“We’re talking about an animal that’s in a different environment than it should be, and it should be removed.”
These were the strong, simple words from Councillor Peter Roper, Mayor of Victoria’s Alpine Shire Council and a fifth-generation member of a famous High Country family, speaking to Nine News this week.
Mr Roper’s decision to put his views forward on television comes at a key moment in the urgent fight to control the spread of feral horses across Australia’s High Country.
Last Friday, Victoria’s Supreme Court refused an application by feral horse supporter Philip Maguire to appeal a decision allowing Parks Victoria to remove feral horses under a management plan to protect native flora and fauna.
Now Mr Roper has addressed feral horse supporters like Philip Maguire directly.
“These horses are not [champion racehorses] Black Caviar or Winx. They’re just feral horses,” Mr Roper has told Reclaim Kosci.
“They don’t belong in the High Country, nor does any other feral species – deer, foxes, pigs, the whole gamut.”
Mr Roper, a cattle farmer, echoes comments voiced recently by NSW sheep farmer Peter Davis.
“There are some very vocal people in support of the horses, but I feel that the majority of people would rather see a national park kept as a national park,” Mr Davis told Reclaim Kosci.
“We simply can’t afford to have feral horses destroying it.”
High country icon or pest?
- During the time of the legend of the Man from Snowy River, it is believed there were only ever about 200 wild horses in the Australian Alps.
- There are now about 25,000 feral horses, with numbers more than doubling in the past five years.
- The feral horses chew delicate alpine vegetation closely to the ground and trample streams and bogs with their hard hooves, destroying the delicate alpine landscape and silting up rivers that millions of Australians rely on for irrigation and drinking water.
- Feral horse numbers are highest in New South Wales, where NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro pushed through the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act in 2018.
- This unprecedented legislation enshrines in law the rights of a feral animal to degrade a pristine, iconic Australian landscape that is as important as the Great Barrier Reef.
Remove all feral animals from our national parks and state reserves, this includes horses.
The supporters or the horses?
Obviously the horses are and it seems the supporters are to sometimes.
Feral animals (horses, deer, pigs, cats, dogs, etc) are part of white colonial heritage, which goes back barely 200 years. Indigenous heritage predates feral animals and goes back 65,000 years. Surely we should be giving the indigenous heritage priority over the white colonist heritage.
Horses breed as early as 2 years and foal with a gestation of 11 months.
They go back in foal around 2 weeks after foaling. They will go in foal easier if they are a little lean. The Snowy Mountains National Park is harsh country with its cold snowy winter environment.
Horses generally foal yearly. The numbers build up in good years and horses starve in drought periods.
Despite this numbers are continually growing as they have no predators.
Intelligent and beautiful…
They are best managed …and love interacting …with caring humans who understand them.
National Parks rangers have enough responsibility. They have more important things to do than manage a huge horse paddock.
The cost of this is enormous !
Taking care of the National Park and building infrastructure so Australian and International visitors can enjoy it is their job.
A manageable number of brumbies in a manageable area…like it was in the Banjo Patterson days would be ideal if there could be collaboration with experienced interested horse enthusiasts.
Gayle Cox says it all. Any significant population of horses in Kosciuszko will quickly multiply, creating a perpetual problem and a perpetual cost that the tightly stretched resources of the NPWS cannot maintain. Rounding up and repurposing (other than for horsemeat) has proved hopelessly inefficient in the Blue Mountains and in Kosciuszko. Shoot them. A happy life up to the instant they are killed… that’s the best outcome for these horses, deer, goats, pigs, cats, camels etc. There are plenty more that are domesticated and cared for by responsible owners on private land.