Warwick residents back bat cull

AS the family of Dusty – the first dog to be diagnosed with the Hendra virus – waited with bated breath to find out if they would be forced to put him down yesterday, the flying fox debate once again took flight in Warwick.

The dog’s fate was relying on the result of a second test to see how many Hendra anti-bodies were in his system.

When the Daily News hit the street to find out what the public thought should happen to the dog, it was divided 50/50.

But every person quizzed brought up their views of flying foxes – with most in favour of a cull.

Kelly Thompson of Warwick thought Dusty should go into quarantine and then back to its home with the Fearon family.

“I am madder about the fact that they are not doing anything with the flying foxes,” she said. “If they took care of that then we wouldn’t be having this problem.”

Other locals echoed her calls for the bats to be dealt with despite the government still maintaining a cull was not answer.

Earlier this week, Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Ron Bellingham said they needed to further investigate whether or not council would apply for damage mitigation permits to humanely disperse Warwick’s flying fox roosts.

“There still clearly appears to be a very extensive range of requirements that council is going to have to satisfy before being able to act in any way to disperse flying fox colonies,” he said.

Council had requested further information and would discuss the issue at a special Meeting on Monday.

Ms Bligh said the government would act on the best available science in managing the Hendra virus.

“One thing I know is that this government will not experiment with people’s lives. There is a lot that we do not know about the Hendra disease but all the evidence we have points to the risk that moving on bats will spread the disease,” she said.

Chief vet Rick Symons said there were two reasons why scientists believed culling or dispersing flying foxes wasn’t the answer.

“Firstly moving the bats simply moves the problem and potentially makes the problem more widespread,” he said.

“What’s more, there is evidence that stressed bats secrete more Hendra virus and we don’t want to risk that.

“Biosecurity Queensland’s advice to the government is that culling or dispersing flying foxes would be counterproductive in reducing Hendra virus cases.”

Biosecurity Queensland and the Queensland Horse Council will host an information session in Warwick on the Hendra virus and answer questions from horse owners and people in the industry.

 

Information session

  • Monday August 1
  • 6.30pm – 9pm
  • Warwick Golf Club, Hawker Rd

Guest speakers

  • Dr Fiona Thompson from Biosecurity Queensland
  • Debra Dekker from Queensland Horse Council


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