Why stop us?

Published: Friday 15 July 2005

These cattlemen pine for the a Cattlemen Australia

More than 500 Australian cattlemen rode on horseback to parliament in the southern Australian state of Victoria on June 9, 2005 to protest moves to stop them grazing their cattle in the country's alpine region. The herders, mythologised by Australia's poets and writers, braved heavy rains to petition against the anti-grazing moves of Victoria's lawmakers.

Mountain cattlemen have grazed their herds in the alpine mountains every summer -- when the snow melts -- for around 200 years, but the Victorian state government says the cattle's hard hooves destroy the fragile alpine environment. The government plans not to renew grazing licenses for 8,000 cattle as they expire over the next two years. But the cattlemen have a strong ally in Australia's environment and heritage minister, Ian Campbell. "No one can argue that 200 years of grazing cattle in the alpine country is anything other than a central part of the Australian heritage," Campbell said. "Banning something is a very lazy way to improve biodiversity," he argued.

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