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Environment group says brumby cull must go ahead

By Jamie Salter

Goulburn Valley Environment Group is angry about State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell's attempts to stop a planned brumby cull in Victoria's national parks.

GVEG president John Pettigrew said he "deplored" the recent action taken by Ms Lovell, and said it was an example of "sentiment over science".

“Feral horses should be seen clearly for what they are — introduced feral herbivores which are categorised by state and federal government as pest animals, similar to rabbits, goats and pigs,” Mr Pettigrew said.

“And like these other pest species, feral horses are causing immeasurable damage to the natural environment, threatening endangered vegetation communities and endangered species.

“These impacts are now being compounded by the effects of long-term drought and the devastating bushfires over summer, which destroyed so much habitat and so many millions of individuals of wildlife.”

Mr Pettigrew said there had been a scientific process to reach the decision that horses need to be culled to protect the natural environment in Barmah Forest and Alpine National Park.

“It gravely disappoints us that our local member has forsaken science and sense for sentiment,” he said.

“We hope that Ms Lovell and colleagues can live with the consequences of their decision, as they commit native wildlife found in these parks to an even more perilous future.”

However, Ms Lovell said Mr Pettigrew should get his facts straight, and that she was not opposed to the management of brumbies.

“I am opposed to the broadscale shooting of brumbies, which has been endorsed by the Victorian Government and which goes against the commitment they gave in their own Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018–2021 — which on page 22, specifically rules out shooting as a management technique and also commits that should additional management techniques be required, then ‘further public consultation and dialogue will be undertaken’,” she said.

Ms Lovell said she had not seen this further consultation undertaken.

She said local communities were concerned Parks Victoria had significantly over-estimated the number of brumbies.

Released earlier this year, the Barmah Strategic Action Plan shows Parks Victoria intends to ground or aerial shoot as many as 150 brumbies in the first year of the plan.