Horses and heritage

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby LachlanB » Sat 26 May, 2018 12:15 pm

tom_brennan wrote:In sneaky news, possibly designed to be drowned out by the Brumbies Bill:
the Minister for the Environment has approved horse riding in four national parks – Kosciuszko, Deua, Monga, and Mummel Gulf – following a two-year comprehensive trial and monitoring, which showed horse riding caused minimal impacts where it occurred. Final arrangements should be ready by December 2018 when the formal consultation process and amended plans of management are complete.


What that quote (from Nationals Leader John Barilaro's website) does not say is that the horse riding is now permitted in Wilderness Areas, which has never before been the case.

This is a massive retrograde step for Wilderness in NSW.


I thought that there was scientific evidence available that horse riding caused major negative impacts in national parks? So how the hell have they justified minimal impacts?
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby north-north-west » Sat 26 May, 2018 2:43 pm

LachlanB wrote:I thought that there was scientific evidence available that horse riding caused major negative impacts in national parks? So how the hell have they justified minimal impacts?

By ignoring the science and lying. In other words, SOP.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby rcaffin » Sun 27 May, 2018 9:10 am

Short-term political gain beats long-term national interest every time.
We are currently going through an anti-science anti-logic era. Sigh.

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Mon 28 May, 2018 6:13 am

rcaffin wrote:Short-term political gain beats long-term national interest every time.
We are currently going through an anti-science anti-logic era. Sigh.

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The trouble with science is that so much of it is reported now and the report tells you what was bad before is now good or vice versa. Things keep changing as scientists learn more so people become distrustful of anything scientists say because it is likely to change with the next lot of research. The earth used to be flat then it was round and apparently it is flat again. At what point to you believe science? I have read my father's encyclopedias (from when he was a boy) and pluto was not discovered. Then it was and called a planet, now it is not a planet. They just can't make up their minds. Many things scientists have told us and we believed to be true have been proved false. I also distrust science mainly because I studied it at university and know how flawed it can be. This is not meant to be an argument for rejecting the science, just an explanation why people are doing it.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby jdeks » Mon 28 May, 2018 12:52 pm

I was all set to write a whole bunch of critical emails off today to various departments and MPs. Only problem was, once I started reading more into whats actually being proposed in this bill, the less I was convinced myself.

Just to stir the post a bit...

Mr John Barilaro wrote:Let me be clear: This bill does not promote maintaining any specific number of brumbies nor does it promote increasing the number of brumbies within the national park. It simply recognises the heritage and cultural value of brumbies and shifts the focus away from lethal population-control methods. In fact, this bill will set a framework for managing brumby populations in a humane way. It is about balance...

..The brumby population in the national park will continue to be reduced to a more sustainable number by using passive trapping and rehoming, as well as by mustering and relocation to less sensitive areas in the national park...

....The new framework of managing brumbies in the Kosciuszko National Park also will involve a number of new approaches, including brumbies found in "highly-sensitive" alpine areas of the national park being relocated by authorities; the establishment of a Wild Horse Community Advisory Panel is to advise the Minister of appropriate management approaches for the brumby; a research and monitoring program to inform future wild horse management plans; a brumby count to gain a more accurate assessment of brumby numbers and where they range; and a marketing campaign to promote rehoming and adoption of brumbies that need to be removed from the national park. Through the community advisory panel, for the first time the community will have direct involvement in shaping the management of brumbies within the national park.


Now I realize he's trying to spin his bill (and save his seat) as best as possible, but there's no denying it's still clearly very much aimed at reducing the numbers and impact of brumbies - just with different methods?

Is that necessarily a bad thing, solely because it's not "SHOOT MURDER DEATH KILL" approach? Lots of folk are taking the 'grim but necessary' stance on the cull, but how many are actually willing to pick up a rifle and spend a solid week of their lives killing (mostly) healthy herbivores by the thousands? Very easy to forget from a distance that it's a properly grim job with its own demonstrated complications. History has shown quite clearly that even when you engage professionals to do it, there's a good chance it wont go as planned, and there's still a whole bunch of potential for suffering*. Considering how frequently their population welfare is cited as a justification for the cull, it does seem odd to try and solve it by risking a different type of suffering.

Moreover, the number of feral species that we've actually successfully eliminated with the 'just kill 'em all' approach is, to the best of my knowledge, zero. Canetoad Golf is QLD's State sport, and they're in NSW now and heading south. You can go shoot deer yourself if you're that concerned about their hooves wrecking alpine streams (which they absolutely do), and thousands of hunters do, and have done so for decades, yet the are bigger than ever. We've even had 'successful' horse and camel aerial culling in the top end (ideal conditions for such action, unlike Kosciusko) , in which subsequent studies have shown it to have dubious effect on long term population and conservation outcomes **. The population just persists and bounces back, and in a few years youre back where you started . Foxes, cats, pig, mice...it's the same story every time.

..except when it isn't. Which usually seems to be when we take a multi-faceted management approach, and implement researched control methods (like myxo or cactoblastis). Such an approach seems to be what this Bill ostensibly supports, and certainly not ignoring or prolonging the problem.

Is that really a bad thing?


*https://rspcaanimalcruelty.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/magistrate-dismisses-charges-brought-against-npws-by-the-rspca/
**https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/documents/conservation-management/pests-diseases/camel/lorna_glen_camel_survey_post_culling_2007.pdf
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby north-north-west » Mon 28 May, 2018 2:53 pm

If trapping, rehoming and/or relocating worked, the brumbies wouldn't be the massive problem they now are. It's an obscenely expensive and ineffective way of supposedly ''managing' their numbers. Qute apart from anything else, the money would be better spent on other projects than continuing with something that has been shown to not work.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby taswegian » Mon 28 May, 2018 3:59 pm

What's the ratio of males to females?
In other control issues they sterilise one side which then causes the obvious decline.

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Cane toads come to mind as just one, then theirs protection offered to other endangered marsupials where they go to great expenses to target ferrals.

To say it can't be achieved isn't an answer.

Social media shows one side or the other in the light of the proponent. Then it takes off and governments (politicians) cave in.

I see donkeys are a nuisance elsewhere in Australia. Probably not a new issue, just in the news.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby north-north-west » Mon 28 May, 2018 4:38 pm

Sure. You catch all the stallions and colts, castrate them and re-release them.
Do you have any idea how difficult or expensive that would be? Or the amount of care a castrated horse needs to recover properly - because otherwise you are mostly releasing them to die a slow and painful death from infection or blood loss. It's worse than trying to catch and rehome them.

If gene drive technology was sufficiently well-developed and could be guaranteed not to cross over into the non-feral horse population, that would be an option worth trying. But it's still probably decades from being viable, and it would mean that the horses would still be causing this degree of damage until they died out. And that is assuming there is no ongoing project to recruit the brumby population through deliberate releases. Given that those releases are happening now, that assumption is not likely to hold.

It would be wonderful if there was a simple, humane method to sort this out. Unfortunately, at the moment lethal culling is the most effective and efficient option we have.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Mon 28 May, 2018 5:19 pm

I can tell you traps have been set on BHP since the end of March. Three horse have been caught. I actually think this is a good number but 3 in 2 months. Do the maths. There are about 100 up there and the count was done a week ago. BHP has a population that has a chance of control with trapping over time but some will still evade it. Other areas do not have the same chance. 90% of horses trapped are not suitable to re-home. Too old, too feral, too dangerous. Catching and sterilising males then releasing is just releasing an infertile horse to do damage and there is no reason to believe that particular stallion is the one doing all the work. A bit of animal studies needed. Given any population will have 50% males then there are a lot of stallions running around looking for some work. They are kicked out of the herd and will hang out together (or on their own) until one can steal a few mares and start his own herd. If you muster them to somewhere else then you need to put a fence up to stop them going back. Mustering in some of that country is out of the question. What is proposed in this bill is known not to work and it will cost huge so it is a bit disingenuous. I have been on the coal face of feral animal control and agree most people have no idea. Pro shooters are the best option but even they cannot guarantee a clean kill. Letting horses starve to death is not a better solution and that is happening now. Horses are an easier target than deer and the deer control on BHP has shown how effective shooting can be. If the same numbers were been done with the horses then the problem would already have been solved there. Why do feral horses attract so much sympathy? I don't own a dog or a cat because they wander at night. I own 4 horses and they are controlled by fences and us when we ride them. That is how it should be. Any domestic animal released into the wild has no place there and should be controlled but also in a humane manner. When trapping is shown to be ineffective then things will change. Governments change also.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby tom_brennan » Mon 28 May, 2018 5:53 pm

jdeks wrote:Now I realize he's trying to spin his bill (and save his seat) as best as possible, but there's no denying it's still clearly very much aimed at reducing the numbers and impact of brumbies - just with different methods?


If John Barilaro was serious about managing down the feral horse numbers humanely, and he had a plan and funding to do so, then that would indeed be great.

But he has no plan, no money, and no intent to do so.

He's just implementing another impediment to getting the feral horse population under control.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby neilmny » Mon 28 May, 2018 7:14 pm

Frydenberg is now supporting Barilaro

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 4zhvj.html
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 28 May, 2018 9:55 pm

I cannot recall the details but it's something like this. Researchers did something to female deer so they could not breed. Problems was they were still ovulating so the bucks came in, no drop in the birth rate as they mated with fertile females. The science needs to be sound. There is no easy, quick, low-cost certain solution.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby north-north-west » Tue 29 May, 2018 7:36 am

Xplora wrote:The trouble with science is that so much of it is reported now and the report tells you what was bad before is now good or vice versa. Things keep changing as scientists learn more so people become distrustful of anything scientists say because it is likely to change with the next lot of research. The earth used to be flat then it was round and apparently it is flat again. At what point to you believe science? I have read my father's encyclopedias (from when he was a boy) and pluto was not discovered. Then it was and called a planet, now it is not a planet. They just can't make up their minds. Many things scientists have told us and we believed to be true have been proved false. I also distrust science mainly because I studied it at university and know how flawed it can be. This is not meant to be an argument for rejecting the science, just an explanation why people are doing it.


I'd have more sympathy with that attitude if the same people applied the same scepticism and cynicism to all politicians. People listen to those who say what they want to hear. Few actually apply critical thought to any serious matter.

btw, which scientists are claiming that the Earth is not an oblate spheroid?
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby tom_brennan » Tue 29 May, 2018 8:33 am

Xplora wrote:The trouble with science is that so much of it is reported now and the report tells you what was bad before is now good or vice versa. Things keep changing as scientists learn more so people become distrustful of anything scientists say because it is likely to change with the next lot of research. The earth used to be flat then it was round and apparently it is flat again. At what point to you believe science? I have read my father's encyclopedias (from when he was a boy) and pluto was not discovered. Then it was and called a planet, now it is not a planet. They just can't make up their minds. Many things scientists have told us and we believed to be true have been proved false. I also distrust science mainly because I studied it at university and know how flawed it can be. This is not meant to be an argument for rejecting the science, just an explanation why people are doing it.


The problem is that people misunderstand what science is, how it should be used and what its limitations are.

Science (well, the scientific method) is the process of making a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis and modifying that hypothesis as new information or research comes to light. Science is expected to change as new research is done. What we know is only ever based on the best information we have at that point in time, and the fact that it can change is a strength, not a weakness, of science.

Nothing (apart from maybe in mathematics) is ever "proved" to be true. It is always subject to further testing, refinement and understanding. Newton's laws of motion, for example, are still generally applicable. However, they may not work under certain conditions - for example, objects approaching the speed of light, objects at sub atomic scale. These things were not known about in Newton's time, and the additional rules to deal with those conditions is the scientific method at play.

The fact that the science is always subject to change based on new research is not a reason to dismiss science completely.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby sambar358 » Tue 29 May, 2018 9:08 am

There is no science involved in the proposal to ban lethal methods of control of feral horses in NSW via the Brumby Bill. This is all about political survival and doing the usual smoke and mirrors tricks to hoodwink a gullible public into believing that the brumbies are doing no harm and should be left to run wild and free. Images of horses galloping across the tussock plains or little doe-eyed foals and their mums looking innocent and harmless hide the true facts.....there are far too many feral horses in the KNP & ANP and something needs to be done about that. "The Science" worldwide supports culling in these circumstances......shooting.....and while there's nothing too romantic about a pile of dead horses that's what should be embraced by the NSW and Vic governments and they then deal with the flack generated using "The Science" to support their decision. Do it......ride-out the negative publicity......and then when it's all done and time has healed the scars on the landscape and the horse numbers are fewer and far less damaging people will see that the right decision was made.

Lethal culling via ground and aerial shooting will lot eliminate the feral horses from the Parks.....their numbers and distribution are far beyond achieving that already and have been for decades. The current trapping strategy will not achieve any positive long term outcomes and I'm sure Parks already know this.....as Xplora stated in his earlier post trapping 3 horses on the BHP in 2 months is hardly having an impact however in the same time a couple of competent ground shooters would have made a very significant impact in the horse numbers there.....Parks would know this too. But they are not the masters in all this unfortunately as once again political survival trumps all cards and "The Science" of all this is totally ignored to ensure the status quo in government. I doubt if we'll ever see a serious reduction of the feral horse numbers in the KNP & ANP via the trapping and brumby running strategies as the areas covered are just drops in a very big bucket and are feel-good methods at the very best to appease a noisy minority that seem to have a very good publicity machine behind them.

But deer, goats, feral pigs in the KNP.......now that's a different matter......shoot 'em from the ground, shoot 'em from the air, use sneaky NV to get 'em at night and even use 1080 on 'em.....any methods at all to reduce their numbers & NSW Parks have been doing this for years without a whimper from the public. And that's the hypocrisy of all all this......shooting brumbies is simply bad for business if you're in politics....."Science".......what's that ! Cheers

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Tue 29 May, 2018 6:44 pm

tom_brennan wrote:The fact that the science is always subject to change based on new research is not a reason to dismiss science completely.

It is for people who only read what is reported in the media and do not understand science. All they see is scientists cannot agree.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 9:44 am

Another ridiculous article... https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/nsw/debate-over-kosciuszko-national-park-brumby-cull-as-bitter-as-ever-20180524-p4zh8o.html

one of my favourite quotes in the article.

He prefers to focus on what he calls the "barefaced lies" about brumbies.

"You can't even see where the horses have been," Cochran says.


The hundreds of feral horse pads and manure as far as the eye can see is plenty indication of where the horses have been.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby michael_p » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 9:50 am

Telling point made by the article author:
Cochran, a former Nationals MP for Monaro who now uses the chance to see brumbies in the wild as a selling point for his horse trekking business, has spent nearly half a century defending the horses' place in the national park.
One foot in front of the other.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Tony » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 5:02 pm

Zapruda wrote:Another ridiculous article... https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/nsw/debate-over-kosciuszko-national-park-brumby-cull-as-bitter-as-ever-20180524-p4zh8o.html

one of my favourite quotes in the article.

He prefers to focus on what he calls the "barefaced lies" about brumbies.

"You can't even see where the horses have been," Cochran says.


The hundreds of feral horse pads and manure as far as the eye can see is plenty indication of where the horses have been.


I have personally seen damage done to the bank of Cave Creek by Peter Cochran's horse when he was riding through Blue Water Holes. (this was many years ago when he was supporting Tim Fisher on his annual bush bash.

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 02 Jun, 2018 2:14 pm

Victoria is going the other way to NSW.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 4ziyh.html
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby sambar358 » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 3:42 pm

A pretty strong message from the Vic Government in the Vic Sunday paper reinforcing their position on the reduction of feral horse numbers in the ANP via trapping but also leaving the door open in the 3rd year for "other methods"....which could well mean aerial or ground shooting should trapping not achieve the projected numbers.

So maybe a couple of years of trapping which will likely not achieve the numbers hoped for then a re-think. But will the government of the day have the determination to achieve a long-term positive outcome for the environment and take the next logical step and employ a more aggressive but less-popular approach and start shooting the horses.....or will the take the easier and more politically sustainable line and say "well we tried".....I suspect the latter unfortunately.

Interesting comments from Emma Hurst from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in the same article predictably condemning any horse killings (shooting unsuitable horses for re-homing in the traps) but then also condemning the re-homing program as being extremely stressful for the animals. Her solution was to use "humane methods such as motion detectors and repellents which are the only methods that will actually keep numbers down" according to her. So there you have it......at last a solution to all this.... Parks just need to pop into Woolies and buy-up all the cans of "horse repellent" and aerial spray the entire ANP with it. As for the "motion detectors"......maybe the cans of horse repellent are like the air freshener ones for house-hold use that are activated by movement. A horse walks past a "horse repellent" can set-up on a travel trail.....the motion detector triggers the spray and the neddy gets dosed with repellent and leaves the Park. Yep......that would work for sure !!!! Cheers

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby neilmny » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 4:52 pm

Wait a minute what about the Marchflies and Botflies......if you take away the horses who is going to humanely deal them..........the forgotten souls they are.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 6:41 am

sambar358 wrote:So maybe a couple of years of trapping which will likely not achieve the numbers hoped for then a re-think. But will the government of the day have the determination to achieve a long-term positive outcome for the environment and take the next logical step and employ a more aggressive but less-popular approach and start shooting the horses.....or will the take the easier and more politically sustainable line and say "well we tried".....I suspect the latter unfortunately.


The authorities already know that trapping will not work but are doing it to prove the point. A bit like the aerial shooting of deer. Someone said, 'but have we tried this option' and so PV had to do it. Shooting will be on the agenda in the future and may also be available now in certain circumstances. Of course all this could change if the wind of change drives it and some sympathetic elected official without a conscience decides their seat in parliament may be at risk if they allowed it.

sambar358 wrote:Interesting comments from Emma Hurst from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in the same article predictably condemning any horse killings (shooting unsuitable horses for re-homing in the traps) but then also condemning the re-homing program as being extremely stressful for the animals. Her solution was to use "humane methods such as motion detectors and repellents which are the only methods that will actually keep numbers down" according to her. So there you have it......at last a solution to all this.... Parks just need to pop into Woolies and buy-up all the cans of "horse repellent" and aerial spray the entire ANP with it. As for the "motion detectors"......maybe the cans of horse repellent are like the air freshener ones for house-hold use that are activated by movement. A horse walks past a "horse repellent" can set-up on a travel trail.....the motion detector triggers the spray and the neddy gets dosed with repellent and leaves the Park. Yep......that would work for sure !!!! Cheers

s358


I don't think PETA have a great deal of credibility left. They sent a wildlife photographer, working to save endangered species, broke for not giving copyright to a monkey. The media will love printing their quotes because the rest of the normal world get a good laugh. Another thing that works well - horses are smart (not really) but they will go away if you tell them and wave your arms (except my mare who just thinks you are not serious and comes up to you for a pat). Try it next time you see wild horses. Say, 'go away' and wave your arms furiously. They go away. Nobody has ever thought of just asking them to leave.

I know you are out and about in the bush for the week. Hope you are successful.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby crollsurf » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 11:34 am

You have til the 22nd June to make a submission for anyone interested
Notice of Preliminary Determination
The NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee (NSW TSSC) has made a
Preliminary Determination proposing that the “Habitat degradation and loss by Feral
Horses, Equus caballus” be listed as a Key threatening process in Schedule 4 of the
Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

How to make a submission
The NSW TSSC welcomes public involvement...


Link to PDF http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/threatenedspecies/determinations/PDFeralHorsesKTP2.pdf
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Tue 05 Jun, 2018 7:51 am

Although no email address was provided for submissions there was one listed on the bottom of the page and I sent my submission to that address. Wait to see if it gets through. I would have to travel 100km return to buy a stamp and post a letter.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby bearded bushwalker » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 1:34 pm

Sounds like they received a submission from an unexpected source:
"Pressure is mounting on the Berejiklian government to ditch its controversial plan to protect wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature warning the move would damage the state's and Australia's global reputation.

In a letter sent to Gabrielle Upton, the state's Environment Minister, the IUCN's director-general Inger Andersen said the bill to protect the animals raised "substantial issues for protected area policy and will create poor precedents for Australia and beyond"."

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/conservation/disturbing-world-conservation-body-blasts-nsw-wild-horse-plan-20180605-p4zjlg.html

Hope the link allows access
bearded bushwalker

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 5:08 pm

That should wake them up. Might there be an IUCN aspect for the Falls Hotham Alpine Crossing? There's no EIS for conservation zones that are becoming akin to built up areas.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Thu 07 Jun, 2018 5:58 am

Legislation can be challenged. If it conflicts with other legislation it may be ruled invalid. Commonwealth law also takes precedent over state law. Maybe some clever person will look into this. Not saying it would work but it could be an angle to look at. Perhaps the Governor will not stamp it. Write to the Queen. Legislation can also be repealed and at some time in the future there will be a government willing to do that. The problem will not go away in any term of a government any time soon even if shooting started now. The yearly increase is around 20%. At least the problem is getting some air time and both sides are vocal.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby highercountry » Thu 07 Jun, 2018 9:14 am

bearded bushwalker wrote:Sounds like they received a submission from an unexpected source:
"Pressure is mounting on the Berejiklian government to ditch its controversial plan to protect wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature warning the move would damage the state's and Australia's global reputation.

In a letter sent to Gabrielle Upton, the state's Environment Minister, the IUCN's director-general Inger Andersen said the bill to protect the animals raised "substantial issues for protected area policy and will create poor precedents for Australia and beyond"."

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/conservation/disturbing-world-conservation-body-blasts-nsw-wild-horse-plan-20180605-p4zjlg.html

Hope the link allows access


Lophophaps wrote:That should wake them up.


Australian governments have completely ignored United Nations condemnation and damning on human rights issues related to Indigenous imprisonment, migration and environmental issues.
They are impervious to criticism. The truth, scientific evidence and expert opinion doesn't seem to matter these days.
What chance they'll pay any attention to a relatively low profile organisation as the IUCN?
This is not to say that we all lay down and take it up the ....., but what does it take to sway a government from populist BS, bigotry, intolerance and powerful vested interests.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby tom_brennan » Thu 07 Jun, 2018 9:39 am

The Feral Horses Bill 2018 (aka the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill 2018) passed the NSW Lower House on Tues and the Upper House last night (Wed 6 Jun). So it is effectively now L-A-W law:
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 4zjrn.html

A sad day for evidence based policy and threatened species.
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