Monday, December 30, 2013

Saving Australia's brumbies

Beautiful brumbies.

So SAT is all about small animals, typically dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, mice, birds, reptiles - species you might happily accommodate in your home. 

But the term "small animal" is often used to refer to a companion animal, and that term can be used to apply to any species one has a bond with, even if it doesn't sleep on the end of the bed. As a small animal veterinarian, one thing I continue to miss from vet school is the compulsory farm placements. It was enforced exposure to a rural lifestyle and more than that, an opportunity to work with different species. 

But some people, like feline specialist Dr Andrea Harvey, have the best of both worlds. Aside from being an expert at working with cats, she is a keen horsewoman in her spare time.

When she learned about the plight of Australian brumbies (often treated as vermin - read more here) she decided she would adopt one for the farm. Then it became two. Once she met Jan Carter from savethebrumbies.org and was introduced to the brumbies, that figure shot up to three.
Left to right: Hero, Sonic and James Brown.
Hero, Sonic and James Brown were transported to the farm and took to it like ducks to water. I expected brumbies to be wild, flighty, uncontrollable, rearing, kicking creatures. But they were gentle, sweet, affectionate and absolutely in love with Andrea.

Sonic and James Brown hang out with Thorn (the pony) and some ruminants, awaiting a morning carrot.
Hero peers over the fence. I suspect if you let him he would walk right into the house and sit on your couch.
I rediscovered the recharging impact of equine company. If you aren't in a position to get out and see some horses now and then, I thoroughly recommend the book Brumby (available here), or you can read more about brumby rescue on the related website. Sonic and James Brown are mentioned in the book, as are many other rescued brumbies.

Hero enjoys a salt lick while James Brown is lead gently around the yards.
And if you do have a spare few acres of horse-friendly land, and some time to handle these guys gently and regularly, there are plenty of brumbies in need of forever homes.

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