Change needed for wild dog baits

24 Jan, 2013 03:00 AM
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PRODUCERS are calling for the implementation of on-site injection of fresh meat baits across Gippsland and the North East, to help in the fight against wild dogs.

Victorian Farmers Federation Land Management Committee member Peter Star said the current fresh meats on offer were only available from two operators in Victoria.

"The baits are not even particularly fresh in the true sense, so they can be unattractive to cunning wild dogs," he said.

"For a group of producers it makes more sense to have a qualified person come out and inject fresh donated meat as and when needed, rather than having to buy processed meat baits from a factory."

Mr Star said on-site poison injection was a more economical way of ground baiting, and considered national best practice.

National Wild Dog facilitator Greg Misfud said on-site bait injection would bring back the community engagement perspective of wild dog control.

"In other parts of the country, injection of 1080 baits occurs on-site in the field," he said.

"It varies from place to place, but in most States, accredited licensed officers from a statutory authority or government run the programs.

"It is also done in an environment considered safe for the use of 1080, with plenty of water available for wash-down and away from dwellings to minimise risk to domestic dogs."

Mr Misfud said while he was sure the quality of fresh meat baits was exceptional in Victoria, on-site injection encouraged participation in the program.

"It is a community perception and producers would have a bit more confidence in baits if they were involved in the making of them," he said.

"In the past Victorian landholders got together and produced the meat baits, which fosters greater participation and brings community spirit back to the program.

"It also gives the opportunity for people to come to the one area to talk about best practice and provide information on how to use baits as effectively as possible."

North East producer Noel Cheshire has been advocating for locally made fresh meat baits for a number of years and said the current manufactured baits were not suitable for wild dogs.

"They have too much human scent, that is the biggest problem we have, and they are not natural," he said.

"If we could get fresh meat baits locally, we could use our own meat with no human scent on it – human scent is the biggest detractor for dogs."

Mr Cheshire said there had been a lot of support from Gippsland and the North East to implement on-site injection for their baits and the fight against wild dogs needs to be driven from farmer up, rather than the government down.

"A lot of the meat baits we get are about 20 hours old – they smell, they are covered in blue dye and no dog in his right mind would eat it," he said.

"When we used to poison rabbits with 1080 bait, the dogs would come along and eat them and we would get a secondary poisoning, because there was no human scent on the dead rabbits.

"People have meat that can be utilised at the optimum time, injected, and put out more easily and more naturally than the manufactured baits.

"It would go a long way to controlling wild dogs."

However Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said fresh meat bait production was a commercial enterprise.

"Meat bait suppliers are commercial businesses," he said.

"If others wanted to seek a licence and enter the market, that would be a commercial decision for individuals to make."

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