Northern Territory cattle producers say wild dogs have become a major economic and animal welfare issue for their industry.
An estimated 60,000 calves and young weaners were killed directly or were maimed and died of secondary wounds and infection after dog attacks during 2011-2012 at a cost of $80 million, the NT Cattlemen’s Association estimates.
There are also growing concerns about human health and safety issues, following recent reports of dog attacks on people camping in national parks.
NTCA president David Warriner said that apart from the economic loss, the wild dog attacks caused unacceptable animal suffering and loss and were a major animal welfare issue.
“The wounds to the animals by wild dog attacks are quite shocking, and calves and weaners are dying painful deaths,” Mr Warriner said.
“We are also very concerned that the unacceptably high numbers of wild dogs presents a significant bio security risk and threat to wildlife and bio diversity. Were the unthinkable to occur and rabies were to travel from the Indonesian archipelago through PGN and the Torres Strait to Australia, the naturalised wild dog population would make eradication near on impossible.”
Mr Warriner said the attacks on campers in the Kakadu National Park were particularly concerning and were a consequence of the lack of resolution on how to control wild dog numbers in national parks.