Australia’s wild horses, known as Brumbies, are facing firing squads after government officials there approved a plan to cull nearly 10,000 feral equines that are reportedly damaging fragile habitats in national parks.
But those against the cull, including Jan Carter, president of the charity, Save the Brumbies, claim photographs in circulation show wounded animals in pain and young surviving foals left near dead members of their herds.
According to reports, thousands of horses have already have been shot, including 4,000 at the popular Carnarvon National Park in central Queensland.
Wild horses in Australia are classified as “feral pests,” Carter says. “They are open targets for shooters in state forests; many die terrible deaths.”
Carter has urged the government there to divert funds used for the aerial kills to Brumby sanctuaries and consider infertility treatments to restrict wild horses breeding.
“We are trying to convince the government to introduce programs like the BLM in the U.S. Not the perfect answer, but light years ahead of Australia in terms of management,” Carter says.
“The Government has no management plans in place,” Carter continues. “It’s a case of go in and shoot ’em, leave them to rot, then wait until the numbers build up again and repeat the actions and the bullets. I am ashamed to call myself an Australian.”
Australia’s Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara has gone on record saying that shooting wild horses is the most humane population-control option.
“The program is not about eradication of feral horses but rather ensuring population is kept at a manageable level in consideration of the welfare of both the horses and the native wildlife in the park,” he told The Courier-Mail.
“Feral horses in particular are causing serious erosion, spreading weeds, destroying freshwater springs and other water courses, damaging Aboriginal cultural sites, competing with native wildlife for feed and destroying habitat,” he continued.
There are an estimated 100,000 feral horses in Queensland where the culls are occurring.
According to the The Courier-Mail, documents obtained under Freedom of Information confirm that large-scale culling will continue throughout Queensland for at least three years in at least four different regions.
Carter urges those concerned to express their thoughts by writing to ThePremier@premiers.qld.gov.au.