Rural Qld under attack from Labor’s review
Rural Qld under attack from Labor’s review
A SHAKE-UP of Queensland’s animal welfare laws could have potentially disastrous consequences for pest management in Hinchinbrook, says local MP Nick Dametto.
Announced by Agriculture Minister Mark Furner, the major review of Queensland’s Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 will look at several aspects including the use of baits and traps and unrestrained dogs in open utility vehicles and trucks.
Mr Dametto said baits, traps and hunting dogs were all necessary to combat a rampant feral pig population in Hinchinbrook.
“The State Labor Government has seen fit to lock up our National Parks and let vermin breed and spread in there, which has spilled out onto neighbouring properties and leaves landowners with little choice but to take action,” he said.
“Aside from the use of baits and traps, the fact the government is even considering banning unrestrained dogs in vehicles like utes is just ridiculous. Hunters will often, at a slow speed, let their dogs jump off their ute when they sight a feral pig on a property. This is a common practice in the industry that is needed to combat feral animals. In addition to that, many hunters already have secure cages for their dogs while they are in transit and shouldn’t be made to put them on a leash as well. It’s madness.”
Mr Dametto said the RSPCA, who is working with Labor on the review, clearly misunderstood the realities of living in rural Queensland when it came to dealing with animals.
“I was very concerned to hear RSPCA lawyer Tracey Jackson’s comments in a recent radio interview that there are farming and industry practices which the community does not think are acceptable anymore,” he said.
“You have to wonder to which practices is the RSCPA referring to, and exactly which community thinks these are unacceptable? No-one I’ve spoken to in my electorate has ever raised concerns.
“Hunting dogs are an important part of feral pest management on properties, including farms. They are trained well and lovingly cared for by their owners. While there’s no specific mention of them in the Review’s Discussion Paper, it doesn’t stop the government seriously considering a ban on them and the recent language from the RSPCA worries me.
“Animal activists should not be dictating changes to the Animal Care and Protection Act based on how they feel about something. Facts should always be leading this discussion.”
Mr Dametto said feral pig hunting was “not glamourous or cuddly” but was a necessary job in rural and regional Queensland, as was the use of 1080 bait and traps.
“I think this crackdown is just another spit in the face of our farmers and hunters who have for years faced a continual assault on what they do by an unchecked and overzealous bureaucracy, coupled with a lack of investment by government in feral pig management on private and state-owned land,” he said.
Traeger MP Robbie Katter said alarm bells began ringing last month when the RSPCA successfully prosecuted a case of “animal cruelty” involving a woman who filmed “her two dogs (biting) and (holding) a feral pig”.
The woman, who in 2018 was on a property north of Kingsthorpe clearing out feral pigs at the request of the landowner, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully allowing an animal to injure another animal over the incident.
She was fined $5000, setting a sensational legal precedent that could have significant impacts on the state’s hunting sector.
Mr Dametto said the incident served as a reminder to people not to publicise where they hunt or how they do it on social media.
“There are activists and extremists looking for any excuse to stop pig hunting with dogs from happening simply because they don’t understand our lifestyle and want to apply their warped ideology of animal welfare to hunting practices they don’t agree with. People shouldn’t give them the ammunition by posting their hunting adventures online,” he said.
Mr Katter said instead of targeting hunters, the RSPCA should be lobbying the State Government to address Queensland’s chronically-high numbers of feral pigs, dogs and cats that each year decimate native wildlife populations including kangaroos, cassowaries, emus and turtles.
Rural and regional parts of Queensland are disproportionately adversely affected by such pest species, with up to an estimated five million feral pigs living in North Queensland alone.
“Rural councils have been waiting for more than a year to get some clarity on the future supply of 1080, which is an absolutely crucial tool in managing wild dog populations,” Mr Katter said.
“Left unmitigated, these dogs decimate native fauna populations and cause terrible loss and suffering with livestock.
“It seems the writing is now on the wall for what the Government’s plans are in this regard.”
Queenslanders can make a submission to the review up until Friday May 21, 2021, and should visit biosecurity.qld.gov.au and search for ‘ACPA review’ to complete the survey or submit a written response.
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