Vic coalition vow to end brumby culling

·2-min read

The Victorian opposition has vowed to stop the controversial killing of wild horses across the state, if it wins the November election.

State Nationals leader Peter Walsh and opposition environment spokesman James Newbury told a rally outside parliament on Wednesday afternoon their policy would focus on rehoming wild horses and veterinary intervention instead of culling.

"There will be no shooting of brumbies if we win government," Mr Walsh told the crowd of more than 100 people.

Among those listening was Brian Harrison and his six-year-old horse Clancy, who is not a brumby, travelled from Ballarat to protest the shooting of animals inside national parks.

"We can't be having them slaughtered. They're part of our heritage," he said.

Trawalla resident Tanya Lightowler has handled a brumby for the past two years and said more could be rehomed and broken in.

"They're just an awesome horse: very gentle, caring. Not once has my brumby ever tried to hurt me," she said.

The agency responsible for managing the state's feral horses, Parks Victoria, said areas of focus include the Alpine and Barmah National Parks, where a large number of brumbies are causing environmental damage.

The estimated number of feral horses in the Victorian alps was about 5000 in 2019, including roughly 540 in the Barmah National Park.

An estimated 150 and 200 horses have been captured and removed annually from the Alpine National Park since 2008.

"The damage they cause is evident. Parks Victoria needs to respond to the current situation with the best techniques available," a Parks Victoria spokesman said in a statement.

Under its feral horse action plan for the alps, the agency said "management operations" were safe, effective, humane and met obligations of all relevant legislation, codes of practice and standard operating procedures.

Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the wild horses didn't have a place in the pristine alps and many were not in "good shape".

"We need to do all we can to protect our biodiversity," she said.

"The opposition's policy is simply a recipe for destroying everything that is special and unique about Victoria's environment."

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said he did not know how much rehoming brumbies could cost the government because exact population numbers were not known.

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