Legislative Council: Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Feral Animal Control

287 The Hon. S.L. GAME ().6 July 2023). Can the Department of Primary Industries explain their endorsement for shotguns being used to cull animals as safe practice, but not their use for hunting practices?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I am advised:

Feral animals, such as goats, pigs and deer are agricultural and environmental pests, and cause severe impacts to our state's agricultural productivity and precious biodiversity.

Shotguns are specifically endorsed in national codes of practice and standard operating procedures for the aerial culling of goats, pigs and deer in Australia, and are routinely used for aerial culling of these pests in New Zealand.

Recent research published in the internationally recognised scientific journal NeoBiota, led by researchers from Flinders University, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, regional Landscape Boards, SA Health and retired veterinarians, demonstrated that when used in this way, shotguns improve animal welfare outcomes and increase efficiency of aerial culling operations for feral deer.

A key difference between ground-based recreational hunting and aerial culling, which is conducted by accredited and experienced pest animal control professionals, is that in aerial culling short distances are maintained by the pilot of the helicopter between the marksman and the target animal. This eliminates the possibility that the target animal may be wounded and escape. A minimum of two shots are used to ensure rapid and humane destruction of every target animal before moving on.

In a recreational hunting context, the short range of a shotgun poses animal welfare concerns for larger game species, since an animal could be hit by an inaccurate or inexperienced hunter, or one using inadequate equipment or ammunition, and then escape the lethal range of the weapon before the necessary follow-up shots can be taken to humanely destroy the animal.