Greens NSW MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has called the NSW government’s plan to give wild horses heritage status bizarre and a short term political fix for the Nationals.
The government has approved new legislation that will recognise the heritage value and cultural significance of the Snowy Mountains brumby, protecting by law their right to live in Kosciuszko National Park.
This basically overturns a National Parks plan to cull nearly 5400 brumbies from the park. Instead areas will be monitored for environmental damage and brumbies will be transferred to different areas of the park where they would be considered to do less damage.
The Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association, who have already succeeded in registering the wild horses in the Guy Fawkes National Park as a heritage breed, run a passive trapping program that rehomes brumbies from the park.
Alienor le Gouvello rode 5330km on the Bicentennial National Trail with three Guy Fawkes Heritage horses, and she is thrilled by the news about the Snowy Mountains brumbies.
“This is a huge step forward towards preserving the population of these amazing animals,” she wrote on her Wild At Heart Facebook page. “But responsible programs are vital to manage their numbers.”
The Greens position is that wild horses need to be removed from National Parks, but cruel methods such as aerial shooting are unacceptable.
Dr Faruqi said there needed to be an investment in a genuine solution to this problem.
“There is no doubt that wild brumbies are damaging the environment and they have no place in National Parks, but we should remove them in a humane and non-lethal manner,” Dr Faruqi said.
“The Greens will not support legislation for brumbies to permanently stay in the Kosciuszko National Park. This is quite frankly a bizarre idea.”
She said the NSW government’s idea was a short term political fix and did not seek ways to resolve an issue which significantly effected the environment, community and animal welfare.
“This is yet another example of the Nationals calling the shots on environmental policy in New South Wales leading to these absurd positions and ongoing damage to our National Parks,” she said.
“Successive governments have kicked the can down the road by not committing the resources needed for a genuine solution to the problem that is humane and protects our environment.
“This is a complex issue that deserves more than short term political fixes. The NSW government must finally invest in non-lethal and humane population control measures.
“The reality is we cannot shoot our way out of this problem, we need sustainable wild horse population control measures, ensuring that we protect Kosciuszko’s pristine environment.”
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