The controversial shooting of brumbies in the Alpine National Park will go ahead after an Omeo cattleman lost his Supreme Court bid to stop the cull.
Justice Steven Moore dismissed Phil Maguire's case yesterday ruling he didn't have standing to bring the case against Parks Victoria.
"In any event the defendant was not required to consult with the community in relation to its decision to cull by shooting feral horses in the Alpine National Park," he said.
"The fact that Mr Maguire has deposed to his intention to voice his objection to the decision if he is successful in this proceeding does not demonstrate that he has any interest other than that which any member of the public has in upholding the law."
Maguire has suggested if an appeal and request for injunction to stop ground shooting is dismissed he will put himself between shooters and the horses.
"If that fails we head for the mountains in big numbers and confront them on horses and on foot," he said to more than 16,000 Facebook followers on the Rural Resistance page.
"As many people as we can possibly get," he said.
"The call will go out around the country. No shooting will be allowed.
"It won't be organised, it will be chaotic because decisions will have to be made at a moments notice."
Justice Moore said Maguire's claimed loss of amenity and loss of benefit from the brumbies grazing habits wasn't a valid argument for why the horses shouldn't be shot.
"Whether the horses are removed by trapping or by culling or by some other means has no bearing upon the claimed amenity and other benefits said to flow from the presence of the horses on Mr Maguire's property," he said.
"It is clear the decision to remove the horses from the Alpine National Park was the subject of extensive community consultation before the action plan was made and is given effect to by the contents of that plan."
Parks Victoria lawyer Jason Pizer said his client would not start ground shooting of the horses until June 12 but only if Maguire's team files applications.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"If the plaintiff files in the court of appeal an application for leave to appeal together with an application for an interlocutory injunction by 4pm on Thursday, June 4, 2020 Parks Victoria indicates unconditionally to the court that it will not commence ground shooting of feral horse before Friday, June 12, 2020," he said.
"But if the plaintiff does not file those applications by 4pm on June 4, 2020 Parks Victoria indicates unconditionally to the court that it will not commence ground shooting of the feral horses before Tuesday June 9, 2020."
The case, which was heard via Zoom, heard Parks Victoria made the decision to change its brumby control "technique" to shooting in March.
Justice Moore said in the decision, which was referred to during the proceedings by Maguire's legal team as the "kill policy", was made due to a number of reasons.
These included the impacts of the recent bushfires, a delay in carrying out the plan due to the Federal Court case against Parks Victoria by the Australian Brumby Alliance, the "dramatic" increase of feral horse numbers and the failure of trapping and rehoming programs.
Despite admitting he was disappointed with the decision, Maguire said the fight continues.
"The war goes on. It was never going to be easy," he said. The brumbies are safe until June 4 and we are applying for an injunction to stop any shooting until the appeal is decided.
"That could take some time during which the brumbies would be safe.
"We believe firmly that we can win an appeal."
Maguire was ordered to pay the legal costs of Parks Victoria.