Huge interest in controversial brumby webinar

Wild horses crowd a water hole.
Wild horses crowd a water hole in Australia.

A controversial webinar about Australia’s brumbies and their management has been moved to another platform with greater capacity because of the interest in the topic. The presenter of the webinar is proposing aerial culling of the brumbies, which has caused an uproar among wild horse advocates.

Feral horses in the Australian Alps is being presented on July 2 by Professor Don Driscoll, Director of Deakin University’s Centre for Integrative Ecology and immediate past president of the Ecological Society of Australia.

The webinar will run for about an hour including a Q&A segment, and will “explore the integration of science with social science and animal welfare to inform feral horse management”. Questions can be submitted to

Driscoll says: “The case for urgently removing feral horses from the Australian Alps national parks is now overwhelming. Multiple large datasets show that feral horses damage vegetation structure, degrade stream morphology and drive declines in threatened alpine bog communities. The damage feral horses cause is widespread, with studies from across the alpine national parks demonstrating degradation and declines of native species.

“Evidence that feral horses are the single cause of widespread environmental degradation, even at low densities, and are a threat to many native species justifies their complete removal from the Australian Alps national parks. This could be most efficiently and humanely achieved using aerial culling.”

A recording of the webinar will be made available for those who have missed out on attending because of audience capacity limits.

» More information on the webinar

» Register here

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10 thoughts on “Huge interest in controversial brumby webinar

  • June 26, 2020 at 11:48 am

    I question the objectivity of these studies attributing causation to the brumbies

    • July 5, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      I have the same concerns, Craig C Downer Esquire, I am a fan of your work and have learned of the success of your Log and Pole triangular fences to keep safe, the pristine, fragile environment in Montana, USA, so as wild horses may share the land in the same environment.
      Thank you for all your work to date, and I thank you in advance for the work you are yet to do, to enhance the co-existence of different species of plants and animals, in a caring and nurturing way, to protect all species,
      Kindest regards
      Joanne Ainsworth
      Peregian Springs

    • July 20, 2020 at 10:08 am

      The evidence that the damage is caused by the brumbies is well studied and established. There is consensus on this amongst ecologists and scientists in Australia. You’re only questioning it, because you don’t like the findings on an emotive level, not because you actually have any evidence (there is none) to refute it. There were several native species already serious trouble because of the brumbies and doubly so now, since the fires. Brumbies are not native to Australia and our native soils do not cope with hooved animals.

  • June 26, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Hmm, actually Europeans are responsible for more widespread, environmental degradation, have eradicated countless local species and are accelerating global warming. They are also an introduced species and I wonder what the professor proposes for us? Unfortunately we have seen similar attitudes in our human history.

  • June 26, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    What about the deer and pigs?? It is a disgrace that brumbies are targeted when the pigs and deer are creating such havoc! And the lack of management of these pests, wild cates, digs and rabbits all now beyond eradication ! So now to pick on the easy target of brumbies is a disgrace – just so you can be seen to be doing something!
    We must demand that the planned cruelty of aerial culling is stopped now! In this day and age to propose this method as the only solution is completely abhorrent and shows man at his worst! No ability to think and act outside the square to solve this problem humanely- just want to take the “easy road” and hire the lowest of the low humans to carry out the dirty work ! Driscoll must be held accountable and made to watch the suffering and cruelty! Disgusting to think that with all the science and technology and veterinary assistance that we cannot find a better way to end an animals life other than to shoot it to death in a hit and miss cull

  • June 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Poppycock is all about ignorance and greed….

  • June 26, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Not only is the evidence of widespread environmental damage attributed to the Brumbies spurious given wild pig and deer damage but the method of “managing” the problem by immediate aerial culling a deporable outrage. These wild horses have been in the parks before they were parks! 1.What Professor,do you propose as Plan B in the face of public outrage at the abject animal cruelty you intend to inflict via aerial culling?. I refer you to the massacre at Guy Fawkes National Park and Singleton Army Base.
    2. Given the unsatisfactory management practices of the National Parks to date, what Management plan could you offer to ensure the contination of our highly valued heritage Brumbies within the vast spaces available in the National Parks?

  • June 26, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    I am asking you to explain how you can justify inflicting such cruelty when in this day and age we have all the technology and advanced use of drugs and veterinary assistance to ensure horses Di not have to suffer horrific deaths. Just look at the photos and video and explain to the world, whose eyes are upon you, how you can live with yourself fur having put this proposal up on the first place ! Here is a letter to all people who condone such cruelty:

    “ To all our leaders and the ‘keepers of the future’”

    Please can you take a moment to think about the information in this post. It is a sad day when leaders condone great cruelty to animals. History will judge your actions and condemn these actions for showing a lack of compassion, disregard for the people’s will, and also for your lack of initiative to find a better solution!
    And there is a better solution.

    People understand that wild horses must be managed and not be left to increase their numbers. But social media has the power to spread good and bad messages, horrific accounts, videos and photos of shooting culls. This means your children and grandchildren will be aghast that you allowed such cruelty on your watch when there ARE other solutions available that should be being discussed and implemented! Other countries manage their wild horses humanely and sustainably. New Zealand has in fact been one to look fur better ways :

    There are many different support groups who would take on a combined approach with the government and Parks Victoria to pool funding and assist with a properly organised program to save the existing brumbies from a cruel death by a mass shooting cull. Once a promise is made not to carry out the cull, these groups would all help to work towards establishing a place where a sustainable herd of brumbies could be managed in the future. Such a program is outlined in the New Zealand model. Shooting is a last resort and then must only be fine humanely- there is no way aerial culling can be considered to be humane

    If Australia goes ahead with the proposed cull , the horses will suffer horrific deaths! Social media and news coverage will be flooded with the consequences of this cruelty and voters and their children will turn against the government, donators to the RSPCA will stop donating and organisations such as the Veterinary Association will be seen to be complicit in the cruel practices of culling. Please think about the ramifications of such a decision.

    I believe there are no horsemen or veterinarians who could support your proposal. Ask any equine veterinarian, like my husband, who will tell you it is hard enough to shoot and kill a domesticated horse with one bullet in the correct place in the forehead – let alone trying this in an aerial cull or even in a trapping yard! Surely you can imagine then how completely IMPOSSIBLE it is to kill every galloping or frenzied horse humanely with one clean shot? No matter how good a shooter is shooting from a helicopter or on the ground, it is incredibly “hit and miss” to find the correct place on the forehead to kill a horse humanely with one bullet! Consequently many bone shattering bullets will be fired into the spine or the shoulder to “drop” a wild horse“. This will inflict horrible suffering and many will be wounded and end up dying a slow, painful death, pregnant mares will abort their unborn foals. The photos and video attached here will confirm this!

    In addition, trapping and trucking the horses for 14 hours without feed and water to a knackery is another form of cruelty that needs to be stopped and rethought! If horses must be culled then it has to be done humanely with the least amount of panic and fear – surely in 2020 we can do better?

    Australia has traded on the famous “Man From Snowy River” film and images, used tours to entice tourists with the chance of seeing a wild brumby herd in the High Country, printed stamps and coins with WW1 Lighthorse images and “Man From Snowy River” brumby pictures! Surely you do not want to be responsible for the cruelest eradication of these valuable assets to our country – and the last links with our WW1 history and the sacrifices made by our Lighthorse soldiers and their mounts? Surely you will not have the heart to tell your children and grandchildren you so cruelly shot the legendary “Man From Snowy River” herds and also the “Silver Brumby” herds that so many of them have loved reading books about or watching films about?

    NO death of an animal should involve unnecessary suffering!
    Cruelty can never be condoned by a government or the RSPCA or a Veterinary Association! Such barbaric shooting culls are just not acceptable as a solution to the removal of the brumbies!

    Please don’t hide behind your “advisors” and paperwork and hope no one will really know what happens at a cull!

    I implore you to:

    I. Call a halt to all shooting culls
    2. Consult the high country people who REALLY know about the wild herds and create a “Think Tank” where together everyone can pool resources to sort this problem out humanely as other countries have done! Shooting culls are NOT humane!
    3. Consider what will be the ramifications of the revulsion that will result from the mishandling of one of our most treasured Aussie icons !

    Still in doubt?

    Please view this video and make up your own minds if you have the stomach to go ahead with the shooting :

    And please take the time to look at some photos to convince you, if you still need convincing, of the unacceptable consequences of aerial and ground shooting “hit and miss“ culling! I cannot include them here as they are too upsetting! They show dying horses with many bullets into the spine – mares aborting their unborn foals as they die an unnecessarily frightening, painful and horrific death

    Please DO something immediately to abandon your proposal and stop this cruelty! “ . Rest assured the videos and photos of any cull will be listed for the world to see and condemn !

    Yours sincerely
    Andrea Turner
    135 Acheron Rd
    Victoria 3714

  • June 27, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Unfortunately the gentleman concerned cannot have any true environmental or scientific credentials. I write from the UK where we specifically use horses in order to maintain and preserve our environments in justice manner. In addition to this these horses have lived in this environment for over 200 years should they have destroyed the environment they would no longer exist. Therefore it is the logical conclusion that this man is a fraud he is being paid to say this by the corrupt government officials who are dropping 1080 on the parks to kill end of every living animal and all the birds of prey they have also looked at all the koala habitat they have shot the kangaroos so now they turn their eyes to the beautiful brumbies.
    It won’t be long before her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is made aware.
    All environmental scientific and naturalist communities worldwide have their eyes on Australia at the moment.
    All environmental scientific and naturalist communities worldwide have their eyes on Australia at the moment.
    It is obvious that government officials are corrupt.
    It It is obvious that People have no morals and no standing within the environmental scientific community are putting their name to this. There is no excuse for cruelty.
    people have no morals and no standing within the environmental scientific community are putting their name to this. There is no excuse for cruelty.Here in the UK we specifically and actively use horses wild horses in the conservation and preservation of Alpine flora and fauna are and places of special scientific interest which are protected by law. The horses actively maintain nurture and enrich the environment It has been scientifically and environmentally Provan. We in the UK therefore export horses for this specific purpose worldwide.
    it has been scientifically and environmentally Provan. We in the UK therefore export horses for this specific purpose worldwide.
    The action therefore has no scientific or environmental basis it needs to be stopped immediately. Dropping 1080 to kill every living being is not environmentally friendly no it’s shooting all the kangaroos or logging the koala is trees and now turning your gun sites to the brumbies.
    Mrs H Paice UK

  • July 1, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    I have owned and bred horses for over 50 years and there is no such thing as a cannibalistic horse. It is a load of garbage and I/we never see photos of the damage caused by deer and wild pigs do we.
    Deers ringbark trees cleaning their antlers of the velvet, wild pigs root up the moss bogs and wet areas, not the wild horses, feral horses whatever you deem to label them.

    You conclusions or accusations are absolute garbage and totally unfounded.
    A horse will not go near a boggy area of ground as they are single hooved animals and will get trapped very quickly.
    Pigs and deer are cloven-hooved animals and have very little chance of getting trapped in muddy areas.
    Wild Pigs will kill young animals like young wallabies once they are out of the pouch.
    They spread disease, root up grasslands and wet areas, eat frogs whatever they can access and are you aware that pgs can travel at speeds of up 40 kM s an hour so they can easily run down and kill other wildlife without any problem.

    Oh, but we don’t hear anything about that do we.
    We just hear how much so-called damage the horses do.

    No mention of how the Ski Resort and Airport that is planned nor the fact that the pigs are not being culled because they raise revenue in the way of licenced shooters paying to come in and shoot them.
    No mention of how highly the Chinese value the Sambah deer for their alternative medicines.
    IE The horns, the hooves and all the bits in between.

    All this rot that is being put out there about horses being carnivores is exactly that. Absolute and utter rot.

    The brumbies have been in the country for over 100 years plus and if they did the damage that you Pro Cull supporters claim there would not be a blade of grass or any native wildlife at all.
    As I said “We don’t see photos of the damage that wild pigs do to wetlands and thus destroy water species, as well as attack and eat wombats, etc..
    No Never any mention of that.
    How about all the Pro Cull supporters state the facts and not make up fairy stories written up by uninformed people who have no clue as to how horses graze nor their habits.

    Also you all need to admit that your so-called numbers of brumbies was based on numbers drawn from 2104 statistics and before the bushfires that decimated so many of these innocent horses.

    Oh, by the way, may I ask. “Who came up with claiming that mares can produce up to 4 foals a year.”
    Total rot.
    A mares gestation period is between 11 and 12 months.
    So I say to you all.
    Get your facts and figures correct and come to some humane and sensible arrangement with horse people that know the facts and do a proper count with some knowledgeable people as well as some neutral people with some common sense.
    Also, it is not possible to do a clean kill shot from a helicopter,
    It is barbaric and evil


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