OPINION: Pest issue needs action

By Mitchell Clapham
Chair Conservation Resource Management Committee

WILD dogs continue to be a huge concern for many across the state. What we generally once saw as a geographically isolated issue that seemed to escalate from time to time in certain areas is now becoming more widespread and many areas are feeling the impact.

Wild dogs of course are not the only pest animal that continues to plague farmers. Pests, not unlike weeds, know no boundaries and continue to be extremely destructive to not only farm productivity and biosecurity efforts, but carry serious environmental risks.

Then there is the animal welfare impact, which cannot be overstated. The inhumanity of a lambing ewe that is subjected to a wild dog attack is unimaginable. This is the stark and horrific reality that affected landholders have to live with, sometimes on a daily basis.

This is why it is particularly galling and insulting to see comments from political representatives of the Animal
Justice Party who assert that wild dogs should be “looked after the same way we look after fluffy dogs”.

Thankfully the coalition government knows better, and has listened to our points on this issue and committed to a strategic review of pest animals across the state.

The review itself, if it is to be truly successful, will need to take a serious look at the major issues surrounding roles and responsibilities,accountabilities and communications strategies for pest animal management in NSW.

The main issues that need to be canvassed from a NSW Farmers’ point of view includes issues of tenure where there are separate rules for different types of landholders such as public and private landholders.

Certainly the issue of maximising efficiencies and co-ordination across pest species should also be looked at closely.

We have a dog issue, but we also have issues with feral pigs, deer, foxes, rabbits and plague numbers of kangaroos in the Western Division, to name a few.

On this last point alone, the Office of Environment and Heritage estimates there are roughly 13.5 million kangaroos in NSW.

We have a population of 7.5m people in the state of NSW, so that’s roughly two kangaroos to every human in the state.

There is no doubt better coordination and strategic approach to pest animals can be achieved to reduce the impact of these pests. We look forward to the government progressing this issue as soon as possible.

NSW Farmers View, The Land, Published 30 April 2015

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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