We have to find the best outcome for all animals in Kosciuszko National Park – both native and non-native.
But right now, horses are suffering horrific deaths, native animals are under threat, and communities are stressed about animal cruelty. Underfunded rescue groups are struggling to save and rehome horses who would otherwise be shot or sent to knackeries to be slaughtered.
This is all because of the NSW Government’s mismanagement.
The Government’s 2021 Kosciusko Wild Horse Management Plan is focussed on killing horses instead of non-lethal solutions, namely, funding rescue groups to rehome animals and fertility control trials. This is despite serious concerns about the accuracy of the data on the number of horses currently residing in the park. It also completely ignores the more serious threats to native animals in Kosciuszko such as climate change, forestry operations, and habitat loss caused by the development of ski resorts.
We need a new plan - one that is focussed on humane, non-lethal solutions that balance the interests of all animals in Kosciuszko.
In 2020, the Animal Justice Party passed a Notice of Motion calling for the NSW Government to pursue immunocontraceptive darting trials (which would make female horses infertile) in sensitive areas of Kosciuszko National Park. The motion passed with the support of the Government, yet the Draft Kosciusko Wild Horse Management Plan released in October 2021 does not refer to any plans to commence a trial.
Immunocontraceptive trials must begin urgently. Horses continue to suffer horrific deaths, native animals remain under threat, and communities are stressed about animal cruelty.
A wild horse has the same capacity to feel pain and fear as a native animal, and their lives deserve the same level of dignity and respect. We need to find a way to protect the native animals at risk, AND the horses – in fact, we have a duty to do so. With the right investment in research and trial studies, fertility control offers potential to reduce wild-horse numbers in the most humane way possible.