With the number of horses growing significantly in the past 5 years, they were deemed to be a threat to native species.
A Brumby is a free-roaming Wild Bush Horse found in Australia.
Historically, the Brumby was found all over Australia and were valued as they were used to build early infrastructure, for transport, farming and policing. Today, though they are seen by the Australian government as a pest. Bumbies live in many places, including some National Parks, though most are found in Victoria, New South Wales. These beautiful creatures are lately the subject of controversy in Australia.
Some Australian scientists see the Brumby as a pest and even a threat to native ecosystems and others think they are contributing more to an evolving ecosystem. In nature, vegetation or plant communities things can change over time. In the same place, the replacement of the old plant community by a new plant community is called vegetation succession. Similarly, an ecosystem is replaced by another ecosystem, which is called ecosystem evolution. From what I understand, the discussion is that the Brumby are a threat to the current ecosystem, but should scientists step in and kill the horses to save the it or should they allow the ecosystem to evolve without intervention.
That being said, the number of Brumby horses found in the Australian Alps has gone from 9,000 to 24,000 over five years.
In an effort to protect Victoria's biodiversity, their Supreme Court has made a ruling that has passions running high. The Supreme Court found Parks Victoria was not obliged to consult the community on its recent plan to shoot feral horses, meaning the Brumby. Justice Michael O'Bryan said that "I am not satisfied that the action, involving the removal of brumbies from the Bogong High Plains and the reduction in number of brumbies in the Eastern Alps, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of the Australian Alps."
Cattleman Philip Maguire brought the challenge to save the horses to court after the Parks Victoria were granted permission to cull. In an interview with the Guardian he stated that "They are not nice people. Not only are they bureaucrats, but they're zealots. They think they know everything about this country, they don't know anything about this country. They have done a lot of damage."
A cull is what is used "to reduce or control the size of (something, such as a herd) by removal (as by hunting or slaughter)."
A statement from Matthew Jackson CEO Parks Victoria reads "Parks Victoria has a legal and moral obligation to protect the native species that are at risk of extinction from the impacts of feral horses and other pest animals." Native plants and animals are found in the park are not found anywhere else in the world and as such, deserve to be protected from thr Brumby, who are severely damaging them. "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."
Parks Victoria regularly undertakes programs to manage deer, pigs and other non-native species, complementing feral horse management. They plan to kill a large number of feral horses in parts of the Alpine National Park, including shooting some in the Eastern Alps and removing the entire Bogong High Plains Brumby population.
According to Justice Michael O'Bryan, when the plan was introduced to the public, 80% of the public supported shooting the horses as a control method. Philip Maguire has said that the public was not made aware about Parks Victoria's plans to shoot the horses until May 8.
Parks Victoria told the court ground shooters would not start their operations before Tuesday, June 9.
There is currently a petition to stop the cull of the Brumby that has 94,000 signatures. If you would like to sign it, please click here .