Parliamentary speech by Andy Meddick during the sitting week of 6-8th June 2022. You can watch Andy ask a Question Without Notice about the control of wild horse (Brumby) populations.
7th June 2022 - Question Without Notice - Wild Horse (Brumby) Control
Mr MEDDICK (Western Victoria): My question is for the minister for the environment and is in regard to the imminent slaughter of wild horses across Victoria. The Animal Justice Party is very concerned about the tender put out for shooters to kill brumbies in the Barmah state forest and Alpine National Park. Wild horses, like all horses, are smart and social. They depend greatly on their herd, forming strong bonds. It is hard to comprehend the fear and distress that ground and aerial shooting will cause them, particularly when it comes to mares with foals. As is the story with so many non-native species, they are where they are due to no fault of their own. It is humans who have caused this problem, yet we resort to the most extreme forms of violence as a proposed solution. Will the minister cancel this planned shooting due to widespread community opposition?
A written response was ordered for both the substantive and supplementary questions. [LINK HERE] Written response received on 9 June 2022:
"I am advised that Parks Victoria is implementing the actions and operations as published in Protection of the Alpine National Park: Feral Horse Action Plan 2021 and Strategic Action Plan: Protection of floodplain marshes in Barmah National Park and Barmah Forest Ramsar site [2020-2023]. Both these plans have been developed with expert input from national experts in feral animal control and horse welfare, with the most humane feral horse management techniques selected on the best advice.
All feral horse management operations are consistent with these published plans and are thoroughly planned and implemented under strict protocols and veterinarian oversight, ensuring that operations are safe, effective, humane, and meet obligations of all relevant legislation, codes of practice and standard operating procedures.
Parks Victoria will continue to offer rehoming as part of Parks Victoria’s horse management program in the Alps and Barmah and will continue to work cooperatively with groups or individuals that have the capacity and appropriate skills for the humane rehoming of captured horses. In the recent trapping operation at Barmah, ten horses were captured and rehomed.
Rehoming alone, however, will not reduce or remove the damage caused by large numbers of introduced horses on sensitive native Australian ecosystems and species, both in the Alps and Barmah. As outlined in the plans, a range of control measures will be used including ground shooting.
I am advised that fertility control of feral horses has been considered in detail and discounted as a viable option for reducing the environmental damage caused by large numbers of feral horses.
Vulnerable alpine ecosystems and floodplain marshes, and the many native species that rely on these habitats, are suffering increasing impacts of climate change and require urgent protection from many compounding threats, including those posed by introduced animals.
Hon Shaun Leane MP
Minister for Local Government"