Mountain Cattlemen Care For The High Country

But mountain cattle don’t. I am surprised that people are still driving around with this misguided sticker attached to their cars. Mind you most of the cars I see them on look like the closest they have come to the high country are the Mt. Buller ski fields. Equally misguided and erroneous is the sticker that states, “Alpine Grazing Reduces Blazing,” especially in light of a CSIRO study that found grazed areas are just as likely to burn as non-grazed ones (http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Environment/Australian-Landscapes/AlpineGrazingAndFire.aspx#adoes).

It’s about time people faced the facts that cattle do nothing but damage to the high country, with their cloven hooves trampling the delicate sphagnum moss, and their huge mounds of wet steaming faeces that take months or even years to decompose (Australian dung beetles can’t cope with cattle faeces, having adapted to dealing with smaller, drier marsupial faecal pellets. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Dung_Beetle_Project).

The government is to be congratulated for finally banning cattle grazing in the high country. It’s not as if the area is an indispensable part of Australia’s beef production, as it is only used by a handful of families anyway. Surely we can set aside a few acres of national park to support an endangered species or two, and leave cattle grazing for more suitable regions? We don’t need to turn the entire country into a cattle pasture, especially when 30 million km2 (an area the size of Africa) have already been turned over to livestock production worldwide.

Dr. F. Bunny

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