VICTORIA’S peak farmer lobby has won state government support for a four-year extension of the $10 fox bounty and funding for twice yearly aerial baiting of wild dogs.
Last year’s State Budget committed funding for just one year of the $10 fox bounty, prompting the Victorian Farmers Federation to call for a longer-term commitment.
“We’re glad to see that in this year’s Budget Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has extended the fox bounty for another four years,” VFF Livestock president Ian Feldtmann said.
“Producers have an ongoing battle with foxes attacking new-born lambs; this bounty will help farmers and professional shooters reduce the impact of this menace.”
Mr Feldtmann said the government’s commitment to spring and autumn aerial baiting of wild dogs was another great win for the VFF.
“Our members in the High Country have been campaigning for targeted aerial baiting for years,” Mr Feldtmann said.
VFF wild dog spokesperson Peter Star said the government’s plans for aerial baiting in spring and autumn would target wild dogs during crucial breeding periods.
“It’s been a long battle to get aerial baiting in this state, and the government’s initial efforts have been much appreciated,” Mr Star said. “But more work in more areas is welcome news.”
Mr Feldtmann said wild dog attacks were not only cruel, but reduced the ability of producers to run livestock in the north east of the state and East Gippsland.
“Aerial baiting is crucial to controlling wild dogs in remote and inaccessible breeding areas; otherwise we just end up hitting them on the periphery of these areas, not hitting at the heart of the problem,” Mr Feldtmann said.
“Farmers and their communities need aerial baiting in combination with community ground baiting programs to control these pests.”
Mr Star said the VFF would still like to see the government re-instate the $100 wild dog bounty, given 587 pelts were claimed in 2013-14, which was on top of the 480 dogs caught by the government’s own dog men. “I still don’t understand why the Government got rid of the wild dog bounty last year, given it cost very little and resulted in so many dogs been shot out of the High Country.”
Mr Feldtmann said aerial baiting not only benefits farmers, but also helped native fauna, such as quolls, which are under threat from wild dogs.
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