Feral animals on the rise

Farmers are calling for practical and workable solutions to control a surging number of feral animals.

Across the state, NSW Farmers members reported an increase in the number of wild dogs and pigs, while deer were expanding their territory. Of most concern were the surging numbers of feral cats, which the CSIRO reported were responsible for 1.8 billion native animal deaths each year.

Neil Baker, a farmer in the Tweed, said there were shocking reports of livestock being attacked by feral animals.

“It’s really nasty some of the stories you hear, animals being ripped apart by predators,” Mr Baker said.

“We’re really very concerned that these pests aren’t being properly controlled by some public and private landholders, and that’s giving them safe haven to breed and grow their territory.

“The rules around controlling pest animals are clear, and it’s about time everyone was held to the same standard.”

Pest animals are a significant cost to the Australian economy, primary producers, land managers, the environment, and regional communities. 

It is estimated that management of wild dogs by individual farmers and agencies costs $50 million per year and feral pig incursions cost the Australian agricultural industry upwards of $100 million a year.

NSW Farmers Western Division Council chair Gerard Glover said there were a lot of feral cats appearing on cameras that had been set up across the region, and the expansion of deer into new areas would create headaches for motorists, but pigs and dogs remained the main concern for farmers.

“Cats and foxes typically prey on small native animals, which is a big concern, while deer present a new danger for people driving on country roads,” Mr Glover said.

“Far and away though the pigs and the dogs are the most destructive, tearing up paddocks and fences, and attacking livestock.

“In my experience you need good, co-ordinated controls that everyone sticks to, otherwise you get these population explosions and the whole problem starts again.”

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