#Animal Welfare
State Ministers for Agriculture and Primary Industries and Federal Minster for Agriculture and Prima

The Hunter Valley Brumby Association (HVBA) has just completed a two year investigation into the welfare of the horses used in a group of events known as “Stockman’s Challenge”.

Competitors have three minutes in which to chase, catch and attempt to lead a brumby while on horseback.

The regulation on these events is low and the scope very wide, ranging from small events held as part of local shows to large events such as the “Man from Snowy River Festival” in Victoria, “King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival” in NSW and the Lower Lakes Challenge in South Australia.

Events operating under the guide of the Australian Stockman’s Challenge Association (ASCA) are held to the high welfare standards of that organisation. Those which operate outside of this organisation are still bound by the Rodeo Code of Practice, but are subject to little scrutiny, particularly with regards to the Brumby/Wild Horse Catch events often held as the final in the Challenge.

The Brumby/Wild Horse Catch is not condoned by the ASCA or the National Rodeo Federation (NRF) and many Stockman's Challenge events affiliated with the ASCA run very successfully without a Brumby Catch event, proof that this event is not necessary.

Wild Horse Catch or similar events are not defined as prohibited or defined as an event under the definition of a rodeo in all States or defined under either animal welfare legislations and are therefore held under “loop holes” and in limbo as to their status legally or illegally.

The HVBA rejects on principle the Brumby/Wild Horse Catch events due to the trauma that can be inflicted on the wild horses simply by exposing them to such a stressful environment, but even we were shocked by the treatment of these animals. With many Brumbies witnessed as being injured and pregnant in these events. Surprisingly, the ridden horses appear to endure similarly high stresses due to being asked again and again to run towards the kicks and bites of the traumatised and frightened wild horse, putting the ridden horse's in danger of being injured.

Brumby/Wild Horse Catch events pose no benefit to Brumbies as most, if not all are sent to slaughter at the conclusion of the event.

This is the first time any organisation has ever challenged the animal welfare issues concerning this event.

We, the undersigned, call on all State Ministers for Agriculture and Primary Industries and Federal Minster for Agriculture and Primary Industries to immediately amend animal welfare legislation and rodeo codes of practice to prohibit the use of equines for the purposes of chasing, catching and roping in competitive events known as Brumby and/or Wild Horse Catch or similar events.

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The Ban Brumby/Wild Horse Catch Events petition to State Ministers for Agriculture and Primary Industries and Federal Minster for Agriculture and Prima was written by Hunter Valley Brumby Association and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.