What is the one thing you want people to understand about wild horse management?

by Catherine Russell, about 3 years ago
Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. This discussion is now closed but you can still view the material and the discussion.

Wild horse management is a complex and sensitive issue. When you talk about it in your community what is the one thing you want people to understand? 


Donna about 3 years ago
Perhaps the most important thing for me, is wanting people to understand that it's not about killing, it's about preservation. Preserving our heritage both environmental and cultural, preserving the beauty and uniqueness of KNP as it is now known, which is inclusive of the horses presence and influences of early settlement, and with which it has evolved. Preserving the traditions of the areas these horses originate from and the ties they have with the many generations of families who know and love them; because our culture as a country is based on more than the wonderful land we call home, in all its beauty. We are more than merely hills and valleys and monuments, and these horses are a living, breathing reminder of how very lucky we are that our forefathers had the backbone to build what we now have from the barest of essentials. But for the horse, we would not be where we are today and without question some of our proudest achievements as a nation would never have been realised. Is unending servitude for our nations benefit worth nothing, or at best, death? I want more than anything for people to see these horse for what they are - our OWN. Despite the efforts of those who want to 'add' to the breed through filtering horses into their area, the KNP brumbies are still like no other in our country. In spite of the many droughts, fires and inclement weather, they have endured. If they don't represent the quintessential 'Aussie battler', then nothing does.Many of the 'anti' brumby contributors to the forum have insisted that passive trapping is a waste of time or inhumane because many of the horses end up at slaughter anyway. And although I see their point, I disagree on the basis that at the very least this option offers a chance at life and hope, while the other only death. I'd like people to understand that to slaughter from the air is not an option or solution, it is at best a massive failure; a failure to consider the entirety of the issue whilst aiming for a solution that equals life rather than death, a failure to respect the heritage and culture the brumbies represent and crucially, a failure to acknowledge the ties that still exist between the people raised to love and respect them, the existent living culture we know and love as our Snowies. Another very important thing I'd like people to understand is that some of the information they've read, been given or heard about has the potential to be wrong; just as we as supporters of the horse's place in the park have the potential to be proven wrong about the amount of damage they do or the extent of their impacts, so too do the critics, especially without credible peer reviewed research to support their claims. I want people to understand that the horses have existed in the area for over a century, that the 'park' existed a long time before listing and NPWS became the custodians. Before that, there were horses AND the pristine Alpine environment we all want to protect so much, and almost 200 years on we still have that pristine environment; albeit with many man made fractures, impacts and degradation, but we're still able to enjoy it, horses and all. On this basis alone, any reasonable person has to question the authenticity of material claiming to prove the horses are massively detrimental or that the park is in dire straits due to their presence.I'd also really like people to understand that 'wild horse management' has only been conducted for a very short time, and that prior to this occurring we had no 'population explosions', we had no insurmountable numbers to control or degradation too extensive to be ignored. I want them to understand that not even ignorance of the issue is reason enough to agree that inhumane slaughter is the best solution, and that just because these horses are labelled a pest and 'feral', it does not mean they're any less worthy of humane treatment and management. In essence, I want people to understand that management does not equal death and that our ethics as human beings prevent us from using lethal means of control on sentient beings, especially those sharing equally in our history and development.
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Thank you Donna and thank you for your many contributions over the course of this consultation.
Jindygal about 3 years ago
There is a lot that is pretty ugly to me in what is happening to KNP. Loss of our unique native animals and plants for starters. To ride on private property and look at horses there is enough, knowing they weren't damaging our unique Australian heritage, including aboriginal places of significance. Even if the uniqueness of Australian plants and animals doesn't do anything for your soul, doesn't aboriginal heritage count? There are some silent people affected by this debate. People wanting to keep these horses should consider doing what many conservationists and even bird-watching groups have done - buy a property to follow you dreams. Don't pollute our national parks please with mis-placed sentiment. If they mean so much to people, they should manage them on private lands.The horses increased in numbers following the end of cattle grazing in the late '60. Up till then the old timers thought nothing of shooting the horses around their leases to lessen competition for the summer grasses, and for dog-meat. No sentiment there. Some of the cattlemen at least acted as 'top predators'.There is no longer a 'top-predator' above the horses. Before 2003, horses were over-running areas of KNP, and I remember noting that certain parts were more like an equestrian park than a National Park. Walking in the smell and over piles of dung was no pleasure. Low impact users like walkers and cross-country skiers matter too. Walkers especially those belonging to clubs have to follow a 'leave no trace' code in the bush. Skiers are expected to talk everything out, including their own waste out in poo-tubes. Then come the horses and we wonder what that code was all for. Many horses died in the fires, but they have certainly increased in numbers in the last decade. And their range is spreading.If we start up a new 'heritage' species every hundred years or so, who gets to select what will be next? Or do we follow the suggestions of Craig Downer and bring in some higher level predators such as pumas, wolves and bears to balance the horses. After all, our kangaroos, wallabies, emus, wombats, frogs, BT rats and even corroboree frogs have had to make way for a 'top predator' horses over them. As you don't seem to believe horses do damage, look at the various videos on this website.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Jindygal,Which plants and animals are you referring to as having been lost? Why do you assume that because many people support wild horses in sustainable numbers, that that means that "Australian plants and animals don't do anything for our soul or Aboriginal heritage?Why do you value Aboriginal Heritage, but not also Post-settlement Heritage? Both according the NPWS Act are important.Why do you not talk of Ski Resorts, official track/roads, vehicles, etc., just low impact walkers/skiers, does that mean they should be removed also?What is wrong with a new heritage species every hundred years or so if it is around in SUSTAINABLE numbers? Evolution does not stand still.Interested in your suggestion to follow Craig Downer's predator ideas?As for damage, there are many areas in the park with no damage. That said I agree impact levels should guide sustainable Brumby numbers.Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
HI Bio-Brunby and DonnaLoss of plant and animal species is happening. See the little video Frogs or no Frogs on this linkhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/91914657@N08/sets/The stream in the fenced area is narrow and protected by grasses. The area where the horses move is pugged, the vegetation low, the water spread out over a large area, a totally different, horse created environment. There isn't any sound coming from the open area. The fenced areas are alive with frog sounds. Without plants surviving to seed, there isn't a new generation. Eventually they vanish. Come drought, that open area will dry out more readily making it harder for all animals (tiny ones too, not just big guys) to find water. There is a huge story in this video and the other PPs. This sort of sight doesn't give me the solace and joy the park should give.Extinction can be rapid. Evolution is a very slow process. Don't confuse evolution with opportunist colonisation. Heritage is a term that some people seem comfortable with using claim priority of horses over an intact Australian native landscape. Look at the other Powerpoints on that link. Horses are just one issue for park management. Built development in the park is a whole other issue, one of very many that concern people who are concerned with the natural values on the park. The Government's desire to recoup $$s and pressure from developers to open new resorts in what are now remote areas, the huge threat of weeds, fireweed being the current one engaging many volunteers to search for, are just a few of the issues. Horses are the issue for this forum, but plenty of people are also concerned about the big picture and the inter-actions. Systems, including our own bodies, can only take so much assault before they transform forever. We're only a spot in time. I don't want to contribute to the loss of what is unique in Australia.
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Donna about 3 years ago
Appearances can be deceiving Jindaygal - Perhaps the area not being grazed appears better vegetated, but with what? Not always native grasses, in fact often with weeds which aren't exactly hospitable environments for any native frogs or smaller species. Horses and their grazing habits do play an important role in the ecological balance of grasses, not least of which is their inability to digest seeds; meaning they're actually aiding the ecosystem by leaving seeds in their dung in areas they might otherwise not be found, increasing the spread of native grasses all across the park. Oh yes, of course I know you're now going to respond with "but they spread weeds as well", and to that I'd suggest you check out the research link posted by the HVBA VP which shows horse manure to be bad vector of weeds. And when the drought comes and that open area dries out, the horses will be there to dig for water when they can't find it anywhere else, leaving small puddles for other species, such as frogs, to find water where they would otherwise have perished without it. As you've so amply pointed out before, hard hooves such as those on a horse aren't found on other creatures in the park, I imagine it would be nigh on impossible for any native animal to access water below ground in such a way in times of drought. I'm not sure I'd be worried about developers wanting to open new resorts as such, I'm more inclined to be extremely worried about the very real prospect of shooting ranges being opened in the park. As for weeds, I resoundingly agree with you on that one, they're a major issue in the park and from what I've seen, not high on the agenda either. There are far more serious concerns in the immediate future for the health and longevity of KNP than the brumbies, that's clear.
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
Are you really suggesting that because there is more vegetation in a plot, it is probably weeds? That is speculation at best.There are frog sounds coming from the vegetated areas in the plots, but not outside the plots in the pugged areas. The frogs don't mix with the horses.I don't have time to check the HVBA VP link about weed dispersal, but you say that horses leave leave seeds in their dung, thereby spreading native grasses across the park but that horse manure is a bad vector of weeds. Does that mean horse digestive systems can distinguish weed seeds from local native grass seeds, and selectively spread or not spread them? There is more, taller vegetarian in the plots because it is not being grazed, by horses or kangaroos or wombats. If the horses didn't turn a narrow stream into a wide swamp vulnerable to drying out, then they wouldn't have to dig to find water. As for the poor old frogs, even now there is not much evidence of them in the bogs areas or stream banks knocked around by the horses, so they are unlikely to turn up to a hole dug by a horse. Vandalism upon vandalism is not the solution. The water will remain much longer in narrow streams and pools protected from the sun than wide, exposed bogs once there is shortage of rain and inflow from springs and melt tapers off. The frogs could continue to survive under those conditions for evermore, as they had done for thousands of years, climate change or some other as yet unknown challenge permitting.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Jindygal,I can only repeat my earlier responses to exclusion fencing at Cowombat flat, where I visited the area earlier this year with NPWS staff. I looked at the tall, fry grass on bare sandy soil inside the exclusion zone & asked a NPWS staff member "is this you really want all over Cowombat? The answer was no, it just shows what happens when grazing is excluded, and added, inside the fenced zone is Bio-MASS, while outside the zone is Bio-DIVERSITY. I understand national parks are to support bio-diversity. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
Interesting. Was your informant a park worker or a qualified ranger or botanist? To convince me, I'd have to see a plot analysis, covering the same width and length along the original stream. Looking at a few of the photos, there is short green grass in-between the horse hoof holes, but not a variety of heights, textures or colours outside the exclusion zones. If you include the area much further from the stream, then sure, there should be more bio-diversity. But even then, is it the maximum for that area, or just more because it covers a wider area? Do you have any scientific surveys for that area? I can be convinced, but need to see the evidence from a qualified researcher.
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
On that trip there was both botanists and qualified park rangers, I know because we were also there. The problems with that experiment is that they put the plots really really close together, which has created a bottleneck that forces every single animal (horse or otherwise) that walks through there to go over the same track every time. This means that the area outside the plots is in extremely poor condition, way worse than any other area of the park. I love that you say you don't have time to read the link I provided, but that you need plot analysis to be convinced, if you take the time, you will be provided with the evidence you seek! As for the frogs, well I wouldn't want to live on a highway either, but I could hear some frog noises, so I would have been extremely interested in a sort of "control" zone, one that wasn't so close to the plots, but was still accessible by the horses (etc.) because then we would actually know the difference between exclusion zones and non-exclusion zones. Not exclusion zones and "forced to walk there and only there by exclusion zones" zones.
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
My question was, who made the remark. A quick look at Google earth will show that about four 10x10metre plots in about 400 metres of the stream between the beginning of the trees and the fire-trail is exclusion zones. That shouldn't create any artificial bottle-necks. The pattern of the hoof-prints is not of a single file, it is random over the whole areas from what I saw. I don't understand the last para.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Jindygal, Not sure if you are asking Bio-Brumby or HVB VP. As HVBA VP said, both botanists and qualified park rangers were there to answer questions.Horses would be jostling for access in the narrow gap b/w the exclusion zone which concentrates the damage.I also saw the campsite used by Brumby runner/ropers, contracted by Parks Victoria was a few hundred meters up the hill, putting significant extra pressure on the area as 100-200 Brumbies are removed each year & dogs allowed in to aid runners.I feel damage is relative; examples in this chat discussion seem often to be repeat impacts from a few locations. Move away from them and impacts drop off. For Cowombat, maybe drop numbers roped, increase passive traps to lower horse population until impacts are within limits. However, Cowombat is actually in Victoria, so managed by Parks Victoria, out of NPWS hands). There is so much to trial, review and learn from, I just hope we can pull together on finding a win win for the many different reasons we visit KNP. Best wishes, Bio-Brumby
Donna about 3 years ago
Jindygal, I agree there is lots happening in KNP that is less than desirable or ideal; including but not limited to the millions of visitors in their vehicles on the many roads, bringing their pollution with them as they drive to the man made Ski fields in an endless line for months on end, bringing their waste, contributing to degradation and causing impacts that are clearly visible, in the process of enjoying their 'recreational activities'. There are the hundreds of unseen creatures misplaced by 'progress', logging, camp sites, bike trails, hiking trails and fancy accommodations; all in 'our' name. Why not ask these people to hike, bike, climb, camp, ski or drive elsewhere also?? Or perhaps ski fields etc could be managed on private lands as well? After all, we don't want the park polluted at all, sentimentally or otherwise, right?As for the loss of native animals and plants, again I ask you to provide evidence of this claim.
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Themba about 3 years ago
Donna, I couldn't agree with you more about the human damage to the park! The horses get blamed for all this damage to the park and yet humans have done far worse (and still are) damage to the park. It appears that hordes of people in the park damaging the environment and spreading weeds is ok but OH we can't let the feral animals get away with it!I second your request for actual evidence of the loss of any animals or plants in the park that has been caused by the horses. This continues to be a statement being made on these forums with absolutely no evidence whatever and I would like people to understand that there has been no extinction of any plant or animal in the park caused by the horses in the entire time they have been there. But, happy for someone to provide actual evidence if they have it.
Jindygal about 3 years ago
I would really like people to look at the damage that has been done in KNP and other parks. Look at it in person, or on video or in photos so that you can understand that the damage is real. Abundant evidence is available and irrefutable, and it is our natural heritage, and places of heritage value to aboriginal people, that is being destroyed. You can run horses, deer, goats and all the other non native-Australian animals on private land. First and foremost, our national park system should be for Australian native flora and fauna in its full complexity.
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Native?? about 3 years ago
Hi Jindygal,Its crazy how much damage there is hey. I heard a wonderful sentiment the other that, that national parks are like the lungs of Australia, and your right they are ment for and designed for native species both flora and fauna. I thinks there is only 10% of total land in NSW protected, crazy it should be alot more in my eyes. Anyway, have a good one :)
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Jindygal & Native??,To me, it’s not about seeing impacts, it is about the proportion of damage as compared to the surrounding areas. If we just look at one damage area, and infer this is across the whole of KNP, we are missing the point that ecologies regularly cope with ‘impacts’ as part of evolution. The situation changes if impacts are scientifically proved to be ecologically unsustainable, then, I & others, agree impact causes need to be lowered for that area. Agree national parks are the ‘lungs of the earth’ however just as vital is the chance to see horses living wild in KNP to me, the spiritual lungs of humanity. Can’t see how we can separate lungs from spirit. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
The issue IS about seeing the impacts and seeing how they fit into the whole picture. If water sources are damaged, even if the stony hill-tops are not, the water sources are still damaged and they are part of the whole area. It isn't practical to protect the water sources from the horses, without removing them from the surrounding landscape.If you break your big toe, it is only a little bit of you hurt, but it affects you mobility and it can have ripple-on effects. Ecosystems are the same. The kangaroos that water at the streams, spend most of their day away from the stream, but they do rely on it.If you have a rabbit-free property, and someone pops a breeding pair over the fence, initially you won't see much except in time you'll notice a bit less vegetation, then maybe some cuties bobbing around with fluffy white pom-pom tails, then some erosion gullies where the vegetation has gone. Then your kids say 'Daddy don't kill them, we love the look of them, and we want a few for pets'. Your visitors from the city agree, they love the look of the rabbits, and don't agree with killing them. Do you follow good land management practice, or placate the kids?Horses are really only a larger example of an invasion of something into a new territory. Unfortunately some people want to use our public land, the last reserves for Australian species, to let them run wild. This suggestion that we wait to prove the impacts are ecologically unsustainable, misses the point. Are you going to sit watching while a bush-fire descends on your home and family, knowing the next door neighbour's home has burnt, then decide that now you have the 100% evidence, you'll do your bush-fire preparation plan? Instead, the onus should be on any lobby group asking for national parks to provide homes for its chosen alien, to prove that they don't or won't do damage. That includes not just pro-horse groups, but also the likes of bee-keepers. The damage from the horses is widespread throughout the landscape. The easiest examples to show are the waterways, admittedly only a small percentage of the landscape. I suspect that if the horses were restricted to a 100 ha fenced-in area including the stream areas beside the exclusion zones, come a drought, they wouldn't be able to drink at a contained stream. They've mucked up the narrow channel to make a wide bog. They can't drink from a wide, dried out bog area. Give 'evolution' a few hundred years of coping with the horses, unculled and unrestrained on a limited block where they can't spread out to colonise new areas, and they'd likely drive themselves to thirst-caused extinction. The problem is that all our kangaroos, platypus, frogs and so on would be long gone. The damage isn't limited to the waterways. Heaps of dung drown the vegetation, and then concentrations of fungi spring up, followed later by plants that like humus, not the drier, nutrient deficient Australian soils, lightly peppered by hoppy rocks. Bit by bit you are changing the ecosystem. Concentrations of horse urine around the river flats; at some responsible horse-riding schools you can see a swathe of bright green grass leading down to containment ponds to collect high nutrient - esp nitrogen - runoff and stop it running into urban water-supplies.One thing I want people to understand is that feral animals, by whatever name you want to call them, do damage our national parks. I want to see wild AUSTRALIAN things in our National Parks, and I'd even qualify that. I don't want to see transposed species that aren't indigenous to the area, filling the gaps left when indigenous species are eliminated or can be out-competed. Cootamundra wattle springs to mind as a common native pest. I am delighted to see other wild animals where I know they aren't compromising what is uniquely Australian. I love the sight of horses, also foxes, even on occasion rabbits. I'd love people like you to set up tourist parks to show off horses running wild, but easily accessible to walkers, riders, painters, photographers, poets and ponderers. So many other groups do put up the money to follow their passions, on their own land, either as individuals or more often as incorporated associations. There is no reason horse lovers can't do likewise. You might even find that some of the 'keep national parks free of pests including horses' supporters are there supporting you with $$s for an incorporated association. Many of us do love horses.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
On the weekend at the 21st century town hall meeting, people were asked to decide if they were environmentalists or horse lovers. The assertion that I cannot be both is deeply offensive, and I am so disappointed that it seems people really do believe that is what we are fighting over here. As far as I can tell, from literally reading every single post that has been put on this site so far, there is only one true difference between any of us. You are either for aerial culling, or you are against it. That is it. I want the natural wonder of the KNP protected as much as the most "extreme" green. I am an "extreme green".! I am all about wind farms, solar power, sustainability, National Parks, protecting the reef, sustainable farming practices, etc etc etc. I am also an animal welfare advocate. I oppose puppy farms, the wastage in the thoroughbred industry, and will sign any petition you throw my way in regards to saving whales, bears, bilbys, dolphins, etc.etc.etc. I can be BOTH! I can both love the environment and love the horses. You do not have to sit on one side of this fence, because they are not mutually exclusive. This is not a for and against question, it is two separate questions. Do you love the environment? YES, great, this discussion is important to you. Do you love the horses? YES, great this discussion is important to you. If, like me, you love both, then this discussion is doubly important to you.During the weekend, what struck me as most interesting was the fact that the only control methods considered acceptable to table of "anti horse" people were lethal methods, ground shooting and aerial culling. All other methods were considered completely unacceptable. I would love to know why! This was a sliding scale from one to ten, but no one on that table thought fencing was even slightly acceptable, it was a resounding 10, completely unacceptable from every single member. Fertility control, mustering, brumby running and passive trapping were all the same, a resounding 10, completely unacceptable from every single member. I was shocked, I thought that they were there to try and protect the environment, to find solutions that could help those vulnerable areas of the KNP to survive. I have left the meeting believing that this is actually not their agenda, actually all they care about is the death of every single Kosciusko Brumby in the park. If you cared about the environment, you would be keen to use some fencing to save those particularly vulnerable areas, because even if aerial culling is used, horses are able to migrate back in from outside the park because there is no fences. If you cared about the environment you would be keen to discuss a compromise, a solution, but this was not the case. All that they wanted to discuss was how to kill the horses the quickest, regardless of anything else, and especially regardless of the humaneness of the methods used. I care so deeply about the environment and I really want to protect it, I also want to humanely manage the horses, I believe we can do both. So the thing that I so desperately want people to understand about wild horse management, is you do not have to choose between the environment and the horses. The only difference between any of us is this. Do you believe that a method that causes tiny foals to die from starvation while laying next to their mothers that they just watched bleed out through her withers or spine or kneecap is humane or not? I know which side I'm on.
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Thank you HVBA Vice President for this and your many other important contributions to the online consultation and thank you for attending the 21st century town hall meeting.
Themba about 3 years ago
I totally agree with HVBA Vice President. You do not have to choose between the environment and the horses, the two can go hand in hand. The people who are against the horse being removed are not necessarily horse lovers, they want to see the environment protected but they also want to see humane management take place. I believe people need to understand that the horses have been in the park for nearly 200 years and NOT ONE native species has become extinct in the time they have been there. People also need to understand that the consequences of drastically reducing the number of horses in the park could have dire consequences for the plant life and native species in the park. Without extensive studies into the exclusion of horse in trial areas of the park we will not know what the consequences of removal are until it is too late. I would rather conduct the studies instead of taking the risk of making a huge mistake and destroying the park and its habitat. It is not a simple matter of "oh we can just put the horses back if we are wrong", the Brumbies are a recognised breed of horse and the KNP horses are different to other Brumbies in Australia. They have developed over their time in the park into what they are today. Putting domestic horses back into the park will take years to get anywhere back to near the type of horse we have now. The domestic horse will not have the learned knowledge the current horses have on where to find water, where to go when it snows, what food to avoid, etc. It would be like taking a zoo elephant back to Africa and expecting it to survive and act like a wild elephant.Finally I have to say that for myself, any wild horse management plan MUST be humane, I don't believe that cost should override how humane the management is. I would like to believe that the human race has advanced enough that we are above thinking cost should be the most important consideration and that if a management plan is "near humane" then it's ok.
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Native?? about 3 years ago
Hi Themba Your right about the humane treatment and it should over ride costs, have you seen the RSPCA humane graph? its good because it is unbiased, they only care about the animals welfare, and aerial/ground shooting is the most humane processSecondly I have put a few reading up, but here is another below from Victoria: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/alpine-national-park/plans-and-projects/victorian-alps-wild-horse-management-plan/resources It’s really good because they have done scientific studies, which have to be replicated and proved. Cheers have a good one
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Themba about 3 years ago
Hi Native,Yes, I have seen the human graph and sorry but I don't read it as saying the process is humane. It reads as being "relatively humane" which is entirely different to humane. I don't know that I would call the graph unbiased either considering that the RSPCA receives government funding and have been known to back down to the government to say money. I have to admit that I am not entirely on the side of the RSPCA because I know that in the ACT they transfer animals to the pound for euthanasia which means that those deaths are removed from their stats, interesting way to make sure you stats look good isn't it!Sorry but the link you posted doesn't work, I get "page not found", are you able to post it again so I we can see what it says?Have a good one yourself.
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Native?? about 3 years ago
I guess that’s all we can do, is to be relatively humane. If you think about it, everything from having domestic animals fenced and killed at abattoirs for food, breaking a ‘wild’ horse in for domestic hobby uses, having a fish in a fish tank, cutting a broccoli head off a plant or pulling out a weed, it’s all a perception of ‘relatively humane’. And to say the RSPCA is dodgy…Really, come on, this is the problem, there are so many protocols in place to prevent any of that.. It’s like people who say there’s no such thing as climate change, or that the Australian environment isn’t affect by the hard hoofed 200-300kg horse. It’s just scientifically so wrong; I don’t understand, it’s proven in so many countries around the world Spain, USA, NZ, just to name a few that horses have a enormous impact on endemic highly evolved species. If you right click on the link it should work, or copy paste it, or google—‘victorian-alps-wild-horse-management-plan’http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/alpine-national-park/plans-and-projects/victorian-alps-wild-horse-management-plan/resourcesI am having a good one Thanks :)
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Themba about 3 years ago
Sorry but I disagree, we can do much more than be "relatively humane" if we want to. Using "relatively humane" as an excuse to get rid of an animal is simply just a cop out in my opinion. If you wouldn't do it to say a dog then why would you do it to an animal labelled feral. Contrary to what you appear to believe breaking in a wild horse is not what it used to be, there is a large movement towards natural horsemanship in Australia and the world that uses the horses natural instincts to train them to be ridden. The word "break" is not used literally any more.Have to also disagree with you about the RSPCA as well sorry. Even called them about the neigbours dogs being left in their backyard day after day with no exercise and being yelled at and hit every time the owner actually bothered to interact with them only to be told that "if the dogs are being fed and watered then we (RSPCA) are not coming out". Or called them about another neigbours dogs left in a dog trailer all day in 35 degree heat with no water to have them not bother to show up or call you back?? By the way, those dogs died.....I would be very interested in the links to the Spain, USA and NZ info you have.Still no luck with the link sorry, I will give your last option a try when I have time and see if I can locate it.
Donna about 3 years ago
There is no such thing as relatively humane; an action can be classified as humane, or not. There is no grey area. As to the RSPCA, I urge you to seek further information relating to the comments made by Themba; they are proven and valid concerns shared by many for some time now. No amount of 'protocols' will alter the truth. It's funny you should mention the weight of science in proving the 'impact' of horses in particular, especially internationally speaking. Many European countries are in the process of reintroducing hard hoofed horses to graze certain areas in order to regain the ecological balance lost when they misguidedly removed them many years ago in the name of 'conservation'. The US and Canada have also used horse reintroduction to balance an otherwise floundering ecosystem. Perhaps, as has been the case throughout our history in so many instances, our nation will be decades behind other developed countries in Wild horse management and one day far into the future our great great grandchildren will be 'suddenly' enlightened and follow suit. I expect though, far too late.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Can you please clarify - in Europe, USA & Canada were the horses native or introduced? From my reading, the Mustang are treated as introduced because they were introduced in the 1500s (?) by the Spanish after many thousands of years of no horses in the USA- you say they are being introduced to "certain areas" - what is their criteria for reintroducing them? Are the "certain areas" as sensitive as KNP? From what I read on the "rewilding Europe" site small numbers of horses (24 at one site) are being reintroduced to areas that had been grazed for centuries and then abandoned. From anther article:Last fall, in the far west of Spain, a small crowd applauded as two dozen dark brown horses trotted gingerly out of a temporary holding pen in the Campanarios de Azaba Reserve—5 square kilometers (about 2 square miles) of rolling grassland sprinkled with mature oak trees.That sounds nothing like KNP to me...And further down an article it makes the damming comment:As even ardent supporters acknowledge, however, it’s not yet clear how best to approach that challenge, and existing projects have produced precious little data. “Scientists have argued back and forth about this, and to be honest, there wasn’t much science involved; it was more based on intuition and personal opinion,” says Josh Donlan, who runs Advanced Conservation Strategies, a nonprofit consultancy based in Park City, Utah, and Paris, France. “In the meantime, practitioners have embraced this proactive approach, so I think science needs to get on board. That’s the only way we can get the data we need.”I can't bold things here so I'll quote one bit again "it was more based on intuition and personal opinion".For comparison, the USA considers 26000 to be the appropriate number of Mustangs in the wild (see Wikipedia article). No matter how you scale it their appropriate number of horses for KNP would be a whole heap lower than the current population...
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Donna about 3 years ago
http://wildequus.org/gallery/los-llanos-venezuela-2011/http://wildequus.org/gallery/cave-horses-galicia-2012/http://www.courier.co.uk/Exmoor-ponies-new-pesticide-Crowborough-meadow/story-21187200-detail/story.html#J5AQQQhlmMD3jjCY.99http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/39799/title/Where-the-Wild-Things-Were/http://equusmagazine.com/blog/europe-plans-new-eco-friendly-rewild-horse-ecology-25378http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/01/08/260777584/after-2-000-years-wild-horses-again-roam-western-spainhttp://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/info/20089/rich_cultural_heritage/48/commoning/5http://www.wild-horses-namibia.com/future.htmhttp://www.nps.gov/asis/naturescience/horses.htmI hope these links help clarify things for you Peter_mcc. I'm going to be presumptuous and say I'm pretty sure you're going to respond with something along the lines of "but these examples prove that horse populations must be small", and in response to that I'd definitely advise you to consider that the New Forest has a population of around 5000 free roaming horses (privately owned by commoners) and the following quote from the New Forest National Park website - "The landscape of the New Forest National Park is beautiful, rare and fragile. It is a mosaic of ancient and ornamental woodland, open heather-covered heaths, rivers and valley mires, a coastline of mudflats and saltmarshes, and pretty, historic villages. Lowland heath once covered much of southern England but the New Forest National Park is now the largest area that remains. It is a landscape shaped by man, by history and by the animals that still graze it today". Minus the mountains and a few Aussie features, I think that's a pretty close model to our KNP, particularly in terms of fragility and sensitive ecosystems.My point of course is that the number of horses may change, but their consistent benefits to the ecosystem do not. A few interesting excerpts and quotes from one of the articles regarding rewilding Europe that you referred to and a couple I found in the links above relating to the horses of the Namib, Konik Ponies and the New Forest Ponies. Wild horses of the Namib - Another problem touches on the principles of nature conservation. The horses live mostly in state-owned Namib Naukluft Park, which is supposed to protect the indigenous flora and fauna. The area around Aus is seen as a biological hotspot – with more than 500 plant species, some of them endemic, which means that they do not occur anywhere else.What if the horses were a disruptive element in their environment and contributed to unique plants becoming extinct? What does the presence of the Wild Horses mean for the management plan of the nature reserve?South African biologist Telané Greyling has dealt with these and other questions in her thesis on the Wild Horses. Greyling found no indication that the horses displace the indigenous flora or fauna. She stated that by and large the same species and same numbers of individuals which are found in nearby areas of comparison occur also in the area where the horses live.Nearly 5,000 ponies roam free in the National Park. It is rarely possible to travel more than a few miles without coming across these famous Forest residents. - New Forest PoniesThe idea is that natural grazing will initiate a chain of ecological events that alter local ecosystem dynamicsRewilding Europe’s designated areas also represent open-air experiments in which ecologists can answer questions about the impact of wild grazers, the nature of preagricultural European ecosystems, and the question of how large, wild herbivores affect biodiversity. Teaming up with ecologists at several European universities, Rewilding Europe also hopes to facilitate research on the ecological role of carcasses and dung, both of which fuel food webs in ways that are not well understood, particularly at the level of insects, fungi, lichens, and mosses.Rewilding—in the broadest sense of promoting natural ecological processes—is an approach that, after initial intervention, requires minimal management and should encourage biodiversity and bolster ecosystem processes, such as soil protection, water-cycle regulation, and carbon sequestration. “In terms of providing these sorts of services, rewilding is as good, or better, than current management practices,” says co author Henrique Pereira of iDiv, who joined the supervisory board of Rewilding Europe last year.Plans include the reintroduction of large herbivores, such as red deer, ibex, and bison, into 10 designated areas across the continent, from western Spain to eastern Romania, as part of the group’s attempts to allow natural processes, rather than continued human management, to shape the landscape. “It’s about making Europe a wilder place,” says Frans Schepers, managing director of Rewilding Europe, “a place with more scope for natural ecological processes to restore self-sustaining ecosystems.”With early rewilding projects now maturing and Rewilding Europe launching new ones across the continent, conservationists and ecologists alike now have an unprecedented opportunity to see whether the introduction of large mammals and a hands-off approach really can forge self-sustaining ecosystems in which biodiversity can flourish.In the 1980s, Frans Vera, a government scientist at the Staatsbosbeheer, the government agency responsible for Dutch nature reserves, wanted to revive lost ecological processes on the marshland-like site - Konik PoniesMore than 30 years later, most observers agree that from a conservation perspective, the Oostvaardersplassen is a success. The fact that large herbivores roam free in self-regulating populations is itself an achievement, says Vera. Moreover, the presence of grazers, including tens of thousands of greylag geese, continues to prevent reforestation, creating a more diverse habitat that has attracted many bird species, including the rare white-tailed eagle and black vulture. “The proxies have shown they are well capable of creating and preserving grasslands,” says Vera, “and that has proved to be important for other species.”
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
but these examples prove that horse populations must be small... hahahahaa couldn't resist :-)
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
hahahahah its nice to see we can still joke around a bit. I think the point is, what is considered a reasonable population size for each given area. Which means we have circled back to the same problem, we need to know what is a sustainable population for the KNP so that we can strive to achieve this number.
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
I looked at the New Forest Ponies (because they were first in your list). I'm not sure you can compare them to KNP horses.They are a native animal there - like a Kangaroo for KNP. From Wikipedia:"The breed [New Forest pony] is indigenous to the New Forest in Hampshire in southern England, where equines have lived since before the last Ice Age; remains dating back to 500,000 BC have been found within 50 miles (80 km) of the heart of the modern New Forest"The management of the New Forest is also totally different to KNP. The New Forest Ponies are owned by people (from the New Forest National Park site): Each pony is owned by a ‘commoner’ – someone whose property has common rights allowing them to turn out ponies to graze on the Forest. The Commoners also have the right to turn out pigs and cattle to graze in the forest - something that isn't really part of the KNP management plan!The horses there have also had a much bigger impect in shaping the forest - again from the New Forest National Park website:The ponies are sometimes described as ‘the architects of the Forest’ because it is their grazing that creates much of what people know and love as the New Forest – the close-cropped ‘lawns’ between the wooded areas and the distinctive ‘browse line’ on the trees marking the highest point ponies can reach.The type of forest there is also different. While it may be further north, the highest point is 129m above sea level. It snows there sometimes but I gather not every year. And when it does the owners feed their horses. That is completely different to KNP.It's true that there are horses in the New Forest. I'm not sure that there is much more than that we can use to help KNP horse management.If I get a chance I'll take a look at the other sites - I really should be working but I've got a cold and my brain is having trouble engaging...
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Wild horses of the NamibI had a quick look at this. I'd like to point out that it has been suggested the KNP Horse counts are unreliable because the researcher was paid. I would argue against that, saying it diminishes the integrity of the researcher.However, if that is a valid thing to question then the whole "Wild Horses of the Namib" must be questioned too. Quoted fromhttp://www.wild-horses-namibia.com/future.htm"South African biologist Telané Greyling has dealt with these and other questions in her thesis on the Wild Horses. Her work was supported by the Ministry for the Environment and Tourism, by the lodge and tour company Klein Aus Vista as well as the other partners of the Gondwana Desert Collection."The people who supported her work had a vested interest in the horses remaining.Greyling now works for "The Namibia Horse Safari Company" - so the continued existence of the horses is her livelihood. See http://namibiahorsesafari.com/index.php/abour-usWas her research biased? Dunno - probably not. But if people are going to cast aspersions over the KNP horse counts because the researcher was paid then you'd have to discard Greyling's work as well. And, I'm guessing, the work of nearly everyone who has done anything in the field... since I'm sure there were very few people with no vested interest at all.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I assume the RSPCA humane graphs are the ones that came from feral.org, I've seen those and they set very specific guidelines that cannot possibly be met in the KNP terrain. It also states very clearly that it can extremely inhumane if used incorrectly (as can all methods). They also do not include the effect of the helicopter terrifying the horses, or account for the starving foals, only what happens to the particular horse that is shot. I love how the RSPCA is considered the be all and end all of opinions on animal cruelty, have you tried asking other animal rights organisations, PETA for example, Animal Justice Party is another one that springs to mind, you might find a different view of how humane aerial culling is then. Anyway, the position of the RSPCA changes regularly on this, and I find it quite inconsistent that they currently call for Duck Shooting to be banned australia wide, but will support Aerial Culling of horses.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
If you ask PETA then any killing of an animal is bad... so it's no good to catch them then send them to a knackery!I think there is a big difference between duck shooting (for fun) and aerial culling of feral animals (for management). The motivation is totally different, the identification is totally different (hard to work out what kind of duck it is, easy to work out it is a horse) and it's being done by professionals. I don't think anyone is saying sporting shooters should be allowed into National Parks to shoot horses... that would be more equivalent to duck shooting.
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
I think you are exagerating the possible problems if horses are removed. There seems to be a lot more evidence that they are doing damage than that they have become an essential link in the cycle of life in less than 200 years.In any case, elimination of the horses is next to impossible - there will always be some from which more will breed given half a chance. There would be no problem "restocking" KNP with horses in the unlikely event that they are found to be beneficial.How on earth would you work out if they were beneficial anyway without removing them? HVBA Vice President suggested that perhaps some beetle would prefer horse poo to wombat poo - I challenge anyone to produce some sort of study summary that will address all possible ways in which horses have a slim chance of being essential. And then give an estimate of the cost and duration. And where the money would come from.Whilst the human race may well be advanced it is still limited by finances. All many people are asking for is that the removal of feral horses be treated the same as the removal of all other feral animals - not as a special case. For every other feral animal in every other area of the country (private/public land, etc) there is an acknowledgement that any management program needs to be cost effective. Whilst this doesn't justify being inhumane it does lower the threshold a bit.It's the same test that is applied to everything funded from the public or private purse. That's why little used back roads in the country are dirt, schools have demountable classrooms, etc, etc, etc. There are so many possible examples of where the "best" or "gold plated" option isn't taken by the government, businesses or individuals because there just isn't enough money to live life that way.
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Themba about 3 years ago
I'm not exagerating it at all, how do you know what the consequences will be unless it is looked into. Sure, things could go just fine but what if they don't? I would rather know beforehand than after the fact! We keep fiddling with the environment and from what I have seen we haven't made anything better so lets actually conduct some studies into what would happen before we just rush in and do what we have always done in the past.All I am asking for is conduct the studies, they don't need to be and would be preferable not to be funded by parks. Fence off say 5 acres in an area frequented by the horses, give it a year and see what the results of plant and animal life distribution is in comparison to the non fenced areas. It doesn't have to be expensive, use a hot fence with a solar generator.I don't think the human race is so advanced if we are still looking at lethal means to remove "feral animals". Regardless of what the animal is it should be treated as humanly as possible. For me cost doesn't come into it, if a method cost 50cents and is inhumane I would still not choose it over a method that cost $100 and is inhumane.Tell me about dirt roads! I would love to see some paved roads where I live but I would happily provide my tax payer money to the humane treatment of animals and live with the dirt roads. Dirt roads, while an annoyance, I can live with, cruelty I can't.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
And if we leave them there in large numbers the consequences will be.... from the existing data we are very confident that it will result in environmental damage. I'd rather know beforehand than after the fact - and the evidence is in.One of the ways we haven't made things "better" is by keeping a growing horse population in KNP.
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Themba about 3 years ago
Sorry Peter_mcc, you know I disagree with you. I like the way you say "we are very confident" like it is everyone when in fact it's not even close to being true. The horses are not there in large numbers and I seriously doubt they ever will be. The current population control methods ARE working to reduce the amount of horses in the park without compromising any animals or plants that live there and this is fact that cannot be denied. As I have pointed out before, no animals or plants have gone into extinction in the whole time the horses have been there so it is highly unlikely this is going to happen in the future due to the horses being in the park unless people help it along by fiddling with the ecology as it is.I am really disappointed that people want to see the horses gone without ever finding out first what the consequences are of removing them. I for one, would like to know before the fact. This isn't a hard thing to do and I am really surprised that anyone who has the best interests of the park in mind would just throw this suggestion to the side and not even consider it.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
You're right - we're not going to agree. The horses are there in large numbers - especially if you compare it to the target mustang population in the whole of the USA of 26000 odd. I don't think the current population control methods are working because the latest horse survey has shown increased numbers. Pigs, goats, deer and rabbits have also been there a long time - should they stay too?Besides, the horses will never be gone. There is no way that NPWS (and their ACT/Victorian counterparts) will ever be able to eradicate them from the park - the park is too big and the borders too porous. I'd like to see their numbers reduced greatly but accept that elimination isn't a sensible or economic option. The lack of a horse population target makes this whole discussion board more difficult - if we knew what they were aiming for we could have a much better discussion on how to get there.
Stromlo about 3 years ago
Just wanted to comment on the statement "..still limited by finances". You can pretty much say that hardly any money goes into humane control of overabundant species but you can't say more is not available. There is just no political or social will. I find it very sad that the public is glad to pay for the best swimmer in the Olympics or having the most fireworks on New Years Eve but they will not support research and development of better ways to humanely control over abundant species - which for the most part is the result of human mismanagement. There are other things than 1080 and aerial culling. If a very small percentage of what is funded to have the best athletes in the Olympics or from government take from the horse racing industry I believe we would live in a better world. Perhaps some of the energy we are putting in here should be directed to this broader issue?
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
In my view more money is "not available" because there is no political or social will. Campaign for better treatment of feral animals if you like - rightly or wrongly they are never going to gather much support when the options are so much more expensive and less effective.
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Themba about 3 years ago
I agree with you as to political will (although there are politicians with enough conscience to stand up for the horses) but I disagree about social will. If there was no social will then yourself and others calling for the horses to be removed would have these forums to yourself.I will continue to campaign for better treatment of "feral" animals, no animal deserves to be treated cruelly. I also don't agree that the options put forward for humane control are much more expensive and less effective, it simply calls for people to do what is right and reject the easy option that they are not going to witness being put into effect or see the end result from. I wonder just how many people would still think that aerial culling is humane if they had to sit in the helicopter with the shooter and then do ground follow ups.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
I might not have been clear - I meant there is no political or social will to "more humanely" deal with feral animals in general (eg rabbits, foxes, pigs, goats, etc). The horses seem to be a special case - a bit like whales. There is more political/social will to give them special treatment as shown by the current ban on aerial culling for horses in National Parks - no other animal is afforded such protection in NSW (or indeed, as far as I know, the country).I guess to have a sensible discussion about the costs we'd need to know from NPWS what an aerial cull was expected to cost per horse removed. Without that figure we're both just waving our hands in the air to back up our arguments!
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Themba about 3 years ago
No, I think you were clear. And again, if there were no social will to "more humanely" deal with "feral" animals in general you would have this forum to yourself. The horses are not a special case, they are animals that deserve to be treated with respect and humanely just like any other animal, even rabbits, foxes, pigs, goats and whales. I don't believe that I am alone in campaigning for the humane treatment of animals, no matter what they may be. I don't believe that an animal should be treated less humanely because it has been labelled feral.I do agree with you that it would be helpful if we could have some costings from NPWS on just how much aerial culling would cost. I continue to see people on these forums state that it is "cheap" or "cost effective" but am yet to see anyone actually put up the true cost of conducting the aerial culling. As you know, I have provided an approximate costing comparing it to the cost of aerial weed spraying that shows it is not by any means a cheap option. I am yet to see anyone actually validate their claims of aerial culling being cheap or cost effective.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Here's some info!From http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-13/animal-welfare-horse-culling/4873726they killed 3500 horses in 5 days with 2 helicopters at Tempe Downs - I don't care how much ammunition/fuel/helicopters/etc cost it would have to be cheaper than trapping them at $1000/ea - ie $3.5M. In http://www.abc.net.au/site-archive/rural/qld/content/2007/s2088587.htm it says "She says they've also been told that a further $250,000 has been allocated by the Queensland government to pay for the cull of another 10,000 horses" - that works out at $25/horse. Even with inflation that is a lot cheaper than trapping.Another article says at the bottom:"Jennings continued: “Sources indicate the estimated costs of the aerial cull will be between $A200 to $A400 per head, which indicates the total cost of the cull would be in the vicinity of $A2m to $A4m (based on the estimated slaughter of 10,000 horses)."(from http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/05/11/planned-aust-aerial-cull-target-10000-horses/#axzz3LUP6ebIS )For comparison an article about feral pigs said:"Sheer numbers meant an average of only 2.3 bullets were used in each kill last month and the cost was $30 a head compared with $80 a head when the campaign began two years ago, Mr Betts said."http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/aerial-culling-of-8000-feral-pigs-20090706-daij.htmlhttp://www.nintione.com.au/resource/DKCRC-Report-47-Ch08_Saalfeld-and-Zeng_Review-of-non-commercial-control-methods-for-feral-camels-in-Australia.pdf has a lot of info with costs between $20 & $100 for shooting camels.From http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/documents/conservation-management/pests-diseases/camel/lorna_glen_camel_survey_post_culling_2007.pdf"A total of 836 camels, 46 donkeys and 534 horses were culled from a portion of the UCL in the 5 day culling operation which cost a total of $45,650 in aircraft and helicopter time and once other costs were added had a total operational cost of $79,000."]or about $60 per horse/camel.From http://www.ruralsolutions.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0007/158515/National_MBI_Recommendations.docit was about $10k/day in 2010 for a team. As long as they kill 10 horses a day it's cheaper than trapping.Perhaps it's a bit higher if you include everything else:“The cost per head of shooting the camels from helicopter had blown out, with the latest provided estimated being about $212 per head, plus direct operation costs, whatever they might be.“This is not counting the $6 million dollars of State and Territory Government funds to date as well. That puts the cost per head to over $400 a head.from http://www.senatoredwards.com.au/Media/MediaReleases/tabid/89/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/29/Taxpayers-Humped-With-Cost-Of-An-Ineffective-Camel-Cull.aspx
Donna about 3 years ago
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/05/11/planned-aust-aerial-cull-target-10000-horses/#axzz3LUe69iA7Forgot to include this link earlier Peter_mcc, but it quotes Elizabeth Jennings of Waler Horse Society of Australia as saying "Sources indicate the estimated costs of the aerial cull will be between $A200 to $A400 per head, which indicates the total cost of the cull would be in the vicinity of $A2m to $A4m (based on the estimated slaughter of 10,000 horses). This is in relation to the aerial cull in Tempe Downs last year, so perhaps it's recent enough for Admin to confirm or deny these figures.
Stromlo about 3 years ago
Well... In my view nothing justifies cruelty to animals and if there are better ways they must be developed and used. "Feral" animals are not monsters. They were brought here by us to do something for us and then were mismanaged by us. We need to take full responsibility for that. I have met many people who think it is ok to do very cruel things to "feral" animals as the language used in reference to them is hostile and avoids linking the problem to human error. Do 2 wrongs make a right? Humans can stuff up and then be cruel to the animals they are responsible for? The environment is threatened so it is ok to inflict cruelty on the species perceived to be the cause? If ALL of us who care for the environment also took time to lobby government to put more resources into humane management of overabundant species I believe we would be making the world a truly better place.
Khankhan about 3 years ago
HBVA Vice President. As you attended the said meeting can you tell we readers what were the recordings on the scale of 1 to 10 from the people on your table? I presume more than one issue was raised. I have read your position on brumby running. Did you have brumby running advocates with you? What was their position on control methods? Were they all humane?
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Hi KhankhanI would be happy to share the views from my table. On my table was a variety of other members of the wild horse advocacy group. Our table had a wide variety of views, including some people that supported brumby running and some that didn't, some people that supported fertility control and some that didn't, some that supported fencing and some that didn't etc etc. We have all worked together for years to protect our Brumbies and we all understand and respect each others views. We had some wonderful discussion, we learnt a lot from each other, as we always do, and yes, sometimes we disagreed. When were were asked to present our views on the 1-10 scale, we always had a wide range of numbers that had been chosen. We take this VERY SERIOUSLY!!! We answer with complete honesty no matter if we disagree with our friends and colleagues, because to us this is just too important to do anything different. The only thing that we all completely agree on, is that Aerial Culling is absolutely, completely, always unacceptable.
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Khankhan about 3 years ago
HVBA Vice PresidentThanks for that info.
Themba about 3 years ago
Do you know how the audience for the town hall meeting was chosen? I didn't see anything in the media or papers about the meeting and would have liked to attend. Bit disappointed that my rates go to the council in that region and yet I wasn't informed of the meeting even taking place!
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Donna about 3 years ago
I'd be very interested in the response to this too Themba, it's something I've been wondering since hearing of the results.
Admin Commented Jenny.Bhatai about 3 years ago
For information regarding the 21st Century Town Hall meeting process please refer to the Key Documents section on the site. Alternatively please click this link https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/protectsnowies/news_feed/21st-century-town-hall-meeting-overview Many thanks.
Themba about 3 years ago
Admin, can you confirm that the participants in the survey were paid $150 to attend? I also understand that at least one participant didn't actually know where KNP was!
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I hope admin doesn't mind me answering these questions, but this is what I was told on the day by our facilitator. The participants were chosen at random by a third party recruitment company that called people in the surrounding area and asked them questions to see if they would be suitable, they then "randomly selected" 75 people, half from the "city" and half from the "country" of various ages and sexes (but I must say that most appeared much, much older than me) that did not identify as either having strong views on "the environment" or strong views on "animal rights" (I found this particularly interesting, at least they know this is what we are discussing, its not just horses lovers you worry about its those crazies that worry about animal welfare, was it because they recognise that if you care about animal welfare you won't support aerial culling???). These participants were not told about the topic until after they arrived for the day, and they were paid $150 each to attend (stakeholders were paid nothing for their participation). And yes, one participant didn't know where the KNP was, although there was a few interesting answers so we thought it might have been that one person was not taking it seriously. I hope this information is correct, happy for Admin to correct if it is not, mostly because I would like to know too if i'm wrong too :)
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Themba about 3 years ago
Thanks for the reply HVBA, I find it very interesting how the survey participants were chosen and the fact they were paid for the participation. You would think the organisers would at least ensure the participants knew where KNP was!
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
That sounds like a funny "Town Hall" meeting - I'd have thought from the name that it would be interested people from "the town" (in this case, people interested in KNP Horse Management) rather than randoms from the neighbouring cities or further afield.
Admin Commented Jenny.Bhatai about 3 years ago
For additional information regarding the 21st Century Town Hall meeting process please refer to the Key Documents section on the site. Alternatively please click this link https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/protectsnowies/news_feed/21st-century-town-hall-meeting-overview Many thanks
Donna about 3 years ago
I’ve compiled these links in response to the many comments stating the ‘humaneness’ of aerial culling, so that people may SEE how tragically wrong they are to believe anything so incredibly barbaric could be even remotely humane; and so all who ask for it to be used may fully understand the reality of the cruelty they’re sanctioning.We’ve heard talk of ‘the budget’ not being sufficient to use the most humane methods available, that aerial culling itself is “relatively humane” and is the ONLY solution to the purported overpopulation problem because its efficient, cost effective and capable of reducing the population dramatically in one foul swoop. And yet, this list amply demonstrates the fallacy of these claims; the states using this heinous form of ‘management’ have another thing in common – their inability to consistently manage brumby populations regardless of the alleged efficacy of aerial culling. Despite their apparent ability to reduce numbers swiftly through aerial culling, no long term benefits are evident and they’re continually repeating the same pattern of slaughter every 5 years or so. Cost effective? I’d beg to differ. Costs relating to pilots, choppers, fuel, ammunition etc are only rising each and every year and no state Govt in our country can afford to keep up with them and continue to use aerial culling; as a control method it’s clearly financially unsustainable. Last year when they culled in the Kimberley, RSPCA WA President Lynne Bradshaw was quoted as saying “The RSPCA agreed to provide recommendations on the most humane form of control of the Lake Gregory horses on the basis of a guarantee from the government that a long-term management plan was put in place so that another operation of this scale would not happen in the future”. I'm not entirely sure why there were a different set of rules for the NT Govt when in May of the very same year “About 3500” horses were culled on Tempe Downs Station, but it’s clear that levels of humaneness are at the least inconsistent and at worst, bordering on negligent, by both Govt and the RSPCA. Oh, and no, there is no long term management plan in place for the Kimberley brumbies at this point in time.It’s also important to note that although media articles at the time showed pictures of horses who had obviously died from lack of water, these pictures were later confirmed by Traditional Owners of the station as being taken several years earlier in the midst of a bad drought. At the time of the cull occurring, there were many reports and pictures of ample waterholes full to the brim and fat healthy horses, despite the claims of starvation by those responsible.Lending great weight to the ‘endorsement’ of the RSPCA on aerial culling is unwise given their propensity to ‘flip flop’ on the issue over several years, stating just 6 years ago in 2008 they were opposed to the culling of feral animals from moving platforms, only to then give their ‘approval’ for a massive cull in the Kimberley a mere 5 years later, which sadly once again resulted in wounded horses left to die an inhumane death.As evidenced in several instances, it would appear the one reliable thing about aerial culling is the inevitable result of wounded, suffering horses, hidden from sight behind claims of success and empty promises of long term, non lethal management plans that unsurprisingly, never eventuate. And the murderous cycle continues. No matter the years that pass and the assurances of “efficiency, accuracy” and, worst of all I feel, “humaneness” of aerial culling and the supposed improvements in pace with technology, the end result is always and irrefutably a cruel fate worse than death. This fate I feel is demonstrated no more horrifically than the realization that in allowing aerial culling to be used and calling it humane, we are sentencing perhaps hundreds of unborn foals to die slowly in the womb; either from lack of oxygen or deadly wounds sustained in its mothers culling. There is no possible way any vet or RSPCA inspector could ever ascertain without question their instant death or even insensibility to pain, as per the RSPCA’s own policy on humane killing or slaughter. An excerpt of this policy states; Dictionary meanings of humane include: ‘kind, benevolent behaviour’ and ‘compassion for the suffering or distressed’ when applied to people and ‘inflicts less pain than others’ when applied to an instrument. – Note: Aerial culling cannot be described as ‘inflicting less pain than others’The RSPCA definition of humane killing is: ‘an animal must be either killed instantly or rendered insensible to pain until death supervenes’. All methods of humane killing, including slaughter and on-farm euthanasia, must meet the same criteria:• death of an animal without panic, pain or distress - Note: An inherent impossibility with the use of aerial culling• instant unconsciousness followed by rapid death without regaining consciousness – As aboveThe full document can be found here: http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-do-we-mean-by-humane-killing-or-slaughter_115.htmlThis is surely classified as knowingly causing cruelty; to slaughter heavily pregnant dams in the midst of foaling season, which has been the case in just about every circumstance I’ve found, is simply unconscionable and anything but humane. An embryo is considered to have developed to a foetus between 50-55 days gestation; at 60 days he or she will have tiny hooves. To leave this unborn foal to suffer a miserably barbaric death in the womb is murder most cruel.So you see, it’s not about “special treatment” as some have claimed, it’s simply that these horses deserve the level of humaneness expected from any decent, compassionate human being; and aerial culling most definitely doesn't even come close. As can be seen from the link and quotes below on an aerial cull of camels and horses just this year, any animal subjected to this type of mistreatment is likely to suffer the same horrible consequences. I implore each and every person in support of aerial culling to follow the links and really see what it is they’re asking for, and consider the true life or death implications of such a decision. Consider the pattern seen in the history of aerial culling, from what I’ve found going back almost 30 years, and ask yourself if you can live with the knowledge you were party to another case of well intentioned murder. I know I won’t.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL9KlLqL1bIGovt whitewash Gunship slaughter of brumbies – relates to the now infamous GFRNP cull of 2000 and should be considered in conjunction with the following from the Australian Brumby Alliance:http://australianbrumbyalliance.org.au/reviewing-the-october-2000-aerial-shooting-of-guy-fawkes-brumbies/http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2014/s4134165.htmCamel Cull – 23/11/2014 – raises questions about the humaneness and efficacy of aerial culling both camels and horses. Please not the date and following quotes - TAHMINA ANSARI: The feral management program also included wild horses and donkeys and questions have been raised about the welfare of the animals killed. These distressing pictures show horses wounded and left to die. Ian Conway says the same thing happened to countless camels.IAN CONWAY: I've been out into areas where camels have been shot and you can obviously see that they haven't died on the first shot or haven't died at that point in time, but died perhaps hours later or perhaps days later. We were guaranteed that these animals would be killed and die instantaneously. But a lot of these are lung shots, they're wither shots, which are in the top of that thing, they're head shots where it hasn't penetrated the brain. And so these camels drop. And to be able to get down on the ground and inspect every one of these animals to make sure they were dead is an impossibility, especially with the numbers that they said they were shooting. TAHMINA ANSARI: The Government insists that the right procedures were followed during the cull. (Anyone hear an echo?)http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-22/claims-camel-culling-program-causes-inhumane-deaths/5910544Feral camel management plan leaves camels to suffer 'hours or days' after cullinghttp://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2014/11/15/qld-bushfire-threatens-properties.htmlCarnarvon NPLink demonstrating fire hazard increase due to horse removal by aerial culling since 2007http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201301/s3671484.htm“RSPCA wants alternative to brumby cull in Kimberley” – 17/1/2013http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-08/clc-defends-horse-cull-central-australia/4677724http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-09/waler-horses-central-australia-cull-reaction/4679264http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-13/animal-welfare-horse-culling/4873726“Aerial culling declared humane”Please note: The study this article refers to was conducted by two vets NOT the RSPCAhttp://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/08/14/vets-conduct-study-on-aerial-horse-culling-operation/#axzz3J902VCuCParticular note should be taken of comments on this article and the implications they bring for our country.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-30/aerial-cull-of-horses-to-take-place-in-the-kimberley/5057208?section=waOctober 30 2013http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3883788.htm“RSPCA lends rare support to feral animal cull” – 4/11/2013Please note: This after stating they wanted an alternative to the cull, not even 10 mths earlier http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-06/opponents-of-cull-of-wild-horses-say-it-is-inhumane/5072566https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/19696285/horses-left-to-rot-after-kimberley-aerial-cull/6/11/2013http://pindanpost.com/2013/11/10/kimberley-wild-horses-shot-from-helicopters-many-injured-and-left-to-die/Great info on aerial culling history in WA & NThttp://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1060902“Wild horses gunned down in Australia” – 13/11/2013Story on aerial cull at Lake Gregory - as written for CNN ireport in the USA, showing pictures of horses shot and left woundedhttp://www.abc.net.au/site-archive/rural/news/content/201002/s2828741.htmWA Authorities say there’s no alternative to aerial culling of brumbies – 24/2/2010http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/bid-to-rein-in-brumbies-cull/487740/13/3/2010 – Carnarvon NPhttp://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/guns-cocked-as-brumbies-run-wild/story-e6frf7jo-122584112527215/3/2010 – relates to Vic and NSWhttp://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/health/brumby-cull-to-kill-thousands-in-carnarvon-national-park/story-e6frer76-1225840648552?nk=f936990d8204784324e02c8fa93f2eb615/3/2010http://www.ssaa.org.au/media-monitoring/2010/2010-03-15_brumby-aerial-cull-deemed-most-humane-guy-fawkes-national-park.htmlShould also be read in conjunction with link from ABAhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/to-cull-or-not-brumby-wild-horses-divide-australians-9029552.html29/12/2013http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/12/30/3103740.htm“The Urrampinyi Stockmen”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-08-29/aerial-culling-to-be-reviewed-rspca/492676Quote – “The society is opposed to the culling of feral animals from moving platforms”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-08-26/cull-cuts-carnarvon-gorge-brumby-numbers/488536http://www.abc.net.au/site-archive/rural/qld/content/2007/s2088587.htm12/11/2007 – Carnarvon NP – proof of horses left to die slowlyhttp://www.couriermail.com.au/news/the-killing-fields/story-e6frereo-11111148411389/11/2007 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-494610/Massacre-murder-spring-The-shocking-cull-wild-horses-Aussie-outback.html17/11/2007http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/cattle/general-news/pga-calls-for-horse-cull/2674420.aspx9/10/2003Please also see my contribution in the ‘Share your stories’ tab where I provide detail on aerial culls performed in 1987/88 – Where Australian’s for Animals raised a case against the Aust Govt in the International Court of Animal Justice in Geneva following poorly conducted culls in QLD and NT on both buffalo and horses.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Donna,Thanks for your comprehensive research on relevant aerial culling links, Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Donna about 3 years ago
Thank you Bio-Brumby, I sincerely hope it makes some difference....
Themba about 3 years ago
Thanks for all the links Donna, very comprehensive and very interesting. I hope it opens the eyes of people.
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Hi Donna, you say that aerial culling is expensive and that costs are rising. Do you have any figures to back that up? From http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-13/animal-welfare-horse-culling/4873726they killed 3500 horses in 5 days with 2 helicopters at Tempe Downs - I don't care how much ammunition/fuel/helicopters/etc cost it would have to be cheaper than trapping them at $1000/ea - ie $3.5M. In one of the articles in 2007 (Carnarvon NP - proof of horses left to die slowly) it says "She says they've also been told that a further $250,000 has been allocated by the Queensland government to pay for the cull of another 10,000 horses" - that works out at $25/horse. Even with inflation that is a lot cheaper than trapping.Argue about the humaneness by all means but I don't think there is any evidence against aerial cullings being the cheapest way by far to remove large numbers of horses.Admin - do you have any estimate of how much per horse aerial culling would cost?The fact that they have no long term management plan for the horses in QLD/WA/NT is a different problem - KNP does have a plan and I can't see NPWS allowing the horse numbers to build up so they have to be regularly culled.Lots of those links were pro aerial culling from my reading of them. The stats from Tempe Downs looked pretty good. I know for you and others one bad result is too many - as you know, I believe a very low failure rate is acceptable because even in passive trapping some horses get hurt. And some die of starvation in winter which can't be a very humane way to go either.NPWS haven't said what they want to do - making the whole discussion thing a bit aimless - but my guess is if they were allowed to use aerial culling it would be to do a once-off reduction in numbers so that trapping could keep the population under control. Trapping by itself doesn't seem to be reducing the numbers but perhaps if they were greatly reduced then it would keep them under control.
Native?? about 3 years ago
HELLO, The most important thing for me, is to help people understand that its not just about reducing an invasive species population and to preserving native species and habitat, its about righting the wrongs of the past, and moving into the future together. We could talk about the high amount of species that have been lost since 1788 or about the broad inhumane treatment of Aboriginals or about when brumbys were first left in a feild to fend for then self, this wonderful 'heritage' people talk about. Look, I love seeing a horse running through the bush, its magical and it invokes that old ‘tame the country’ thing. But i know what the effect that animal is having, we must acknowledge what science is and what science is showing us. Some Historically, the first records of horses being abandoned was in 1804. The initial appearances of feral mobs were in broad regions and are linked to the spread of European settlement and grazing (Dobbie et al 1993). Tasmania has the earliest feral horse records in the early 1800’s, followed by Victoria (1820’s), QLD SA and WA (1840’s), NT (1870’s). Feral horses have been managed and control insitu by land manages since their introduction (Axford & Brown, 2013(B)). Early techniques from the Victorian Alps include trapping, shooting and brumby running (Axford & Brown (2013)(A) . Generally controls were in placed to reduce feral horse populations from competing with cattle on pasture and grazing leases, recreation and an income supplementation.Worldwide invasive mammals are deemed to be a serious threat to biodiversity conservation (Scorolli & Cazorla, 2010). Feral horses (Equus caballus) are large herbivorous mammals considered invasive in many countries and are especially abundant in Australia and the USA (Dawson et al. 2006). These feral populations are having a significant impact on the environment, through overgrazing and trampling (Dobbie et al. 1993). Horses (Equus caballus) were first introduced to Australia in 1788, with European settlement. Dobbie et al (1993) estimated wild horse populations to be between 300,000 to 600,000, the largest free ranging horse population in the world. The largest expanse of population in NSW, are believed to be in montane and sub-alpine regions (Dobbie et al, 1993). Wild unmanaged populations of horse’s in Australia are known by three names: Feral horses, Wild horses and Brumbies. Any introduced animals that live in unmanaged, self-sustaining, wild population are, by definition is a feral animal and horses will be labelled as such. Horses were recognised as a pest in Australia, as early as the 1860’s (Thiele & Prober, 1999). The sensitive sub-alpine ecosystems of Australian evolved without large (200-300kg) hard hoofed species and there is much concern about their current and future interaction (Dyring 1990, Dawson, 2005). The direct disturbance caused by trampling and grazing, has been linked to a decline in plant species, an increase of exposed soil, modified drainage, a change in vegetation structure and added nutrients via dung (Dyring, 1990). Beever and Herrick (2006) showed that soil penetration resistance can be 15 times higher in horse-occupied sites; this can affect seedling development and formation, causing a further decline in species. Feral horses have also been linked to weed dispersal, with one horse having the ability to pass 19,412 seeds per day. There are two known methods of weed dispersal by horses, epizoochory (attachment of seeds to the body of the animal), and faeces (Janzen 1981). Feral horses have the potential to disperse invasive weed species into virgin areas and hence contribute to the establishment of weed species across landscapes (Janzen 1981).Also i don’t understand why people would want to ‘break’ these animals in, how is that humane, to take a free wild (feral) animal and break its soul and spirit for self-interest, to do as you commanded, to order and obey (wow). To think the animal is happy is a jail like system shows how diluted the agument is. lock it up in a pen, put blinkers on it, feed it simple grains or grasses with stale bucket water, and left generally alone. I understand people domesticate all sizes of animals fish, dogs,cats, goats, horses. But if these animals are just dumped or left to breed, they are culled and whats left of our native environment protected. I fully believe horses are just another feral species. However, what i dont understand is why people wont lesion to the science and take the responsibility for the past generations.OkWho wants a horse? National Parks can catch you one. Lets say 200-400 people want a horse. sweet everybody gets one and National Parks are left to do thier job, to do what the majority of Australian want, Protect the natural environment for future generations, so the true 'heritage' is protected Have a look at the RSPCA’s relative humaneness graph of feral horse control methods if you needAnd if you want to do some reading please have a look belowAxford, J., Dawson, M., and Brown, D (2013). The Ecology of Wild Horses and their Environmental Impact in the Victorian Alps. The Ecology of Wild Horses and their Environmental Impact in the Victorian Alps.Axford, J., Brown,D (2013)(A). Human Dimensions of Wild Horse Management in the Victorian Alps. Background Paper 2 of 3. Parks, Victoria.Axford, J., Brown,D (2013)(B). Wild Horse Management and Control Methods, Background Paper 3 of 3. Parks VictoriaBayliss, P,. Pand,K.,Yeomans,M (1989). Distribution and abundance of feral livestock in the 'Top End' of the Northern Territory (1985-86), and their relation to population control. Australian Wildlife Research 16:651-676Csurhes, S., Paroz, G., Markula A(2009). Pest animal risk assessment: Feral horse, Equus caballus. Biosecurity Queensland, Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.Dawson, M.(2005).The Population Ecology of Feral Horses in the Australian Alps Management Summary. Australian Alps Liaison Committee Dawson.M., Miller.C. (2008). Aerial mark- recapture estimates of wild horses using natural markings. Wildlife Research, 35, 365-370. CSIRO:Canberra.Dobbie, W.R., Berman.D.McK and Braysher, M.L.(1993). Managing Vertebrate Pests: Feral Horses. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.Dyring, J (1990). The Impact of Feral (Equus caballus) on sub-alpine and Montane environments in Australia. A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the Degree of Master of Applied Science, Division of Resource and Environmental Science, University of Canberra.(Feral, 2011)Humaneness assessment for feral horse control methods (2011). Viewed on the 30/10/2014 retrieved from, http://www.feral.org.au/animal-welfare/humaneness-assessment/horse/ (GFRNP,2006) Guy Fawkes River National Park: Horse Management Plan (2006). Department of conservation NSW.Gower, S,T(2008). Are horses responsible for introducing non-native plants along forest trails in the eastern United States? Forest Ecology and Management. Volume 256,5, 997-1003Hone, J(1988). A Test of the Accuracy ofLine and Strip Transect Estimators in Aerial Survey. Austrslian Wildlife Resreach, 15, 493-497.HWP. 2002. Report of the Heritage Working Party on the Horses of the Guy FawkesRiver National Park to the Minister for the Environment February 2002.Volume 1:Final Report.(KNPHMP, 2008) Kosciuszko National Park Horse Management Plan (2008). NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.Laake, J. Dawson, M,J. Hone,J(2008). Visibility bias in aerial survey: mark-recapture, line-transect or both. Wildlife Research, 35, 299-309.Linklater, W,L. (2000). Adaptive explanation in socio-ecology :lessons from the Equidae. Biological review, 75, 1, 1-20.Namadgi National Park Feral Horse Management Plan (2007). ACT Parks Conservation and Land.(OWRNP, 2008) Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Northern Tablelands Region Feral Horse Management Plan (2008). Department of Environment and Climate Change,NSW. Pascoe, C., Foster, D. (2004). Parks Victoria: Feral Horse Management in Victoria. In Feral Horse Management: Report of a Workshop Thredbo NSW. Australian Alps Liaison Committee.(POM,2010). Barrington Tops National Park, Mount Royal National Park and Barrington Tops State Conservation Area: Plan of Management, 2010. National Parks and Wildlife Service: Department of Environment and Climate change (NSW).(RSPCA, 2014) Where can I find information on best practice management of feral horses. Viewed on the 30/10/2014 retrieved from, http://kb.rspca.org.au/Where-can-I-find-information-on-best-practice-management-of-feral-horses_583.htmlThiele. K.R., Prober, S.m(1999). Assessment of Impacts of Feral Horses (Equus caballus) in the Australian Alp. A report to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee. Ecological Interactions. (TSC, 1995) Broad-toothed Rat at Barrington Tiops in the local government areas of Gloucester, Scone and Dungog profile. NSW Department of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved on the 30/10/2014 from, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10509 Vernes, K., Freeman,M., Nesbitt,B.(2009). Estimating the density of free-ranging wild horses in rugged gorges using a photographic mark–recapture technique. Wildlife Research, 36, 361–367.Weaver, V & Adams,R (1996). Horses as vectors in the disperseal of weeds into native vegetation. Eleventh Australian Weeds Conference Proceedings.
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Thank you for your contribution Native??
Khankhan about 3 years ago
Perplexed ..... Great bibliography for those who do want to read it. Sort of mentions a bit of science and best practice for managing horses doesn't it? Your synopsis of the history was spot on, never mind the Aboriginals being disposessed either ..... oh and ironically by the early settlers on horses! Time for everyone to move on, and to realise that our natural heritage has a place and a right to be protected too. There has already been too many impractical arguments put forward without consideration of the tax-payers who are expected to pay for them. Someone else said, what a gift each horse is to those who rehome them, and who pays the expense of all the trapping, sorting and transporting to site for rehoming selection? Pity that money isn't redirected to maintenance, facilities for all to use, and other needy pest and weed control programs.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Native??An interesting range of links against Brumbies living in KNP.There is an equal degree of links refuting these and adding positive aspects of having horses living wild in KNP.The most important thing to me is that - yes many people do not like to see horses in KNP, but many people DO want to see horses in KNP.Native flora and fauna can co-exist, provided horse populations are not overabundant.We must research the horse numbers each KNP location (sensitive/not so sensitive) can sustain, so it KNP benefits from horse values whilst ensuringNative Flora and Fauna are not lost.This is not an either or argument, we need to respect all Australians see different values in KNP, and ensure sustainable levels can continue. This to me is the best way to right the wrongs of the past, and moving into the future together. As previous states by many; name one 'high amount of species' lost since 1788 as a result of wild horses living in KNP?To me, we need to plan for sustainable Australian values and ideals we can visit KNP to enjoy.Regards, Bio-Brumby
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
I'd like people to understand that the amount of money NPWS has is limited and that this must be taken into account when looking at how to manage horse numbers.The whole discussion is clouded by not having a target horse population (assuming it is greater than zero). But, based on what I've seen, NPWS would like to see the horse numbers reduced in the park by some amount. Major points of contention seem to be what damage the horses are causing, how fast their numbers are growing and how to reduce their numbers. For the moment I'd like to focus on the last part.If you take the premise that the horse numbers need to be greatly reduced then the question becomes what methods should be used. From what I've read over the past few months on this site, in the management plans and elsewhere it seems the only effective "humane" way to kill large numbers of horses is aerial culling. I accept that it is not "as humane" as passive trapping and rehoming. But from what I gather the current trapping program can't keep up with the current growth in horse numbers and so the horse population in increasing in both numbers and distribution. It is also expensive at over $1000/horse. I cannot see how it can be adapted to trap 5 times as many horses. And in any case, even if it was, all the extra horses would be taken to knackerys anyway (or perhaps shot on site) given that the rehoming system seems to be running at its own capacity limits.Aside from the fact that passive trapping would be able to reduce the numbers, I also don't think it can do so within the budget constraints that NPWS has. More trapping would mean more sites which I am fairly sure would mean the average cost per horse would be about the same. As I understand it, there isn't a great scope to trap larger numbers of horses each time, which would reduce the cost/horse. And so the cost per horse would remain about the same. It may even go up - as you have more trap locations they will need to be in more remote locations which will take more time to get to and so cost more. As the horse numbers are reduced the number of horses caught each time will reduce while the costs will remain about the same. So it may even be more expensive.I understand that people want a humane solution - so do I. I accept that there are many methods of reducing feral animal populations that aren't acceptable - be that for foxes, rabbits, pigs or horses. I don't take the view that because the horses are "feral" they should be afforded no dignity. But I do believe that there is no use in having a plan that cannot be implemented because of the cost. Everyone has to live within their means, including NPWS. And so the management plan must take into account the cost.This is not a new concept and it is applied to decisions by every person, business or government department. You can see it in action everywhere you look. It's why we have dirt roads, undivided highways, demountable classrooms, waiting lists for hospital operations, etc.In an ideal world all the roads would be tar with wide shoulders, highways would be divided, students would learn in new air conditioned classrooms and there would be no waiting for a procedure or appointment in the public hospital system. And perhaps in an ideal world all the brumbies in KNP would be passively trapped and sent to a government supported rehoming group where they would be trained and given to a loving family to look after. Unfortunately NPWS doesn't have the budget for that and never will. So we're left working out what is the best way to use the money that they do have.And so... I will accept a slight reduction in the humaneness of the horse management method so that the horse numbers can be bought under control and the passive trapping/rehoming keep them under control in the future.The second part is the issue of how horses are treated compared to every other feral animal. It seems that some people want to see the horses treated differently to other feral animals. I have not seen many calls for foxes, deer, pigs or rabbits to be passively trapped then taken away and killed. The general public seems happy with the current management methods used for these feral animals which seem a lot less humane than aerial culling for horses. Why is it ok for pigs or deer to be shot from helicopters but not horses? The death that 1080 brings to animals would seem to be a lot less humane than aerial culling. Yet this is accepted as a valid management tool Australia wide without much public complaint.So in summary, we have to live within our means and why are horses so different that they deserve special treatment?
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Peter_mcc You make some good observations, such as;Discussion is clouded by not having a target horse population,Contention of damage horses are causing, Concern the trap program could struggle with higher horse numbers,Trap cost of $1000/horse and horses not rehomed shot on site not sent to abattoirs.Difficult to trap larger horse numbers of horses each time,People want a humane solution, and Inhumane methods used, such as 1080 on foxes raise little objection from the community.I’d like to suggest the following;Never ever should 1080 be used on foxes/animals as lethal control. I suspect the reason people do not objected is that few realise how painful a 1080 death is for foxes/dogs.Current horse population of 6,000 could lower to 5,000,NPWS annual trap at 670/yr can remove 10% annually to maintain population at 5,000, thenRemove the initial 1,000 horses to reduce population 5,000 by;Targeting local areas where impacts are scientifically shown to be excessive with aerial and/or ground MUSTER into traps, euthanize on site those not able to be rehomed, and Top up with Fertility Control trials close to sensitive areas so in time interim fencing of extra sensitive areas can be removed. As with 1080, never ever use aerial culling in KNP to reduce large population numbers, it cannot meet current COP protocols, so cannot be humane.Regards, Bio-Brumby
Perplexed about 3 years ago
I think people should know that feral horse management like any other pest management or land management function is going to have to be about compromises. Just ask any realistic and honest farmer, land manager, ranger, animal production worker, hunter. The growing population and associated damage is real and irrefutable and the native plants and animals have already given their compromise and been compromised enough in my view. There needs to be compromises from both ends of this argument. Not every last horse is going to be got rid of from KNP, not every last horse is going to be able to live out a long healthy stress free life either or be rehomed, transported, die, euthanised or slaughtered under ideal circumstances. Yes we as a community should demand best practice where possible, but it is not always possible under different circumstances due to situation,cost, resources, practicality. We should also demand that the tiny 9% of our state that is set aside to protect our native environments and natural processes to dominate is not turned into an experiment for grazing introduced pests to meet a section of the community desires that want to see it as some European cultural landscape construct.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
I don't understand the attitude that "only the best" will do for horses when the same attitude isn't applied to other feral animals nor any other public or private "thing".