I'm not sure how many people will have heard about the National Parks and Wildlife Services push to have brumby aerial culling brought back in the next couple of years. This is a video a friend of mine made to raise awareness and to also dispute a few of the NPWS's inspectors findings on whether brumbyies really do have such a major impact on the Victorian Alps.
It doesn't matter what side of the fence your on, pro or against brumbies, but pelleting a horse with dozens of bullets and leaving it to die is not the right approach to reducing wild horse numbers. Despite the fact the NPWS's survey results showed nearly 450 of 600 participants said brumby culling is Not Acceptable, the NPWS are still pushing to have it legalised again so they can aerial cull a few thousand more brumbies in the coming years.
You'll all know about the Guy Fawkes Brumby Massacre in the year 2000. Where NPWS went into A national park and performed an aerial cull on over 600 horses. It was done secretly and inhumanely. The gunmen could not get clear shots and so turned to hitting the horses with as many bullets as possible and hoping they would hit their head. A mare was shot while halfway through foaling. Many live horses were found by locals afterwards with gaping bullet wounds, lameness from being ran over miles of rough land and hundreds of dead horses with numerous bullet wounds in the neck, face, back, rump, legs, shoulders...
The NPWS had not checked to make sure the animals were dead.
Well, it seems they are pushing to do it again to over half of the brumby population in the Victorian Alps.
I agree brumby numbers need to be managed but I think aerial culling is the most traumatic, dangerous and inhumane way to do it. Other methods include:
- Trapping which involved baiting a yard with salt licks and then shutting the gate when a herd enters.
- Mustering which involves running herds of horses into a yard and selling them to new homes.
- Roping which involves a brumby being chased by a person on horse back who lassos them.
- Fertility Control which involves darting mares and fillies with a birth control drug that prevents them from getting in foal for a few years.
The other methods they aren't considering are also brilliant, effective and humane ways to control the numbers. This is a method I thought of:
- Muster the horses.
- Allow the public to come and buy horses they want at a public auction. Ideally, a majority of the horses should be removed from the Alps but around 1000 left behind to continue breeding.
- Choose a select few stallions such as stallions with good conformation, colours and natures to release. All other stallions and colts should be gelded if to be released.
- Continue to monitor numbers, muster the horses each few years and remove a number of the horses to ensure the populations don't get too high.
This is what happens in America and America doesn't have a need to do aerial culls. They use all of the other methods but not culling. Fertility control is a great method but NPWS claim they don't have a sufficient fertility program available in Victoria.
Anyhow! Have a look at the video and in the links in the description you will see a few resources to look at. And please comment and have your say about what method should be used and debate about the brumbies, their impact on the environment, their numbers. Anything you want.