Written by Jessica Goddard
The peak wool body of Queensland ‘WoolProducers’ has last week released a National Wild Dog Action Plan which it states “will guide the implementation of a nationally-agreed framework for a strategic and risk-based approach to wild dog management; emphasising humane, safe and effective management techniques and appropriate scales for mitigating the impacts of wild dogs”.
‘The Plan’ has been endorsed by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and supported with a government grant of $280,000. This grant is additional to a $10,000,000 ‘pest eradication’ pledge as part of the drought package also supplied by the Federal Government. At the launch of ‘The Plan’ Barnaby Joyce was quoted as stating that “A lot of that [$10 million] will go into bait and baiting programs”.
‘The Plan’ is primarily ‘livestock-focused’, but encompasses the impact of wild dog attacks on livestock producers, native fauna/animals and the livestock cattle/sheep industries. The definition of a ‘wild dog’ can vary from state to state in Australia but for the purposes of ‘The Plan’ is “All wild-living dogs, which include dingoes, feral dogs and their hybrids.”
As dingoes are considered a native species and are subject to varying levels of legislative protection state-to-state; it is expected that the Plan will make provision for engagement with dingo preservation/conservation and Indigenous groups.
Although there is yet to be consultation with Animal Welfare groups, they are listed as one of the many stakeholders to be consulted during the initial 5 year implementation and evaluation of ‘The Plan’. The stakeholder advisory group will be established in July 2014.
As it stands- ‘The Plan’ acknowledges [that] “Animal welfare is a key consideration in Wild Dog Management” and that “The Plan considers the welfare of both the predator (by promoting appropriate humane destruction of wild dogs) and the livestock prey (where prey are harassed, wounded or maimed).”
Currently there is no established wild dog populace in Tasmania (dingoes have never colonised the state) but it is a pertinent issue according to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and the Environment Autumn 2014 Newsletter: “While Tasmania has been fortunate not to have significant problems with wild dogs, small packs have been infrequently identified in some remote and isolated locations.” The Department’ website also notes that “Wild dogs have been implicated in the decline of several native species on mainland Australia but studies have also shown positive impacts in controlling invasive animals such as foxes and rabbits.“
The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment also makes reference to the release of the National Wild Dog Action Plan and as such – the Tasmanian community would likely be impacted by the development of National wild dog control guidelines.