Call to ban cruel ‘blood sport’ in Far North
ANIMAL activists want pig dogging banned in Queensland, claiming the "blood sport" is cruel to dogs and feral pigs.
Sydney-based group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a campaign this week encouraging the public to write to Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner, urging him to take immediate action to ban pig dogging.
PETA outreach and partnerships manager Emily Rice said pig dogging - using dogs to hunt and pin down feral pigs - was "insanely cruel" for all animals involved.
"Terrified pigs are savaged and sometimes even mauled to death by training dogs, if not found quickly by the hunter, who then stabs or shoots them," she said.
"The dogs are also often hurt after facing pigs, much larger than themselves."
She said trapping and then euthanising was one of the most effective, humane and environmentally friendly techniques for reducing feral pig numbers in the Far North.
"Instead of allowing hunters to torment and torture animals in some misguided idea of conservation, the government must fund programs to address the problem without causing so much suffering to both pigs and dogs," she said.
"Making a sport out of the slow and painful deaths of animals is abhorrent."
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries estimates there are up to six million pigs statewide, with the majority in northern Queensland.
Innisfail-based banana farmer Jonny Filby said pig dogging was the most efficient and cost-effective method of controlling feral pigs on his 181ha property, with the animals causing thousands of dollars of damage to his farm each year.
"I can go out with my dogs on my farm tonight and get 10 pigs in one night," he said.
"If I set a trap, I might get just one."
He said many farmers would be willing to use more traps if feral pig control programs were better funded by the State Government.
However, he warned the invasive animals were very intelligent and trapping them was a challenge.
"If one gets caught in a trap, the other pigs know what that metal box does," he said. "You won't get those other four."
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner says landholders are legally obliged to manage the impact of feral pigs on their properties, but the animals' welfare must be considered and feral pig control practices must comply with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
"Under the Act, people can use dogs to hunt feral pigs provided it is done in a way that causes the animals as little pain as is reasonable," he said.