Animal Justice Party candidate for Eden Monaro, Frankie Seymour, has spoken out forcefully against the NSW Government’s proposal for a mass slaughter of brumbies in the Kosciuszko National Park.
The NSW government plans to reduce the population of wild horses in the Park by half in ten years and by 90 per cent in 20 years.The government proposes a range of control methods including trapping, rehoming, mustering, ground shooting, fertility control and fencing. Ms Seymour agrees that rehoming, fencing and fertility control, are potentially humane, but she totally rejects the assertion that shooting is humane:
‘Shooting animals of any kind is invariably cruel. There are always some who are wounded and die a terrible death. There are always young animals orphaned. There is always disruption and distress caused to the whole herd. There is no humane way of slaughtering large numbers of wild animals. In any case, there is no ethical justification for taking the irreplaceable individual lives of healthy sentient beings.’
Ms Seymour is also concerned that the government is not telling the public everything. She points out:
“Every mass slaughter of animals leads to an almost immediate increase in the population, as younger, more fertile individuals are born of the survivors, with plenty of food and space to share, and quickly fill and exceed the niches left by those killed”. The NSW government does not intend total wipe-out of the brumbies, nor has anyone suggested it is even possible. To maintain the population at its reduced level in perpetuity, they will have to either shoot the horses in perpetuity or control them using fertility control.
‘I don’t think we can be confident the government will use exclusively fertility control. if the Government had managed the brumbies situation correctly, using non-lethal measures, over the past decade we would not be in this situation where a large number of animals are affected. If non-lethal measures had been used with small numbers and with population monitoring, we would be looking at a much smaller population today.
‘Given the NSW government’s record on brumby management, and wild animal management generally, it seems very likely the number of horses killed over the coming decades will number not in the thousands, but in the millions.’
Ms Seymour, a retired environmental scientist, adds that the ethical and welfare concerns are not the only problem with the proposal:
‘Once a species is naturalised, found a niche in the ecosystem, it is impossible to remove it in large numbers without doing harm to that ecosystem, sometimes more harm than good. In a rapidly changing environment, as Australia’s has been for the last 200 years, the harm of removing brumbies (or any other naturalised animal) is very likely to exceed the good.’
Ms Seymour is urging everyone who is concerned about this matter to do two things: submit comments to the Draft Wild Horse Management Plan for Kosciuszko National Park at https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/protectsnowies before 8 July 2016; and vote for the AJP at the coming federal election.
‘In the end, the only way to make our governments understand that animal lives matter is at the ballot box.’
For interviews and further information contact Frankie Seymour on 0405 252 980.
Authorised by Anna Hall, Animal Justice Party NSW