27 July, 2022
Action on feral pigs needed in face of FMD
CALLS have been made for the Queensland Government to abandon its plan to outlaw a poison used to cull feral pig populations as fears of a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak rise across the country.
The State Government could outlaw the use of yellow phosphorus, referred to as CSSP, as early as mid-August, taking the poison out of the feral fig-fighting repertoire, prompting Katter’s Australian Party to call for the ban to be postponed.
KAP leader Robbie Katter wants the government to place an at least two-year delay on its plans to ban CSSP use.
“As a tool in the fight against feral pests, it is a necessary evil at this point given the threat posed to our entire country by FMD,” he said.
“All it would take is for infected meat to be innocently put in a farm compost bin or people have a barbecue in the bush and leave meat scraps which are then consumed by pigs – that could lead to an outbreak.
“Should this disease find its way into Australia, it is very likely pigs will be amongst the greatest vectors so there has never been a more pertinent time to get on top of our feral pig problem.”
Member for Shane Knuth said the outbreak of the disease in Bali and Indonesia was a wake-up call to State and Federal Governments, both of which had procrastinated on taking action on feral pigs.
“Pigs carry, spread and transfer many diseases including noxious weeds,” he said.
“With the pig population reaching up to 25 million in Australia, the concern is that this would accelerate the spread of FMD, causing devastation to our beef and dairy industries.
“The steps needed beyond abandoning the CSSP ban are to give feral pig hunters permits to access National Parks and State Forests, introduce a bounty program, give farmers access to grants to combat feral pigs, and provide more funds for aerial shooting.”
Mr Knuth said a massive number of feral pigs use these State-protected areas for breeding before entering private land where they destroy millions of dollars’ worth of agriculture as well as waterways and native flora and fauna each year.
“The risk of them spreading FMD is huge which is why we keep calling on the government to back recreational pig hunters and aerials shootings,” he said.
Atherton maize farmer Jeff Reisen said boar buster traps, bounty programs and more funding for recreational pig hunters was desperately needed.
“Last year about 186 feral pigs were caught on my 250 acres block of land here in Atherton.
I only farm on about 50 acres of it as the rest is vegetation,” Mr Reisen said.
“Back when I was a kid there use to be bounty programs which were very effective.
“Now, there are no incentives and we have gotten millions of dollars’ worth of pig damage.
In the past our property has had so much damage I thought about stopping farming.
“But after the trial of boar buster traps, last year, I didn’t have any damage from pigs this year.
This proves that these sorts of solutions work.
“If Foot and Mouth Disease were to be detected in Australia it will mean my career in farming is completely gone.
“I run cattle and the crops I grow are for cattle.
It would completely crush my lively hood along with the goat, pig, beef and dairy industry if this disease was to hit Australia.”