Recently the Victorian government released a ‘blueprint’ plan for the national parks in the Alps, which aims to guide management over the next 15 years.

The plan identifies eight priorities for urgent action, one of which is feral horse control.

Peter Hunt from The Weekly Times has looked into one aspect of the plan which will cause concern among groups who have campaigned against shooting feral horses. However, the environmental impacts of wild horses are well documented and numbers of these animals needs to be radically reduced.

Peter quotes the report, saying that live capture techniques with trapping and roping are resource-intensive and ‘risked stressing and injuring feral horses’.

“These techniques, if used alone, may not be able to achieve large reductions required in horse numbers in the Alps,” the plan states.

“Ground or aerial shooting are considered by technical experts and some stakeholders to be humane and effective techniques, particularly for control over extensive areas of rugged terrain such as the eastern Alps.

“Technical experts and some stakeholders consider shooting to be a more humane control option compared to live capture techniques as animals are not subject to the stresses of capture, yarding and long-distance transportation.”