Brumbies grazing in the Alpine National Park could reduce the risk of bushfires, says an organisation fighting to stop Parks Victoria culling the animals for population control.
Australian Brumby Alliance made a submission to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, published online this week.
"The more fuel a fire has, the hotter it burns, and the more areas linked together with high fuel loads, the faster fires will increase in intensity," the alliance stated.
"One obvious solution to keep undergrowth down, without causing smoke, is grazing.
"The ABA argues that areas with higher wild horse grazing numbers were less affected by fire."
Members were not happy that people they called "Parks Victoria environmentalists" did not agree with their argument.
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Their submission contained photographs of brumbies in the Alpine National Park after the bushfires.
ABA claimed that "Parks Victoria describes photo 1 as 'horses in waterways on burnt landscape' to use as evidence that wild horses must be immediately removed/shot".
But its members disagreed, instead seeing "two brumbies drinking at the edge of a stream, and standing on green grass that has not been burnt" in the photograph.
"For too long we have heard that 'grazing does not reduce blazing', yet there are studies showing that grazing does reduce fire intensity and damage," the submission stated.
"The ABA advocates for moderate horse densities in sustainable areas to be retained for their positive grazing attributes towards reducing fuel load - keeping the grass short, and stimulating new green pick for birds, insects and native species to forage and benefit from, in addition to maintaining low fuel levels which have saved the taller shrubs from being burnt."
Parks Victoria chief executive Matthew Jackson would not say if the bushfires contributed to the decision to cull the brumbies, just that it had an obligation to control feral horses, "which cause long-term and large-scale damage to native alpine plants and animals".
"Parks Victoria will review feral horse management plans and will commence operations at the appropriate time," he said.
The ABA submission was sent to the Royal Commission in April while Philip Maguire, who owns land adjacent to the Alpine National Park, took Parks Victoria to the Supreme Court to try to stop brumbies being culled on legal grounds.
His appeal was dismissed, but he still has plans to take the case to the High Court.
Mountain Cattlemen's Association of Victoria has also pushed for the Royal Commission to make recommendations to allow grazing in the national park again.