Animal activists should celebrate the construction of 4,000 kilometres of fencing as a front-line measure to combat vicious and fatal attacks on sheep, cattle and native animals.
Bitten, disembowelled, maimed, and eventual long and suffering deaths. This is the reality faced by landholders every day in Southwest Queensland as their stock are succumbed to wild dog attacks. Killing frenzies are common place where whole flocks of sheep are killed or mauled for no other reason than killer instincts.
Health and welfare consequences to animals are also caused by increased stress and vulnerability. This leads to weight loss, disease susceptibility, low fertility and miscarriage, and weakness making them an even easier target. This isn’t just the case for stock, but native animals too.
Wild dogs have a varied diet of livestock, kangaroos and wallabies, rabbits, koalas, bandicoots, possums and mice, as well as birds, reptiles, insects and plants. But wild dogs are not just killing for food, they are killing for fun. Called ‘surplus killing’, it is a common behaviour of many predators including our beloved domestic cat who kill wildlife not because they need to eat, but because it is innate predator behaviour.
South West NRM, a regional natural resource group, is taking the lead on this issue – not with social media, but with a real tactical front-line approach using fencing to bring wild dog numbers under control. South West NRM Chair and Wild Dog Commissioner, Mark O’Brien is strongly advocating for recognition of the issues and support for the solutions.
Mr O’Brien argues “whether you eat beef and mutton - or don’t, or have a love for Australian wildlife, everyone who has something to say about animal welfare should be advocating for the war against wild dogs”.
“Wild dog numbers are out of control. Populations are not in natural balance. Attacks and impacts have already brought the sheep industry to its knees in Southwest Queensland.
“It is very distressing for landholders to witness the suffering of their stock. The economic burden is not just from a loss of production, but expenditure on ineffective wild dog control measures. They are finding it very hard to get on top of the problem with traditional control approaches.
“Innovative pest fencing allows landholders to work in collaboration to build barriers to roaming wild dogs and start to have an impact with control efforts targeting reinfestation. Bringing wild dog numbers in check will be a huge win for animal welfare for our stock and native animals.
“The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy,” Mr O’Brien said.
Prepared by Liz Todd, media consultant, 0457 831 512, firstname.lastname@example.org
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