Rise in wildlife leading to calls for Class D gun reform | Earth

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said the state’s recent pest program covered around 50 million hectares of land in the past year. Photo: Billy Jupp

The state’s wet and mild summer conditions may have benefited most growers, but they have caused a dramatic increase in wildlife numbers.

The cooler conditions provided the perfect breeding ground for vermin such as pigs and dogs.

Nationally, the number of wild pigs is estimated to have soared to 23 million, costing the agricultural sector around $100 million, while feral dogs cost land management agencies around $50 million.

The spike in pest numbers has prompted NSW Farmers chairman James Jackson to call on state and federal governments for more support.

“Farmers routinely trap over 60 pigs in a single week, it’s just a huge problem right now,” Mr Jackson said.

“While we see prices and demand for livestock remain strong, these losses will continue to bite the back pocket.”

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The calls come after the state government concluded its largest-ever pest control program that would have saved the sector $11 million in pest losses.

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said the scheme covered around 50 million hectares of land in the past year.

“We have partnered with nearly 15,000 landowners across the state to coordinate this program, making it one of, if not the largest, most collaborative pest management programs in the nation,” Mr. Saunders.

“Fall is usually the time when we see more active pests in the landscape, so we want to carry out control activities over as large an area as possible.

“Our farmers have faced so many challenges over the past few years – drought, fires, mouse plague, global pandemic and of course floods – so the last thing they need is more damage to their businesses by these vermin.”

Rising pest numbers have renewed calls from contract shooters for the state government to urgently address its Class D firearm regulations, which were introduced in 2020 and which severely limits license holders of firearms suitable for use in pest control.

Acting NSW Premier and NSW Police Minister Paul Toole said the regulations were still being reviewed.

“I continue to work closely with NSW Police and key stakeholders to explore options to ensure landowners and licensed pest controllers have the necessary weapons to control vertebrate pests like feral hogs,” Toole said. Earth.

“As part of this, I am looking for ways to create a permanent and practical solution for the approximately 500 Class D license holders who have been impacted by the 2020 NCAT decision.”

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