The ACT Brumbies Super Rugby team has shocked the rugby world after deciding to change its name to the ACT Feral Horses. The club made the sudden call after realising that the word Brumby romanticises one of the most destructive feral animals in Australia.
“The ACT Super Rugby franchise will now be known as the ACT Feral Horses,” began a statement from the club.
“The word Brumby carries a romanticised ideal of a destructive feral pest which is causing enormous damage to Australia’s environment, especially in the alpine national parks which lie just a short drive from the ACT. For that reason, the club has decided to apply a name which more accurately depicts our mascot.”
Conservationists and scientists throughout Australia have long been calling for the eradication of feral horses from alpine regions, especially the NSW section of Kosciuszko National Park. However, strong lobbying from a small group of conservative politicians, farmers and people running horse-related businesses in the park has succeeded in preventing the eradication.
“When the ACT Super Rugby franchise was established in 1996, we were unaware of the harm Brumbies were causing to the natural environment. We only knew of the Brumby as a tough, rugged, free-spirited, resilient animal, whose attributes reflected the attributes we want in our own players.
However, we now know they are causing the destruction of areas which many of our players, officials and supporters love to visit. The snowy mountains are just a short drive from the ACT and many within the ACT rugby family want to see these areas protected.”
The name change also means that a percentage of ticket sales, membership and merchandise sales will be donated to organisations working to eradicate the feral horses.
Fans erupted on social media at the news.
Some slammed the club for pandering to the wishes of bleeding heart greenies and saw the move as excessive political correctness. Many denied the claims of environmentalists about the extent of the damage feral horses are causing the alpine regions, and said they ‘reject the science’.
One feared the club would simply become known as the ‘Ferals’, to which another supporter replied:
“Well, have you seen what goes on at rugby clubs?”
A number of members threatened to cancel their membership, and one went as far as saying he would now support the Waratahs.
In contrast, various members and supporters endorsed the change, arguing that naming a mascot after a destructive pest helps to create an unrealistic image of the horses, which are the only feral species in Australia which is protected by law. Other supporters said the team could always choose another animal as its mascot, and that protecting the national park was more important than giving a football team a nice name.
The club also explained that it would consider changing its name back to the ACT Brumbies once every single feral horse is removed from the park.
“This would allow us to acknowledge one small piece of Australian history, and to honour the remaining animals which are able to be rehomed on private properties where they can live out their lives in peace.”
Image: Sitthixay Ditthavong