Secret slaughter of Barmah brumbies

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One of the bodies found in Barmah National Park.
A foal that has been trained by Barmah Brumby Protection Group president Julie Pridmore.

Parks Victoria has embarked on a cull of brumby horses in the Barmah Forest but won’t tell the public when the shooting is carried out and how many horses have been killed.

The department is acting on a joint management plan that requires the brumbies to be removed by shooting or trapped and re-homed.

Many Barmah people are upset after discovering more than 30 bodies left abandoned in the forest, while only a handful of brumbies have been trapped and moved out for re-homing.

Parks Victoria has a goal to remove up to 100 brumbies from the forest each financial year due to the damage being caused to the national park.

“Parks Victoria has an obligation to control invasive species in the Barmah National Park, including feral horses, which cause long-term and large-scale damage to native plants and animals, many of which occur nowhere else in the world,” a Parks Victoria statement said.

“The conservation threats and pressure in Barmah has been exacerbated in recent years by damage from feral horses, deer and other feral animals, accelerated impacts of climate change and the limited progress of previous feral horse management methods.

“All feral horse management operations are thoroughly planned and implemented under strict protocols and oversight, ensuring that operations are safe, effective, humane and meet obligations of all relevant legislation, codes of practice and standard operating procedures.”

Country News submitted a list of questions to Parks Victoria, asking how many horses had been shot, why the park wasn’t closed for the shooting, what safety precautions had been taken and why the bodies were left in the forest.

The department has refused to answer any of the questions.