CLOSE your eyes for a moment and picture around 200 majestic heritage brumbies roaming the plains of 77,000 acres in one of our local national parks. Sounds pretty amazing right? Now imagine the thought of those brumbies being culled, no longer roaming the fields they, and generations before them, have made their home for hundreds of years.
This is what is currently on the table as part of Parks Victoria’s Barmah Strategic Action Plan.
The four year strategic plan, ‘Protection of floodplain marshes in Barmah National Park and Barmah Forest Ramsar site 2019-2023,’ has ben released for public consultation, and there are many local groups, and indeed people further afield who are questioning the reasoning behind the need for the cull.
One such group, the Barmah Brumby Preservation Group (BBPG) have been working around the clock to not only care for and feed these amazing animals, but they have dug a little deeper and discovered through DNA testing in the USA that the breed that resides in Barmah is unique and not found elsewhere.
According to the plan, Parks Victoria and other government groups have estimated there are over 400 of the horses in the national park, which they are planning on reducing to around 100 by 2023. But preservation groups are saying this estimated number is far from the truth.
Parks Victoria claim that the reducing of numbers is essential in helping to protect the floodplain marshes, in controlling grazing and to conserve flora and fauna species from being trampled by the horses, such as Moira grass. But the local preservation group says the grass is being killed off due to unseasonal environmental flows being done at the wrong time of the year and not the grazing by the brumbies. The flooding is also killing off the River Red Gums.
BBPG vice presidents, Noel Wiltshire, Daryl Olney and publicity officer, Julie Pridmore met with The Adviser to talk about the inaccuracies in the plan and is calling on the community to visit the plan’s website and have their say before the deadline date of May 30.
“These brumbies have been a huge part of the bush for a long time,” Noel, Daryl and Julie said.
“From our count there are about 200 brumbies, but Parks Victoria outline there are 400. If they start culling with those numbers in mind, there won’t be any horses left.
“Their whole theory is based on lies. They aren’t making an informed decision because it is all based on untruths.
“It is the continuous water flows over the plains killing the roots of the grass, not the horses. The brumbies actually help the ecology of the park and help to reduce fire danger.
“Parks Victoria say that it is in talks with groups like ours and that they are working with us. This is not the case. They hold meetings with us but they don’t take anything we are saying on board and constantly say they have ‘no comment’ when we ask certain questions.
“On top of that these horses have been proven through DNA testing to be their own unique breed. They should be protected and taken care of, not culled.
“There are a lot of people working together to help the brumbies and feeding them off their own backs. They realise their importance, so why doesn’t Parks Victoria?
“They have been offered many possible solutions, and they are just turning a blind eye to them.
“There is a saying by Winston Churchill that goes, ‘there is nothing better for the inside of a man that the outside of a horse.’ That saying is so true.
“We are standing up for what is right and what Parks Victoria is proposing to do does not make any real sense.”
To have your say on the draft plan and provide feedback, visit engage.vic.gov.au/barmah-strategic-action-plan by May 30.