August 10th, 2023Wild horse shooting proposal for Kosciuszko National Park
The Invasive Species Council has welcomed Monday’s announcement that the NSW government is consulting on changes to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow aerial shooting as a method to reduce feral horse numbers.
The announcement is expected to draw some strong opposition from those who believe the proposal would risk the unnecessary suffering of horses that are not killed outright, and that horses may suffer inhumane trauma as a result, with response to the proposal able to be made up until 11 September 2023.
Snowy River tour guide and Invasive Species Council Indigenous ambassador Richard Swain said:
“For far too long the most humane and effective control method for the removal of feral herbivores has not been available for feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.
“The senseless ecological desecration caused to Country over the last 20 years has been a travesty.
“I commend NSW environment minister Penny Sharpe for taking this step and encourage her to make a positive decision on behalf of soil, water and native species,” he said.
Invasive Species Council advocacy manager Jack Gough: “This is a really important decision by the NSW Government and reflects that the public mood has shifted on this issue. In recent years, Australians have become better-informed about the damage feral horses are doing to our wildlife and fragile alpine streams.
“No one likes to see animals killed, but the sad reality is that we have a choice to make between urgently reducing the numbers of feral horses or accepting the destruction of sensitive alpine ecosystems and habitats, and the decline and extinction of native animals.
“We may not like it, but culling by highly trained professionals is the only viable way of reducing numbers and saving the national park and our native animals that live there.
“Without a change to remove the arbitrary prohibition on aerial shooting, feral horse numbers will keep growing and our native wildlife will pay the price.
“Every year that the NSW government fails to take effective action means more horses must be removed, the damage to ecosystems, threatened species and Indigenous heritage will increase, and the cost to taxpayers will rise.
“When it comes to managing the out-of-control feral horse population, we need all available tools in the toolbox. That includes aerial shooting by highly trained professionals using protocols reviewed by independent animal welfare experts.
“The government’s own recent animal welfare review highlighted that aerial shooting is a humane, safe and effective way to reduce feral horse numbers.
“At the recent NSW election, both sides of politics committed to rapidly reduce the numbers of feral horses trashing and trampling sensitive alpine ecosystems in Kosciuszko National Park.
“If we want to protect the Snowy Mountains, headwaters of the mighty Murray, Murrumbidgee and Snowy Rivers and home to more than 50 threatened species like the corroboree frog and mountain pygmy possum, then we need to dramatically reduce feral horse numbers now,’ he said.
The consultation period runs until 11 September 2023.