Coalition would halt brumby slaughter

A warning sign near Barmah National Park.

A future Liberal-Nationals Victorian government would end the slaughter of brumbies in Barmah National Park.

Parks Victoria has begun culling brumbies in the park but will not release information about what it is doing.

Brumby supporters have discovered more than 30 bodies of animals that have been shot in the forest.

The Victorian Opposition is proposing a shift in focus to re-homing and veterinary intervention to manage the brumby population.

The Liberals and Nationals promise the end of eradication by aerial and ground shooting, the conduct of an assessment of the brumby population, identifying population management methods that focus on re-homing and veterinary intervention, and liaison with NSW officials to coordinate efforts across state borders to manage populations in the Alpine regions.

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh said the party agreed with the tens of thousands of Victorians who believe brumby populations can be managed without cruel methods or total eradication.

“Labor’s approach doesn’t deliver good outcomes for the environment, with abandoned carcases that are left to rot only serving to feed up destructive and vicious pest animals, like wild dogs,” he said.

“In parliamentary budget hearings recently, the Labor Government admitted that it was working towards “eradication [of brumbies] over the forward years”.

Mr Walsh said governmental tender documents had revealed that contractors employed by the government to exterminate the brumbies were required to move carcases to hide their controversial work from public view.

Meanwhile, Goulburn Valley Environment Group has called for “a return to common sense regarding the culling of brumbies in Barmah National Park’’.

Group president John Pettigrew said feral horses should be seen clearly for what they were: “introduced feral animals which are listed by both the Victorian and federal government as pest animals, similar to rabbits, foxes and feral cats”.

“Like these other pest species, feral horses cause enormous damage to the natural environment, threatening endangered vegetation communities and native plants and animals,” he said.

“Most of us are aware of the urgent need to conserve the natural world in the face of climate change and the biodiversity crisis.

“For this reason, we need to support our land managers to control pest species like the brumbies as efficiently as possible, where it is clear that the pest species are contributing to biodiversity decline.”