The Australian Pig Doggers and Hunters Association (APDHA) has congratulated deputy mayor Stephen Lawrence for his support of pig dogging.
APDHA National Vice President Ned Makim said a ban on pig dogging would directly threaten a national African Swine Fever early warning strategy designed to link hunters, domestic pork producers and government agencies from coast to coast,
Cr Lawrence recently slammed shadow treasurer Walt Secord's call for a ban on pig dogging.
Mr Makim said Mr Secord's call was, at best, an ill-considered headline grab which had the potential to do real harm to Australia's Biosecurity.
"Mr Lawrence's response displays a greater understanding of the pressure under which our primary producers are operating and the contribution legal, ethical hunters can make to the community," he said.
"Pig hunters, through APDHA, have been instrumental in bringing together a national awareness campaign on the threat posed by African Swine Fever which has already reached East Timor.
"The APDHA is also partnering with the Northern Territory's Department of Primary Industry and Resources and Australian Pork Ltd to develop a wild pig population sampling program to flag any incursion of AFS through the northern wetlands."
Mr Makim said the APDHA represent thousands of legal, ethical hunters who fully support a proactive stance on African Swine Fever.
"Indeed our quick movement to organise representatives to undergo wildlife disease investigation training under the direction of the NT's DPI and R Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Group has demonstrated the commitment of pig hunters to support their communities against this genuine disease threat," he said.
"Why, at this crucial time, would anyone be seeking to eliminate a key group in the nation's Biosecurity strategy?"
Mr Makim said the timing of Mr Secord's attack on legal hunters indicated he either did not know anything about the African Swine Fever threat or did not care.
"Either way, it's a bizarre position for an MP to take."
Mr Makim said the APDHA was also in the process of calling a meeting of all hunting organisations to expand the field surveillance potential of the hunting community further.
He said the Association was already deeply engaged in the Queensland government and industry response to the ASF threat and had received the backing of Federal Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie for the organisation's National awareness campaign.
He said pig dogging was a significant contributor to the economy through its roles in the management of a serious pest species and the financial outlay by professional and part-time hunters on equipment, fuel and vehicles.
"It's also an essential tool in the range of methods available to control feral pig numbers. As soon as you seek to eliminate one of the options for pig management at the disposal of private and public landholders and managers, you weaken the entire strategy," Mr Makim said.
"We understand some sectors of the community can find pig dogging challenging. That's why we continue to work with governments and industry groups Australia-wide to make sure what we are doing meets all legal requirements, particularly concerning animal welfare.
"I just can't understand Mr Secord's motivation to launch such an emotive and bigoted attack on legal hunters, especially at a time they were working to defend not only our natural environment but the domestic pork industry as well."
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