CALL FOR CRACKDOWN ON FERALS
Herald Sun (26-09-05)
Federal Government will be asked to create a
national body to supervise the eradication of
Australia's feral animals.
The recommendation is a key finding of an 18-month
parliamentary inquiry into how to rid the nation of
millions of introduced pests including rabbits,
donkeys, camels, pigs and foxes.
The House of Representatives agriculture committee
has received more than 100 submissions on how to
deal with the imported species.
Liberal MP Alby Schultz, who chairs the committee,
said the inquiry report was still being written but
it would urge the government to set up a body to
coordinate efforts by the states.
"All of the evidence that the committee took pointed
very much to the need for that," Mr Schultz said.
The national focus should be on eliminating exotic
animals, rather than just controlling their numbers,
Mr Schultz said.
"I'd be very surprised if the committee didn't agree
we should be looking at eradication for exotic
animal species that are creating huge impacts on our
native fauna," he said.
Another recommendation would be establishing a
national database to monitor pest animal numbers and
record progress in control programs.
Feral animals remain a big threat to Australia's
ecosystems, preying on native species and damaging
native landscapes, as well as causing major problems
for agricultural production.
The CSIRO says rabbits alone cost Australia $115
million every year in lost wool production, while
European foxes - introduced for hunting - cost
between $500 million and $750 million a year to
Wild pigs cost farmers about $100 million a year in
lost production while every mouse plague costs
producers an estimated $200 million.
The parliamentary committee received some radical
That included a suggestion from animal welfare
organisation Animals Australia that natural
selection should be allowed to take its course,
leaving native animals to fight for survival against
the introduced pests.
"Species which are here to stay because we have made
this place such an ideal habitat for them must be
permitted to settle into their new niches and
stabilise their populations with a minimum of human
interference," the submission says.
Mr Schultz said that idea was dismissed by the
"We didn't give any weight to suggestions like that
because that's way outside the charter of common
sense," he said.
"Just because we introduced exotic species into this
country, we can't accept the reality that those
species are just part of the landscape.
"Our own native fauna are disappearing because of
The committee was also likely to recommend the
continued use of the controversial poison 1080 to
control feral animals.
Animal welfare organisations say the potent poison
causes animals terrible suffering before they die.
But Mr Schultz indicated the committee would
recommend further use of 1080 while research
continued into alternatives.
"We've got to move away from the emotive side of
things and come up with sensible solutions, working
across all jurisdictions to control the problem," he
The committee's report will be tabled in parliament
in late October or early November.