Saturday, June 20, 2020

Killing Horses

The poet Banjo Paterson who wrote Mulga Bill's Bicycle was in part responsible for the culture of the free spirited mountain brumbies and how people still embrace the culture and want to protect the wild horses. They have been in Victoria's and New South Wales' high country since the 19th century.

The brumbies in New South Wales have protection which is totally political. Save our heritage of the horses, they say. It is part of our culture, they say. The Man from Snowy River, another Paterson poem, and all that.

Meanwhile in Victoria they are are not protected and the high plains span both states. Until white man arrived, Australia did not have any animals with hard hooves. The high plain horses, the brumbies, are doing terrible damage to our ecology, right where our rivers start on the high plains in the peat and moss bogs, springs and then creeks.

Cull is one of those softening words for killing. As Parks Victoria planned to cull the pest species brumbies by humane methods on our side of the border at least, someone has delayed the cull in the courts. He won't win. Later edit: He didn't win. The law is clear. Victoria can cull. New South Wales can't.

The brumbies don't respect borders, so it will have to be done again after the prolific breeding New South Wales horses come across the border again. Hmmm, I have a vague recent memory of a wall being built to keep out the unwelcome somewhere.

Job creation for Australians and foreign workers post COVID? Get rid of all wild hooved animals like wild horses, deer, camels, pigs and buffalo. Then we can start on the smaller invasive species.

PS Since I wrote that a while ago, it seems a wild deer cull will happen in my state too. They have become an increasing problem pest.

36 comments:

  1. Didn't they stop cattle being allowed up there in the high country as well?
    I have mixed feelings about culls - a necessary evil I suppose.

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    1. What I meant to say was the brumbies have no one to advocate for them unlike the cattle who have the Cattleman's Association trotting along Spring Street whips and Akubra hats at the ready

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    2. Cathy, no one wants to see animals killed, but as you say, a necessary evil. Yes they stopped cattle in the highlands. There are many to advocate for the brumbies, which is why a political decision was made in NSW not to cull them in that state.

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  2. How I wish that science had a louder voice than sentiment/opinions. On this and rather a lot of other questions.

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  3. How can you see Deer as a pest? They are one of the best and healthiest meats around. Do people not hunt them regularly? They do here, and under a very limited season. They are kept under control, and the hunters are well fed.

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    1. Cro, they cause much damage to our fragile environment and wander on to roads and are hit by cars. I don't know about hunting, but I think any venison eaten here is farmed deer.

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  4. While I don't like to think of animals being killed, I do understand it is necessary sometimes to control the numbers and the damage they do. Like Cro Magnon, I'm surprised deer aren't used as meat here, they could be farmed like sheep and cattle. I'm sure there is a market for venison. Somewhere.

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    1. River, they are farmed here and eaten. Just not the wild deer, which probably would not taste too good.

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    2. Wild deer are eaten here, in fact there are no farmed deer. The meat is stronger tasting but still quite palatable. It is also a very lean meat so is healthy.

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    3. Jenny, I can't see myself eating wild deer.

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  5. It's all very well and nice to have these wild foreign animals in our country but they should be culled as to not do so much damage to the land.
    Had Venison given to us once. There is a season to kill them here.
    I can remember the kangaroos in Cunnamulla when we were there some years ago, so many kangaroos on the football oval, there was no where for a human to stand, the town folk were talking about a cull of roos back then, but of course they are indigenous to Australia.

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    1. Margaret, unfortunately we have created wonderful pastures for kangaroos to thrive and breed. I know they are culled in the ACT.

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  6. Controlling the environment is a tricky business.

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    1. Diane, with a lot of emotion involved too, of course.

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  7. Culling animals in the wild is cruel, painful and counterproductive. If there are too many brumbies, kangaroos, deers, camels or feral cats in an area, collect up the BIG pests and enclose them in a huge area behind tall wire fences.

    As long as there are plenty of trees, burrows, lakes and food, we can avoid slaughtering the Australian Bush and its inhabitants. Half of Tasmania should be enough.

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    1. Hels, professional shooters who aim accurately are not being cruel as they cull. What you suggest could be done, and actually is at times with the brumbies, but then once fenced, they are humanely killed.

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  8. Man unbalances nature, bringing in non-native species, eliminating natural predators. Coyotes (kind of a small wolf) are re emerging and the farmers are going nuts. Without them we have an overpopulation of native and non-native species. The condo I live in is located on 30+ acres of fenced hilltop - we have deer inside the fence. Getting them out is a challenge and with the population density hunting is not an option.

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    1. Travel, coyotes would be one of your top predators and so necessary to keep nature in balance. Thirty acres is not huge and I am surprised that deer can't be cleared.

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  9. Ok. Can't they begin a castration of the males program? When herds have become too large in certain areas they track the animal down and castrate the males. (Sorry boys) Here in New Hampshire we have a large Moose population. Our Game Wardens spend a lot of time on an accurate count. Each year, June as it happens, they draw names of people who have entered the Moose Lottery to go and hunt. The 2020 hunt will take place from October 17-25, 2020, by permit only. 49 permits were won the other day. The current New Hampshire moose population is approximately 3,000-4,000 animals. Recently Mother Nature is taking care of thinning the herd. Ticks have simply decimated the herd.
    There simply must be better ways to handle this than to go in and murder them? I mean here the meat is eaten. In Alaska they have slowly thinned herds by taking the fillies away and re-homing them on farms.

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    1. Maribeth, in what ever way horses may be castrated, it will surely be more painful than an instant death. I don't know. Interesting about your moose and what you say about Alaska.

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  10. I hate the idea of culling also Andrew, but if it's necessary and carried out in a humane way.. I don't like thinking about it 😑

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    1. Grace, no we don't want to think about it really. Let it happen but don't tell us about it.

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  11. Culling or killing - same thing.

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    1. Gigi, like dead or passed on.

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  12. We have imported species here too, particularly moose. they have destroyed uncountable acres of forestry. Not to mention the carnage on the highways, most resulting in death. I have had many near misses.

    We do have an annual culling, licences issued. Every part of the moose is used.

    As EC says, science not emotion needs to be the decision making.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, I always thought moose were part of fauna. They are large animals and I understand the danger when driving.

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  13. It's sad but obviously needed, I just wish they would do it without having to divulge it!

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    1. Sami, yes, better that we don't know how the environment is being cared for at times.

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  14. THAT's why I know the name Banjo Patterson -- because of "The Man from Snowy River"! Sometimes culling is necessary. Is there any way to capture and train the brumbies? That's what has historically happened in the Western USA with the wild mustangs, as I understand it. They get rounded up and sold on as horses for training and then riding. Culls wouldn't be necessary if we hadn't moved so many species around to environments where they weren't suited and had no predators.

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    1. Steve, I think that has been done in the past but the sheer numbers and the rate at which they breed is overwhelming and there isn't the need for trained horses that there used to be. Our native apex predator is really just a dog.

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  15. In our province we've had an annual deer hunt for the month of November for at least the last fifty years (I remember my father hunting). We also have the moose hunt which is run on a lottery basis as there can only be so many moose taken. The government agencies base the rules on the populations in order to control them. Personally, I would rather see a deer or moose, or any animal really, shot by a skilled marksman than see them dying on the side of the road after being hit by a car. Been there, seen that, the images never leave you.

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    1. Jenny, if moose aren't native to your part of north America fauna, why limit the numbers to be culled? I agree with you about skilled marksman but in the case of the wild horses, they don't come into contact with humans really.

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    2. Moose are native to Nova Scotia. There is one species native to mainland NS and a sub-species on Cape Breton Island, which is connected by causeway to mainland NS. They are concentrated in certain areas of the province and can become a problem if the population gets high enough and they get close to inhabited areas. They are dangerous to individuals and on roadways - they are aggressive, particularly in mating season, and will charge at cars, and in a collision the car comes out the loser. Along with the people in it.

      You're right - wild horses wouldn't be at risk of being hit by a car, would they?

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    3. And I just realized that my whole comment was rather irrelevant because you were talking about invasive species ... lol - Sorry!

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    4. No Jenny, you clarified to me about moose. Thanks. Yes, it is only ecological damage by the horses.

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