The VFF is concerned the decision by the Victorian Government to dissolve the Wild Dog Ministerial Advisory Committee will expose farmers to the threats of wild dogs.
VFF Livestock Group councillor Peter Star said the decision to discontinue the committee could undo years of progress towards controlling wild dogs and could expose Victoria’s livestock industries to costly damages.
“The Wild Dog Committee demonstrated the government was serious about controlling the threat of wild dogs and allowed farmers to have a voice in the matter,” Mr Star said.
“Wild dogs pose a significant threat to the Victorian livestock industry and cost an estimated $18 million dollars each year.
“They murder and maim native and endangered species, damage the environment, hunt livestock and pose a serious animal welfare threat to the animals they attack which is an enormous headache for farmers, particularly in the high country.”
Mr Star said the VFF was committed to ensuring the continuation of aerial baiting despite the closure of the Wild Dog Ministerial Advisory Committee.
“Aerial baiting is a vital wild dog control measure and research shows that it is also extremely effective for controlling foxes, which not only attack lambs but also kill native wildlife,” Mr Star said.
“The VFF will be lobbying the government to ensure aerial baiting continues as part of an integrated wild dog management program to protect Victorian sheep producers and native fauna.”
The VFF said it was prepared to provide the opportunity for landholder and industry input on wild dog management created by the loss of the committee and would work with relevant departments to achieve effective wild dog management outcomes.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes’ decision would have devastating consequences for landholders.
“Jaclyn Symes’ decision to disband this committee means there’s no dedicated voice for wild dog control in Victoria, despite the ongoing threat these invasive pest animals have on livestock,” Mr Walsh said.
“Labor’s more interested in protecting itself against losing city votes to the Greens than it is the welfare of livestock and our landholders.”