Moun­tain cat­tle­men say brumbies should stay

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

THE Moun­tain Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria (MCAV) has hit out at the State Gov­ern­ment af­ter news that 1200 brumbies will be re- homed or eu­thanised in the Alpine Na­tional Park, in­clud­ing all of those found on the Bo­gong High Plains.

Mak­ing the an­nounce­ment ear­lier this month, Vic­to­ria’s En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter, Lily D’Am­bro­sio, said the removal of feral horses would com­bat “se­vere dam­age” be­ing done to High Coun­try eco sys­tems.

“Feral horses can­not be al­lowed to run ram­pant in the Alpine Na­tional Park — their hard hooves dam­age the pre­cious en­vi­ron­ment and de­stroy the habi­tats of threat­ened species,” Ms D’Am­bro­sio said.

How­ever, Mans­field-based pres­i­dent of the MCAV, Graeme Stoney, said the claims were at odds with the her­itage of Vic­to­ria.

“The Bo­gong High Plains are vast and iconic,” he said.

“The small mob of brumbies that run on the plains - es­ti­mated at less than 100 - cause min­i­mal im­pact to that vast area, and are a sig­nif­i­cant part of the her­itage that makes the plains so spe­cial to visi­tors.

“The Bo­gong High Plains are one of the few places that the vis­it­ing pub­lic can gain a glimpse of the brumbies, an ex­pe­ri­ence which is very ex­cit­ing and re­ward­ing even to hard­ened and ex­pe­ri­enced bush peo­ple.”

Mr Stoney said the MCAV sup­ported re­duc­ing brumby num­bers where there was a proven en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

“With any de­bate about pub­lic land, there should be a bal­ance; and keep­ing the small mob on the plains should be part of that bal­anced man­age­ment for cultural, her­itage and tourism rea­sons,” Mr Stoney said.

“The MCAV has sup­ported the need to re­duce num­bers of horses in other parts of the Alpine Park, such as near the NSW bor­der where num­bers are in­creas­ing to lev­els where there is im­pact.”

Last month, the New South Wales Gov­ern­ment re­versed their planned cull of brumbies af­ter a pub­lic back­lash.

The brumby con­trol was to take place in the Kosciuszko Na­tional Park, where an es­ti­mated 6000 wild horses live, but was scrapped.

In a com­plete about-face, the gov­ern­ment now plans to in­tro­duce the “brumby bill” to par­lia­ment – legally pro­tect­ing the an­i­mals from fu­ture culling.

SAVE ME: The MCAV has hit out at the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment af­ter plans were an­nounced to com­pletely re­move all brumbies from the Bo­gong High Plains, along with a fur­ther 1100 in the Alpine Na­tional Park.

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