• Our submission to the Draft Plan of Management of the Brumby

    It seems the NPWS and the Office of Environment & Heritage continue to push their mass slaughter agenda, one that will result in brutal cruelty. My office submitted or submission to the Draft Plan of Management in which we address the multitude of inaccuracies and failings of the plan and associated technical reports. Our submission makes a number of sensible, proven, sustainable and most of all humane recommendations to address the lack of science, independence and long term outlook of the plan.

    Reading the plan the question has to be asked as to what the proposed slaughter is actually setting out to achieve other than bloodshed. The government is endorsing this slaughter on the supposed huge increase in numbers yet it contradicts itself by saying, in effect, it has no real idea on the numbers. The assertion that fertility control measures are ineffective and the glowing endorsement in the ITRG Report of aerial culling as the best option for animal welfare fly in the face of past mistakes, mistakes that resulted in terrible animal cruelty and suffering.

    In light of all this our submission makes three critical recommendations that MUST be implemented now so as the other recommendations and information can be assessed. These 3 critical recommendations are:

    “For all the reasons outlined in this submission the Animal Justice Party totally disagrees with the draft Plan and recommends as a matter of urgency and public interest that the following be adopted:
    1. That this draft Plan and wild horse (brumby) management in general be subject to the proper parliamentary scrutiny via a Committee Inquiry.
    2. That this current draft Plan and ongoing processes be placed on immediate hold pending the recommendations of the above inquiry.
    3. Passive trapping and rehoming of suitable horses should continue with increased transparency and responsibility taken by the NPWS.”

    To read our full submission please go to our AJP Brumby Plan Submission page.

    If you have any questions or concerns please contact Josh – joshua.agland@parliament.nsw.gov.au

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  • Brumby update-Mark to call for a legislative review of the Draft Plan of Management

    Mark and his office are utterly appalled at the governments decision to slaughter the Brumby. Having reviewed the reports, the Draft plan of Management and other statements from the Minister for Environment it is apparent that there is NO justification for this slaughter. The draft plan and associated technical review proposes a range of control methods to reduce the population from the estimated 6000 down to 600 over the next 20 years. The so called science and  independent technical review  is so utterly flawed that there is no other option but place this decision and the reasoning behind it under the proper legislative scrutiny.

    Reading the report the question has to be asked as to what the proposed slaughter is actually setting out to achieve other than bloodshed. The government is endorsing this slaughter on the supposed huge increase in numbers yet it contradicts itself by saying, in effect, it has no real idea on the numbers. The advised killing methods in the report again seem to be contradictory of community expectations and common sense. The assertion that fertility control measures are ineffective and the glowing endorsement in the report of aerial culling as the best option for animal welfare fly in the face of past mistakes, mistakes that resulted in terrible animal cruelty and suffering. How could any of us forget the infamous aerial cull, reminiscent of a brutal Rambo operation by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in the Guy Fawkes River National Park in October 2000? Terrified horses were driven up against an escarpment by a helicopter as shooters opened fire with semi-automatic rifles, slaughtering more than 600 horses. The slaughter scene depicted horses riddled with bullets suffering slow, agonising deaths. One mare was shot while giving birth whilst new born foals were left to starve because their mothers had been killed.

    Mark and his office attended a public community forum in Jindabyne on Saturday 21st of May, the meeting was organised by the Snowy Mountain Brumby Sustainability & Management Group Inc. The meeting was well attended with over 70 with visitors from all areas including Gundagai, Tumut, Tumbarumba, Grenfell, Newcastle, Talbingo, Cooma and the Jindabyne region. Mark addressed the meeting and spoke of his disgust that the government was hell bent on wiping out the Brumby based on bad science, invalid population estimates and the lack of genuine community engagement on the issue. Amongst other sensible resolutions proposed and supported at the meeting Mark proposed a resolution of his own which was adopted unanimously, this being;

    ‘To support that the Draft Plan of Management and brumby management in NSW generally be referred to relevant Legislative Council Standing Committee (GSC5) for detailed review and to call on the local member and National party to support this review’

    On Thursday 26th of May Mark was lucky enough to have a personal visit of the Hunter Valley Brumby Association’s sanctuary. Mark witnessed first hand the great work HVBA is doing to protect, educate and save the Brumby. The HVBA team is a great example of a professional, passionate and experienced advocacy group that rescues and re-homes Brumbies. A big thank you to Kath Massey and Madison Young for allowing us to see first hand the care and love the team has for these animals, it was a truly great experience.

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    Madison Young, Vice President of the Hunter Valley Brumby Assoc, Mack and Mark

    Mark Pearson: “It seems we have not learnt from our past mistakes, killing is NOT the answer. I acknowledge that humane management is not a quick fix one size fits all solution. However it is our duty to ensure that we invest and utilise best practice and sound methods of estimating and reporting the true population numbers. Where required, fertility control is to be used and in parallel we must invest in fertility control via humane research and development. Mass slaughter does not equal management and until governments realise this it is likely that the continuous cycle of killing and responsive population growth will continue.”

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    Mark with Guy Fawkes Brumby Diesel

  • Mark defends the Brumby in heartfelt Adjournment speech

    The Brumby holds a special place in the Australian psyche, personifying the Australian courage and spirit of freedom. Yet, today, just like the kangaroo, they face an uncertain future, considered by some, including this government to be feral pests. They find themselves becoming increasingly marginalised in lands that have been their home for over a century. A home thrust upon them when early European settlers found little need for them with the onset of farm machinery and released them into the wild, left to survive. It is this survival that spawned a time when only the toughest survived, natural selection saw the evolution of wild horses with the traits required to thrive in the environment in which they found themselves.

    The Brumby has gallantly served human, toiling on farms as stock animals, building the roads and railways we relied upon, even serving as police horses enforcing the law of the bush. They accompanied men to war, with over 70,000 horses losing their lives in World War I alone.

    In October 2000, the slaughter of over 600 brumbies in the Guy Fawkes River National Park sparked widespread public outcry and national media attention. In response to this atrocity an inquiry was conducted which revealed numerous failings of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in their role in the mass slaughter.

    Yet it seems we have not learnt from our past mistakes, killing is NOT the answer. All of the so-called “feral” animals were brought to Australia by human beings. We brought the horse here not out of love but out of the notion that they would provide us with something useful. We exploited them and then when they weren’t needed we disposed of them like mere objects and sent them on their way into the wild bush, Wanted Yesterday, Unwanted Today. They survived and adapted like any other being on this planet and yet some continue to persecute them and if this government gets its way decimate their existence to such a degree that their heritage and bloodlines will be threatened.

    I acknowledge that humane management is not a quick fix one size fits all solution. However it is our duty to ensure that we invest and utilise best practice and sound methods of estimating and reporting the true population numbers. Where required, fertility control is to be used and in parallel we must invest in fertility control via research and development. This is a very successful method used for the wild horses of the Canadian Rockies and the elephants in Africa. The use of fertility control would also mean that fewer Brumbies would be born each year and result in a proper and sustainable management plan. Mass slaughter does not equal management and until governments realise this it is likely that the continuous cycle of killing and responsive population growth will continue.

    Passive trapping and rehoming programs aim to capture horses with minimal interference from humans and released to suitable rehoming groups. Whilst strict adherence to best practice and horsemanship is critical to the success of such programs, this is another non-lethal strategy that both reduce numbers in the wild whilst maintaining the cultural heritage and significance of the brumby. The Hunter Valley Brumby Association is one such group which to date has taken on over 50 brumbies to their sanctuary, 30 of these have come from the Kozciuszko National Park.

    In closing, I challenge the persistent notion and labelling of “feral” animals. These animals are not feral; rather, they are wild, untamed survivors of humans’ past failings. I once asked an Indigenous elder, “So what do you think makes an animal a native Australian?” He replied, “When it is born here.”

  • 09/03/2016: Question without notice, Snowy Mountain brumbies

    In response to the recent media articles and some conservation groups calling for the aerial culling of the Snowy Mountain brumbies, i asked the government to confirm their decision to rule out culling. I also asked whether the government will be looking to invest and better support non lethal and re-homing programs. Our office has been in consultation with brumby protection groups and there will be more to come on this issue.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Ageing, representing the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, and Assistant Minister for Planning. Will the Minister confirm that the Government will maintain the current ban on the aerial killing of brumbies in the Snowy Mountains National Park and that this plan will be reflected in the horse management plan?

    If so, will the plan include more support and funding for passive trapping and re-homing programs of which the member for Monaro, the Hon. John Barilaro, stated in the other House in June last year:
    If numbers of wild horses are a problem in the Kosciuszko National Park, there are kinder ways to control the wild horse population, such as programs to break in brumbies and offer them for sale.

    The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: I thank the honourable member for his question. I am advised that damage caused by an overabundant wild horse population is a significant threat to the environmental values of Kosciuszko National Park as well as posing a threat to road safety and grazing properties in the region, such as through livestock competition and infrastructure damage. The Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan 2008 aims to find a balance between reducing the threats of wild horses and accounting for the views of people who value the presence of wild horses for other reasons, such as the tourism benefits and the historical context of brumbies in the region. I am also advised that the wild horse management plan is currently undergoing review and this will involve extensive consultation with key stakeholders and the general community. In December 2014 the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government ruled out aerial culling and brumby running or roping as wild horse control methods in the revised plan.

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