Australian Brumby Alliance Inc vs Parks Victoria Inc, Federal Court of Australia Case No: VID1569/2018
The Australian Brumby Alliance (ABA) promotes dialogue (written and verbal) with national park and Government Ministers as the best way forward to moderate extreme Brumby extinction practices. We have spent 12 years using this approach with some gains.
After many detailed submissions and key stake holder meeting with park and government ministers, on 01 June 2018: Parks Victoria released its “Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2021”, a plan that will eradicate all of our historic Brumby populations in Bogong High Plains and remove significant numbers from Victoria’s Eastern Alps.
This extreme decision forced the ABA to take urgent legal action as a last ditched attempt to stop the immediately extinction of Bogong High Plains and near extinction of the Eastern Alpine heritage brumby populations.
Ultimately, the slaughter of Australian wild horses without a comprehensive, unbiased knowledge of what is happening in the ecological habitat is a waste of taxpayers’ money, will do nothing to help the environment, but will destroy an important part of Australian cultural heritage.
Market Research Conducted on Public Perceptions of Wild Horses
Most Victorians consider Brumbies to be of historical importance:
• 4 in 5 (82%) Victorians believe that Brumbies are an important part of Australia’s history to preserve.
– Women are more likely to believe that Brumbies are an important part of Australia’s history (87%; cf. men 77%)
– Those without a tertiary qualification are more likely than average to believe Brumbies are an important part of Australia’s history to preserve (89%; cf. average 82%)
– Victorians living in the Mornington Peninsula (76%) area are the least likely to believe Brumbies are an important part of Australia’s history, whilst those from the Western District (89%) are the most likely
Lobbying Goal: Living Wild in Sustainable Numbers
The goal of ABA lobbying is to ensure that Brumby numbers are retained living wild in their historic habitats, in a sustainable and humane manner.
This goal is a challenge since it conflicts with current political and environmental views that, despite Brumbies evolving for 200 years in areas that later became parkland, they no longer belong because wild horses, being an introduced species, will only cause damage to their environment.
The goal of Brumbies living wild in sustainable numbers requires projecting information that is capable of shifting the current negative wild horse paradigm into a positive paradigm that shows the benefits gained from moderate Brumby levels.
To achieve the goal of sustainable wild horse populations, this website sets out to present the evidence of “why” and methodology of “how” to retain managed, viable Brumby levels, and highlights the positive impacts for native species, aesthetic values and ensures our living social heritage will survive for future generations to experience and learn from.
Healthy Brumbies in healthy environments assists species, such as birds, butterflies and insects by sustaining a patchwork of short, green grass that in turn enables biodiversity. We also recognise that removing too many Brumbies can disadvantage species that have benefited from their presence.
In working towards the goal of sustainable numbers we:
- Support objective, robust wild horse environmental studies, by working with the University of Queensland (USQ) to identify sustainable numbers,
- Call on park managers and scientists to join in the USQ Wild Horse research project to bring current polarised views into collaborative working relationships,
- Promote humane wild horse control options of fertility control and passive trapping,
- Oppose aerial or ground shooting and Brumby Running, and
- Support trials using SLOW ground musters where wild horses are moved at the pace of the slowest horse in the group. and
- Encourage passively trapped Brumbies removed under park management plans to be offered to suitably skilled rehoming groups or individuals who can ensure their transition from wild to domestic life, for they have an amazing range of skills to offer.
The wide range of lobby activities below show how we work to achieve these goals.
Lobbying for Fertility Control
The ABA hosted a one day seminar in Brisbane in 2009 to bring together the range of professional and community speakers to explain how fertility control was being used on wild horse populations overseas and marsupials in Australia.
The ABA seminar provided new professional and community contacts, that have from the start, been able to guide and support the ABA’s goal of sustainable numbers living wild.
For more information on fertility control applications see:
Lobbying for Passive Trapping
The Victorian Brumby Association, ABA founding member, initiated regular meetings with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at their Tumut office (NSW) to promote the use of passive trapping as a population control now employed in Guy Fawkes River national park (GFRNP) following the backlash reaction to the GFRNP brumby massacre in 2000. For further information on the 2000 GFRNP aerial shooting massacre, please read:
The ABA and Snowy Mountain Bush Users Group (SMBUG), another ABA founding group joined with the Tumut NPWS meetings, and then the RSPCA-NSW also joined us. Together we progressed passive trapping techniques, adaptions to the domestic horse transport code of practice and after some time safe transfer yards were erected at the Blowering NPWS.
For more information on passive trapping and ABA position on humane management options please see:
Lobby via ABA information papers
We are halfway through developing a range of information papers to show alternative views on Brumby management to information found on national park websites and projected by environmental lobby groups and their papers.
Lobby via written submission
A key way the ABA lobbies is to provide detailed submissions that evidence the range of positive Brumby aspects in managed numbers. National parks count as one submission anything from one individual email saying just kill all the feral horses, through to the complex submissions we make.
We need to use both approaches to enable statistics to best reflect all community feedback.
The ABA writes submissions for the formal community feedback stage to, for example;
- National Park Management Plans,
- Parliamentary reviews/inquiries, such as the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry to review progress on the 2016 Auditor-General audit report on Victorian Wetlands meeting Obligations to Protect Ramsar Wetlands, etc
- Land management plans where Brumbies are present,
- Act revisions that relate to Brumbiy issues such as the Acts on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation and Animal Cruelty Act, etc., and
- Royal Commissions such as the Bushfire Royal Commission, Parliament of Victoria Integrity and Oversight Committee,
- Any other opportunity that presents where Brumby management/welfare is involved.
Lobbying via Meetings and Rallys
The ABA has attended many face-to-face meetings with park managers and politicians in Qld, NSW and Victoria since the 2009 Fertility Control seminar. We find face-to-face meetings have more chance of success than written information’s, both are hard work and at times it seems such an uphill struggle. We never thought this was going to be a quick fix, and are persisting with our goal firmly in place.