The following update and call out comes from the Victorian National Parks Association.

There was also an interesting report on Bush Telegraph on ABC, with the following quote:

In a report titled Does Alpine grazing reduce blazing? A landscape test of a widely-held hypothesis. Dr Williams found ‘the use of domestic stock to mitigate fire extent and severity at landscape scale under conditions of extreme fire weather, is not justified on the basis of the current scientific understanding of fire behaviour, livestock behaviour and alpine vegetation dynamics.’

Dr Williams says there is no justification for the current trial.

‘It has no scientific justification and the trial as it is set out has very little scientific credibility… it will be a neat demonstration that cows eat grass.

in the Wonnangatta, looking north
in the Wonnangatta, looking north

Don’t let Abbott & Co trash our parks

Today, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved the Victorian Government’s application to trial cattle grazing in the Wonnangatta Valley, part of the National Heritage-listed Alpine National Park.
In a needlessly rushed decision the minister has approved the return of 60 cattle for a few weeks before winter sets in as part of a larger three year trial involving up to 300 cattle.
Sixty cattle, grazing for a few weeks, is by no means a scientific experiment. The same thing can be easily done outside the national park, but this option was not even considered.
The VNPA along with many scientists and members of the community made detailed submissions arguing against the cattle grazing trial, but obviously they have all been ignored.
The so-called scientific trial is a farce, here are just some of the reasons why:
  • There is still no peer reviewed scientific design for the trial.
  • There has been no consideration of a location outside of the national park.
  • The application ignores the considerable scientific evidence that cattle grazing does not significantly reduce alpine fires.
  • More than 60 years of research shows cattle damage alpine wetlands and the headwaters of many rivers, threatening nationally-listed rare plants and animals.
  • The rushed decision means there will be no time to carry out on-ground surveys for threatened and rare species that could be affected by cattle grazing.
Wonnangatta Valley has been in the Alpine National Park for more than 20 years. National parks were created for the conservation of nature, not as cow paddocks for graziers who want to regain privileged access to the park.
The Victorian Government has now wasted more than $1 million of taxpayers’ money on this deeply flawed ‘science project’ to appease its cattlemen mates. 
It is three years since the Coalition first promised to get cattle into the Alpine National Park, but we are yet to see a peer-reviewed scientific design for the project, or be told if any scientists have put their name to the ‘scientific trial’.
The Abbott and Napthine governments seem hell bent on trashing national parks, even though they are cherished by most Australians and envied by the rest of the world.
It’s time to stand up and make some noise for national parks! 
You can help by: 
We love national parks – they should provide a safe and secure home for our natural heritage, our native plants and animals. We use them to walk, ride, camp and relax, but never should they be used as cow paddocks!