21 Jul FERAL PIGS PROVE TO BE GREATEST FMD RISK: KAP
Katter’s Australian Party MPs are calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to immediately abandon its plans to ban a popular poison used on feral pig populations after a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) scare in Victoria on Wednesday.
Based on “animal welfare” grounds, the State Labor Government has signalled its intention to outlaw the use of yellow phosphorus– referred to as CSSP – in its Animal Care and Protection Amendment Bill 2022.
The Bill could come before the Parliament as soon as mid-August, meaning CSSP could be taken out of the State’s the feral pig-fighting repertoire within weeks.
FMD fragments were on Wednesday detected in meat brought into Melbourne from overseas.
A leading veterinarian told the ABC the biosecurity breach would only pose a risk to Australia’s agriculture sector if the infected meat was consumed by animals, and the most likely culprit would be pigs which “eat anything”.
All the more reason to be doing more to eradicate the nation’s feral pig population, not less, KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.
“Given the events of Wednesday where illegally imported meat products were found to contain FMD in Melbourne, the risk of this disease spreading to live animal populations has never been greater,” 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 and which are then consumed by pigs; that could lead to an outbreak.”
Mr Katter said Queensland was already failing to control its feral pig population, and now was not the time to reduce the number of tools available to manage the issue.
“We are calling on the Government to place an at least two-year delay on the plans it has to ban CSSP in Queensland,” he said.
“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.
“Should this disease find its way into Australia, it is very likely pigs with be amongst greatest vectors so there has never been a more pertinent time to get on top of our feral pig problem.”
KAP Hill MP Shane Knuth said the outbreak of FMD 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 weed; 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,” he said.
“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 to access grants to combat feral pigs, and provide more funds to aerial shooting.”
Mr Knuth said that it was estimated that 8.25 per cent of Queensland was designed national parks, or about 14.2 million hectares.
He 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 aerial shooting,” Mr Knuth said.
“An Australian Pork report revealed that every year you have to cull 70 per cent of the feral pig population to stop figures from increasing, so why can’t the Government see the risk they pose?”
Photo caption: Shane Knuth MP and Robbie Katter MP.