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August 06, 2008 | | Comments 0

Australian Brumby Horses

What You Should Know About the Australian Brumby

The Australian Brumby carries more than just a unique name. It also has a very unusual history. If you are partial to horses, knowing about these Australian nomads is a must.

The Australian Brumby

Australian Brumbies are actually also called feral horses. They are assigned this term because they are wild horses that roam freely in various parts of Australia. Unlike other horses that have been specifically bred, the history of Brumbies is easy to trace. Their story began when horses were first imported to Australia in the late 1700s up to the mid 1800s. It was from these horses that Brumbies emerged.

One popular story links Brumbies to Col. James Brumby. When Col. Brumby relocated to Tasmania, it is believed that he left horses that had no other recourse than to roam free. Apparently though, Col. Brumby is not the sole source of these feral horses. There were other settlers who abandoned their horses as they moved out to other areas. Other farm owners may have also had poor facilities for keeping horses, hence resulting in escaped horses. A final source of Brumbies was horse owners who had an excess of horses and therefore intentionally released those that they no longer needed or wanted.

There is no set of distinguishing traits for Brumbies. This is simply because modern Brumbies are the offspring of a variety of different horses. Perhaps the only long-standing descriptive term for these horses is feral.

The Australian Brumby Controversy

In the past, the Brumby population was uncontrolled. This led to the increase in their population which has in turn led to a chain reaction. They are viewed by some as pests because they feed liberally on plants thereby diminishing, destroying or disturbing various plant and animal species. They can also be the cause for spreading unwanted wild plant growth and equine diseases. In some cases, their movements can cause soil erosion and water pollution which are serious environmental and health issues. Brumbies also cause damage to private properties when they do stray near structures inhabited by humans.

There are of course, other individuals who maintain a different view. Some feel that Brumbies are an important part of Australian history and culture and that they should be left alone. There are also animal welfare activists who wish to protect these animals not so much for their cultural significance but because they are animals capable of feeling and sensation.

Unfortunately, controlling the Brumby population has never been easy. In some cases, the strategies adopted have been cheap and inhumane. Brumbies have at times been out rightly shot or killed after having been captured. There is a potential for developing methods to chemically block fertility. As most of us would already know however, this would take a great deal of time and financial resources.

In some cases, Brumbies can be tamed and domesticated. This does not offer a solution though because not many people would want to have horses in the first place.

It is obvious that there is a real need to manage Brumbies. At the same time though, more efforts should be exerted to help deal with them in the most humane ways possible.

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