in the slaughter if it goes ahead. My friends and I in the UK have been watching this situation develop. We have roaming horses in some areas here in the UK but there would be a riot if a cull such as this was suggested as a way to control numbers. What are the Australian authorities thinking??? In the UK many of us are just speechless that this cull was even thought about, let alone being given the go ahead. Hang your heads in shame Aussies for even thinking of this as a solution. FIND A MORE HUMANE ANSWER!!!!

There is one thing that I have learnt about Australia is that nothing dies So much of our native flora needs fire to regenerate. The Parks Victoria had a plan for 2018 – 2021 to trap and rehome. Never to shoot healthy horses from the air or the ground till after 2021. Everything was to be openly discussed not to be sneaky and organise the shooting at night with silencers without even informing the judge that this is what they were planning to do. To go against their forward plan for the area I am sure that the locals are not aware of the 1300 deer that has been removed. As there has never been an actual count done on the Brumbies in the area as we are getting figures of anything from 100 to 25,000 and they are saying that they are going to eradicate all the Brumbies. Does this mean that all we are going to see when we visit this area in future to see the free and roaming Brumbies will only be the skeletal remains of an animal that the blood lines on some can be traced back to the first fleet. This is the way we treat these beautiful creatures with a bullet just as they were treated overseas during the war as only one was given the acknowledgement of the bravery of the thousands to be allowed to come home. This is a very big mistake being made by Parks Victoria and Daniel Andrews.

The horses are beautiful and part of our heritage. Their numbers should be managed humanely and never ever culled. That is shear cruelty.

Maria Lisa Polegatto11:44 pm 17 May 20

Horses assist in nutrient transfer between land, air and water, especially wild horses, research supports this, bit.ly/deepdivewithwhales and trampling is good for the soil for regrowth of nature. Wild horses can be tamed also so give them away, sell them but don’t hurt them.

Trapping and rehoming yes. Shooting no no no.

The numbers of brumbies are inaccurate. The damage done to the bush is done by deer and wild pigs. Studies have been done by brumby groups that have been ignored by Parks and environmentalists because they didn’t fit their agenda, which is the eradication of our Heritage Horses.

Samara finch10:42 pm 17 May 20

Please save the brumbies

I think it is an absolute disgrace that they are going to shoot these beautiful horses. Shame on the environmental groups for thinking it is okay to kill these animals who are being blamed for damage they haven’t caused. I wish those wonderful horseman a safe journey bringing these horses to safety.

They must stop this shameful massacre. I do not need to say why,.. every decent, true Australian understands why without any of us having to give 101 reasons…. just make them stop

Whilst I understand that it is in human nature to protect the land and preserve it. My question is; Does killing many animals fall under that greedy jurisdiction and is it justifiable by law? If so then is it humanely and morally justified? I think not!
I am a very distant descendant of Native American tribes but that compassion for animals still flows through my veins everyday and it will till my last breath. You must find more resources to save them. By the way how do you expect to dispose of all the brumby bodies your snipers shoot? Surely that is an environmental issue you will have to address once you start killing.


A.K. Quinn

They will leave them there to rot and to feed the feral pigs and then watch that population explode

Chris Tester10:17 pm 17 May 20

The horses do less damage to the environment than the deer & pigs but no one is doing anything about them. If one bushman & or their horse is injured or killed during this “cull” there will be a war !

What about the Wild Pigs. They destroy the land.
More true investigation needs to be done.
Not Killing the Brumbies !!!

Heather Buck9:48 pm 17 May 20

Brumbies are very important to our economy system. They are our Heratige. They helped build our county Natures lawnmowers. Have a look at the pigs and deer.

Frank and Jenny Flissinger9:47 pm 17 May 20

These horses have been there for over 100 yrs and never hurt the area before. Now the pig and deer numbers are exploding. The numbers that they say are also growing over the last few years are hard to believe we have been in servere drought at that time. The alpha mare will it let mares breed as she is in charge.
I saw and article written by one of these experts that had unbelievable numbers of horses after bushfires and drought having two foals a year as gestation is 11 months for a foal the numbers don’t stack up.
I looked at the pictures vp took and anybody can see it is a soak and all little hoof prints. Dear or most probably pigs wallowing in the mud.
I noticed that in this article that the places that did not burn were where the horses had been.
I see them as an assist for this area.

Removing the Brumbies is a huge mistake , target the real problem which are the feral pigs and deer of which there is ample proof in photos and regular trips to the areas by Brumbies activists . The numbers which have been provided by parks has been severely blown up as the numbers of Brumbies is far below the figures given . Many of our Brumbies died in the bushfires and this also hasn’t been taken into consideration. There are humane ways of keeping the horse numbers down without shooting them . As they are shooting at night they won’t have any idea which horses they are slaughtering and foals will be left without their mothers and will more than likely die extremely sad deaths if not shot . This whole slaughter is being watched by Australians who are against it and many people from around the world . Please Parks do your homework more carefully and rethink this tragic mass killing of beloved heritage horses and start looking at the positives the horses bring to the national parks . Wild horses are nomadic herbivores they enrich their environment with their unique digestive system which allows for regeneration of seeds and grasses . They have selective grazing patterns which create habitats for bugs and birds . There are many European countries that have reintroduced their wild horses back into the forests and landscapes. Please lookup the GrazeLIFE project 💔😢

Belinda Kang9:40 pm 17 May 20

Its the pigs and deers that are doing all the damage..cull them but the Vic Govt won’t because they earn massive income from hunting season. The horse numbers are exaggerated and unproven. Pigs are doing the damage to the moss, there is photos of them creating walloing stations but the Vic Govt wouldn’t accept this photographic evidence..

Is that all they care about, ‘the quality and quantity of the water for Canberra’.

Susan Quinnell9:28 pm 17 May 20

Save the Brumbies
Research the wild pigs and deer damage

Alley parker9:26 pm 17 May 20

It’s inhumane to shoot any animal and leave it to die slowly, and painfully. The government can deny all they like, but this is most surely the outcome of this cull. Make no mistake, Dan Andrews will be voted out!

Not denying marginal impact the brumbies may be having – their benefits are more than making up for lack of fire reduction management programmes. Priorities NEED to be re-evaluated & govt should wake up to see the bigger picture of environmental impact from other sources

Parks estimates of brumby numbers are seriously flawed. The population of Dr al pigs and deer outweigh brumbies at least 300 to 1. Parks enjoys $55m in shooter licences for deer hunting.
They just won’t listen.
I’ve proposed a truce so that some calm thinking time can enable the assessment of a feasible, eco-brumby tourist sector. This would provide new jobs, and economic recovery for a covid-stricken Victoria.
Premier Andrew’s needs to rein in Parks Victoria.

Valid points Bill. Hopefully with outpouring of concern for these iconic brumbies, the govt are listening….

Gary Cotchin9:10 pm 17 May 20

The Parks Victoria quote above “They (aka Parks Victoria) also said that due to their inability to carry out their feral horse management plans, which include trapping and rehoming programs, for the past 18 months due to the injunction, numbers of feral horses had increased two to three times previous survey findings.” should be seen for the clear and obvious lie that this statement is. And when one lies like this then clearly they seek to cover their tracks in what has been a really dodgy process that they and the Minister put in place to arrive at the so-called ‘consultative’ Report that they now reply upon to slaughter innocent Brumbies and leave their rotting carcasses on the dirt they once roamed happily on when living in the way Mother Nature intended.

Cheryl Fahey8:59 pm 17 May 20

They should be left alone rehome some of them so there are not so many in one place they deserve to live a long happy life

Jenny Scoble8:58 pm 17 May 20

There are other ways to control their numbers. Im saying that as i do not believe that many exist anyway. After hundred of years its only now for some unexplained reason the Brumbies numbers exploded in the kast year or so says those against them? Horses are not easily bred to begin will not like flea as you lot asume. We! Ues humans who say we are so bloody intelligent carntwork out birth control as a valid means of careing properly for an over population situation for any species including ourselves show what idots are in charge of this stupity. The workd is watching. Dont make us look like murderes! There are other ways!

Selena Ferguson8:58 pm 17 May 20

This attrocious culling should be stopped. The numbers of the Brumbies that have been quoted have been exaggerated and are quite frankly impossible as horses just do not breed that quickly. The people who actually have lived and know these areas are the most knowledgeable about the terrain and the animals and what causes the damage, not the ones who sit behind a desk in the he city.
These horses are part of our heritage and history helping our soldiers during the war, working on the farms and now to be treated like this is simply unacceptable.

Robyn Thiessen8:54 pm 17 May 20

Please keep reporting. We need an injunction to stop this action until an impartial recount of heritage brumbies is undertaken post catastrophic bushfires. Also , why is there no mention of the damage that the feral pigs and wild dogs are causing? It seems the brumbies are blamed for all the damage

Everyone needs to calm down and stand back. Discuss rationally with countrymen who live in and know the regions and the horses and the impacts of ALL wildlife populations in these environmentally sensitive areas. Shooting wild horses who will be running in blind panic for their lives cannot be the best solution. Has humanity really come down to this? It feels as though Covid19 is being used as a smoke shield by the government – but when horse lovers are involved around the world I don’t think that’s going to work….Shane on you all.

Barbaric, I am so ashamed of our government.

I have never read so many outright lies in a “real” story in all my life! I have spent many days/hours up there with the brumbies in vic high country. I have personally seen the clean bush land and brumbies in all their glory, majority of the parks information here is just a made up bunch of nonsense. The horses have so much grass and moss up there and they share the country with the natives I have seen it a lot, there is ample food for all to survive. I can prove this, I can get photo evidence and I’ll personally get video proof. Also the majority of deer culled in the fire damaged areas was from the fires! In the 130 years they have been there and a general life of 10 to 22 years how has this not become a problem much earlier? I lived in a fire damaged region, the new growth it well established and is now feeding the wildlife in the area! These people need to step out of the office and consult the real people. The country people, they have been living here for decades.

Are these politicians and their beloved, grant money based reports the same ilk that stopped the clearing of underbrush in the bush and helped cause the absolute devastation just endured in Vic and NSW?
The Greens are out of control and have a lot of bad decisions to answer for, to the Australian public.
Fence off two equal grazing areas, put two horses in one and two pigs in the other. Preferably with a wet area ie dam, creek etc in both. Leave them there for a week or so and see the difference in what is done to the land.
Tell me please, why wasn’t this, and other similar pertinent trials completed with all the Govt money spent on paying people to crucify our heritage animals, our national icons???

I think it is abhorrent and disgusting that there was no mention of shooting the Brumbies in the Wild Horse Management plan at the Community consultation phase. Hasnt the Community been traumatised enough what with the Bushfires & COVID-19. Why cant the Govt & Parks Vic sit down with the Brumby advocate groups and discuss a sensible less barbaric plan and allow horse people the time to put forward requests to rehome the Brumbies. The Bogong Brumbies are directly related to our Walers who were good enough to go to war for us & were sacrificed except one. That is how Australia repaid them for their efforts. Brumbies are good enough to be in our govt tourism brochures when it suits them. I am very angry about this & will not be voting for Dan in the next election as he does not listen to his Community.

Karen Tobias8:42 pm 17 May 20

Under no circumstances should any Brumbies be shot in our National Parks, the numbers aren’t that large and any damage they do is minimal. They have been there for over 100 years they are our history our heritage. Leave them alone. They should listen to the public. Maybe put it to a vote.

Christina Lecky8:33 pm 17 May 20

Canadians are watching this scene unfold. There are better conservation measures that can be taken then the outright shooting of these heritage horses. My heart breaks for all those people that and working so hard to stop this cull and for the beautiful Barmbies in the sights of gunman.

They need to do an independently operated recount before any culling takes place as the numbers are severely wrong. It’s disgusting how the government takes one sided biased dribble from totally blind “enviromentilists” over real facts. Utterly disgusting that they go back on their word and shoot.

Suzanne Evans8:26 pm 17 May 20

Don’t slaughter our Brumbies !!!!!! It is nothing short of barbaric cruelty and inhumanity. The mental health of Australians will suffer enormously by this act of cruelty. It is against the will of thousands of Australians

Parks Victoria should be ashamed of their plan to kill Brumbies. East Gippsland folk have enough to deal with this will only see people’s mental health deteriorate.
Blocking people from commenting on their social pages is not okay.

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