Attacks by wild dogs costing millions

A NEW report outlines how wild dogs continue to cost Australian farmers millions of dollars.

The report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences points out the economic costs as well as the social and environmental costs of wild dog attacks and prevalence of the pests.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said it was an integrated assessment of wild dogs around the nation.

“This is the first time that any research has examined the full impact of wild dogs in Australia — the economic, social and environmental costs,” Mr Joyce said.

“I know farmers are frustrated by wild dog attacks and it’s not just the monetary costs associated with them.

“It’s also about protecting the livestock which they have put their heart and soul into nurturing and raising.

“Even the ongoing threat of attack drives farmers to despair and makes them feel helpless in protecting their land that they and generations before them have worked hard to farm.”

Mr Joyce said a co-ordinated on-the-ground effort was needed.

“The challenge facing government is to implement policies and programs that support co-ordinated wild dog management, but to do this in a way that does not compromise investments that farmers have already made in local wild dog control.

“The government will continue working with state and territory governments, industry groups and research bodies to ensure we are helping farmers now and into the future to combat this problem.”

The study looked at three case-study areas in different parts of Australia to evaluate the impact of wild dog management strategies.

Mr Joyce said a south-western Queensland case study found the absence of wild dog management strategies could potentially cost the livestock market up to $54 million over 20 years.

That is in an area which accounts for 23 per cent of the state’s sheep and 4 per cent of the state’s cattle.

“While the report paints a dire picture of the scale of the wild dog problem, it also provides us with a strong platform to devise better strategies to tackle this issue,” he said.