BRUMBIES FOREVER


ALPINE NATIONAL PARK, VICTORIA - MANAGEMENT


URGENT!

The new draft management plan has been published. The plan is horrendous for the Brumbies! There have so far been only a few people approved to rehome. The plan is therefore to shoot, in the first year, approx 530 Brumbies and then continue on from there!
The proposal is firstly for ground shooting but as they are well aware, this is never going to be able to acheive more than shooting one horse in a group successfully before the others gallop off and so they will quickly be able to resort to aerial shooting!!! Their excuse will be that they were not able to acheive the goals of the plan in the time frame. So its a foregone conclusion that they will aerial shoot these 530 Brumbies if not more!
The plan is currently open for submissions by the public. Its a short time frame and only available for comment up to the 23rd April Anyone can do these submissions, you do not have to live in Victoria! The submissions can be completed either by filling in the online form or by email. On the link below, you will find the page containing - copies of the full version of the new draft management plan, a summary of the plan for those who find the full plan a bit overwhelming and then a couple of other information documents. If you scroll down below these, there is a questionnaire that you can complete. Alternatively you can send an email direct here - conservation@parks.vic.gov.uk

Link to submission form for the new draft plan

Here are some suggestions for completing the form. Use your own words but get the point across that YOU DO NOT IN ANY WAY SUPPORT LETHAL CULLING OF THE HORSES! No lethal culling is humane. Full stop. And its unnecessary.

Question - Do you have any feedback on the approaches outlined above to manage feral horse in the Alpine National Park?

Any lethal management of horses is not humane. They are sentient beings! Shooting wild horses CANNOT be done humanely! Even trained experts at a knackery, where horses are contained in stocks, are not able to deliver one shot to immediately euthanise the horses or render them immediately insensible. Often it takes several attempts with horses writhing in pain and suffering. Attempting to ground shoot wild horses might enable shooting of one horse and the others will then all gallop off. The ITRG stated - "group flight response is considered a limiting factor for humane and instantaneous killing of horses." If the horse moves even slightly it could end up with a serious injury and that horse would then gallop away and it would be almost impossible to track them to prevent suffering for hours, days or weeks.
The management plan says that SOPs will be followed.
According to the SOPs -
*Ground shooting is best suited to accessible and relatively flat areas with LOW numbers of horses and where any horses injured can be easily followed up and euthanised immediately. It is not considered effective for large scale control. The plan is to remove 530 horses in the first year. These are NOT low numbers! It is also not relatively flat and accessible. Therefore not suitable.
*Only head (brain) or chest (heart/lung) shots are supposed be used. With head shots preferred as they are MORE LIKELY to cause instantaneous loss of consciousness. Chest shots don't render the animals instantaneously insensible and result in a higher incidence of wounding so not acceptable. Shooting at other parts of the body is not accepted. So the shot to the brain - if even possible in these circumstances- is only more likely to cause instantaneous loss of consciousness. Not definitely. Only euthanasia with instant loss of consciousness could ever be considered humane. As confirmed in the SOPs in this statement- "Accuracy with a single shot is important to achieve an IMMEDIATE and therefore HUMANE death".
A horse should only be shot at when:
* it is stationary and can be clearly seen and recognised
* it is within the effective range of the firearm and ammunition being used
* a humane kill is probable. If in doubt, do NOT shoot.
* Ensure there are no other horses behind the target animal that could be wounded by the shot passing through the target.
* Although horses are large animals, the vital areas targeted for clean killing are small.
IF all the above directives are followed, NO SHOTS would be delivered. So they would have to shoot and injure and hope they can follow up and reshoot - which is not following the SOPs.
For the above reasons ground shooting cannot be considered humane or suitable. As the plan involves large numbers, it's clear that the objective of killing 530 in the first year will not be met and it will resort to aerial shooting for speed and cost cutting. And to even contemplate being able to shoot galloping horses from a helicopter humanely is ludicrous! As was shown in the aftermath of the Guy Fawkes Park incident. SOPs state that horses must NOT be shot from a moving vehicle or other moving platform, as this can significantly detract from the shooter's accuracy. - but aerial shooting is approved! Ground or aerial shooting will involve injured horses suffering for hours, days and possibly weeks before they die.
In a study done in Australia after aerial shooting wild horses it was found -
*The Instant Death Rate was 63% - Absolutely not acceptable!
*Up to 6 bullets per horse peppered all over their bodies! Not humane or acceptable.
*In total, 35% of horses displayed bullet-wound tracts affecting the cranium, 50% the cervical spine, and 57% the thorax, whereas 3% of horses displayed bullet-wound tracts affecting the forelimbs and 8% the abdomen.
*Horses not rendered immediately insensible (37%)!!!! Absolutely NOT acceptable.
No management should be done until accurate numbers are known by a new actual head count which is possible with new technology. The previous surveys have produced estimates that are not scientifically sound or possible.
The lack of independent peer reviewed scientific studies on only wild horses in the Australian environment is well documented. The massive damage done by human development and tourism and the effects of wildfires and climate change are well researched and documented. And these are the major factors affecting the native Fauna and Flora. Plus the effects of other very destructive animals that are in their millions in the Parks. And yet human development and tourism are being increased!

Question -
Do you have any ideas about how we can increase the number of people who rehome feral horses from the Alpine area?

*Rehoming opportunities could be massively increased by taking trapped horses to a holding facility as they do in Kosciuszko NP. Horses can then be much more easily collected by rehomers.
*Much more advertising, in particular on social media. The rehoming of horses removed from Kosciuszko NP in 2020-21 has been increased to take almost all the many hundreds of horses removed by use of social media together with Brumby Advocates and Rehomers.

Question -
Do you have any feedback on the above guidelines for rehoming?
Rehomers should be able to be approved by qualified or experienced Equine Professionals and not only Veterinarians. More constructive and financial help should be available to rehomers or sanctuaries

Question -
Are there any other strategies you would like to see to help restore the alpine environment and heritage in addition to invasive species being removed?

Tackle GLOBAL WARMING/climate change, which is one of the main problems as well documented. Reduce chance of WILDFIRES by every means possible. Prevent HUMAN ACTIVITY DAMAGE - of which there is way more than any other animal

Here is a link to my complete submission that I sent by email with all the information plus all the references for those who would like to do a more comprehensive submission and want to reference it as well. Just change it into your own words and email it or copy and paste into the form. Thank you to all those who do this to help save BRUMBY LIVES!

Full email submission to the 2021 draft management plan

Here are some photos and links to videos taken by a local - Dean Marsland, showing the reality of the condition in the Park - areas where the Brumbies regularly are with no damage done and loads of coverage of native Flora.

Populations of Brumbies in the Victorian Alps are descendants of the same founding stock of Brumbies that were used during World War I. Genetic sampling has been taking place since 2014 with Australian Brumbies being included in the World Wild Horse Data base, undertaken by the university of Texas with Dr Gus Cothran at the helm.
To date, DNA sampling has established a DNA line individual to the Barmah Horses and Barmah National park with over 80 samples tested. To ensure the survival of Victoria's Heritage Brumbies, it is crucial that plans to exterminate Brumbies in the Bogong High plains, Barmah and the Eastern Alps be replaced by Plans to manage sustainable Brumby populations in the 3 areas that Brumbies have inhabited for 140-200 years, long before their homelands were declared national parks.
Extensive DNA testing has been conducted on horses in Victoria, and DNA testing has shown that Brumbies have a robust, healthy genetic makeup. With this in mind we must not forget the sheer cruelty of the "Guy Fawkes massacre" and the more recent loss of Brumbies at Singleton Army Base NSW when an entire blood line was wiped out in one day when shot from moving helicopters. These sorts of events must not be allowed to happen again.
The Victorian State Government and Parks Victoria ignore current and international independent science that leans toward the reintroduction of large herbivores to the natural environment because of the ecological benefits gained in areas where large herbivores had previously been removed. Brumbies in fact forage on growth that reduces fire hazards, they spread and reintroduce seeds, their contribution is widely acknowledged by independent science. The presence of Brumbies is in fact complimentary to native species and Brumbies have lived symbiotically and successfully with native and other wildlife in our National Parks for nearly 200 years.
There is in fact no direct evidence that has been disclosed to prove Brumbies cause alleged negative impact on Victorian National Parks, habitat and native species claimed by extremist political elements.
Good Management requires Brumby populations be formally recognised for their direct links to original settler founding stock, and their essential contribution to early settlement survival, and as army remounts, enshrined in Australia's history, which in turn informs Australians today how they evolved to current generations, and inspire strong aesthetic values for films, poems, paintings, and tourism.
Acknowledged within a community management group who ought work together with Parks Victoria to identify the appropriate numbers for each of the three Victorian Locations. The Community Group should address conservation concerns raised by all first nation groups of sacred sites within all National Parks
Too much of any population, animals or humans can cause damage, and to date the Brumbies have been used as the easily seen target to "blame" and eradicate without independent scientific evidence that proves brumbies cause damage
Eradication of our Victorian Brumbies is socially and culturally irresponsible and potentially cruel. Any attempt to eradicate Brumbies ought be resisted, and in any event should be beyond the decision making input of any extremist political elements, keen to ignore the Heritage value of our Brumbies and the contribution they have made to Australia's and Victoria's cultural and social history. Extremist elements should not be making any decisions about cultural and social history.
Brumbies offer a significant tourist attraction for both the Alpine region and Barmah Forest/Wetlands, attracting tourists to Victoria's alpine regions and Barmah Forest with many local horse and adventure activities and trail operators and local businesses dependent on Brumbies remaining in the wild in Alpine and Barmah regions. 88% of Australians support Conservation. A recent Lonegan survey found that - 88% of Victorians would support efforts to preserve a herd of Brumbies living in the wild, 82% of Victorians believe that Brumbies are an important part of Australia's history worthy of preservation and that 84% of Victorians support research into the impact upon the environment by other wild animals, extreme weather events and humans.
Research thus far relied on by the Victorian Government does not fully assess ALL impacts, both positive and negative, and fails to differentiate impacts from other introduced species, reporting instead on Brumbies, yet reports relied on do not prove that Brumbies irrevocably damage the environment, and policies based on flawed research are a highly questionable drain on taxpayers' money with significant and alarming potential for tragic loss of Australia's Cultural heritage.
In order to conserve our Brumbies it is vital that Brumby research accurately reflect the dynamics of Brumby populations and how they interact in the environment in order to preserve and conserve a viable Brumby population in the key areas of Victoria.
In Victoria, we are seeking the enactment of Legislation to protect Victorian Brumbies, the "Victorian Brumby Heritage Act" (Vic) which shall "recognise the heritage value of sustainable wild horse populations within the Barmah, Alpine National Park and surrounding area of the Bogong High Plains, and to protect that heritage." We shall be seeking recognition of Brumbies to our cultural and social history and as contributors to the ecological biodiversity in Victorian national parks, and the enactment of Legislation, the Heritage Brumby Legislation to protect Victorian Brumbies.

Author - Marilyn Nuske - Animal Rights Lawyer

The Population Ecology of Feral Horses in the Australian Alps Management Summary - Dawson 2005

ANP Action Plan 2018-2021

© Brumbies Forever 2020