‘Revolt on their hands’: Pig hunting laws in spotlight
FERAL pig hunting has come under scrutiny after the state government announced a review of animal welfare legislation, with hunting enthusiasts promising an uproar if restrictions are put in place.
Queenslanders have been invited to have their say on changes to the Animal Care and Protection Act, which is getting its first overhaul in two decades.
But Member for Hill Shane Knuth is warning there would be repercussions if there was blanket legislation put in place on the control of recreational pig hunting.
"If the state government decides to use this review to crack down on recreational pig hunting in regional Queensland, they will have a revolt on their hands and entire regional communities will be in uproar," he said.
He said hunters prevented "an explosion in feral pig numbers" which would devastate crops, spread disease, and destroy both the farming industry and native vegetation.
"The state government should thank recreational pig hunters for controlling feral pigs in their own time and expense, rather than even considering changing the Act to penalise this valuable community service."
Tolga farmer Wesley Costa said he was "dead against" any pig hunting restrictions as the financial impact to farmers was shocking.
"The cost of hunting is not cheap but if not kept in check they can do massive damage in a night. We're barely keeping on top of them now," he said.
"We've been farming in this area for just over 100 years, now in the past 15 years I've seen more pigs than dad remembers in his whole time."
Tuffa' Than Tusk Hunting Supplies owner Brayden Stanford agreed that pig hunting was "a necessity" to keep pig populations under control which he said saved farmers from detrimental damage to their crops.
"All your local, fresh produce is being decimated and the quantity that can be decimated in a single night is unfathomable," he said.
"I know a lot of the farmers around here personally and without us hunters, it wouldn't be very good for them."
Mr Stanford said there were far more unethical ways to kill pigs than the way experienced hunters do.
"Councils or governments are doing the 1080 baiting program, and they're non-species targeted so they don't just target wild pigs … all it takes is a bird to pick it up and drop it somewhere else, it's a chain effect," he said.
"We stand pretty firmly in the belief that we're having a massive impact in keeping the pigs under control," he said.
The RSPCA - which is opposed to recreational hunting "due to the inherent and inevitable pain and suffering caused" - has welcomed the review into animal welfare regulations.
"It's been 20 years since the Act was introduced and we believe there are a number of areas where it could be improved, leading to better animal welfare outcomes all round," RSPCA Qld Chief Inspector Daniel Young said.
The review of the Act will assess 1080 baiting, transporting dogs on leashes, and requiring that vets report animal welfare concerns.
Originally published as 'Revolt on their hands': Pig hunting laws in spotlight