Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 07, 2024


Feral Deer

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (14:59): Supplementary question: is the minister aware of complaints that have been made that the eradication program, by using helicopters and shooters armed with shotguns, is proving to be an ineffective way of disposing of these animals, in fact leading to inhumane and cruel disposal of these animals that are left to either die or rot where they fall, because nobody is allowed to dispose of those carcasses?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:00): I thank the honourable member for his question. Had the landscape board been afforded the opportunity to attend the forum that was referred to at the weekend, they could have answered those questions.

In terms of the claims of high levels of lead, I am advised that as a comparison about $6¬†million is spent each year on ammunition by hunters in South Australia, which equates to between 4¬Ĺ and nine million rounds of ammunition. If we conservatively estimate that only half of that is used by recreational hunters, and with lead being based at an average of five to nine grams of lead per round, recreational hunting results in between 11 and 41 tonnes of lead being put into the environment, which is 15 times the amount of the South Australian Feral Deer Eradication Program.

In terms of the eradication, I am advised that the eradication program works in accordance with the national code of practice and standard operating procedures for the effective and humane control of feral and wild deer and uses thermal equipment, rifles and shotguns in aerial culls. Aerial culling is the most effective landscape-scale tool available to rapidly reduce feral deer populations and their impacts. Thermal assisted aerial culling improves the detection rate of feral deer in dense vegetation compared with the traditional non-thermal aerial culling and improves the rate at which feral deer are removed.

The research has demonstrated that compared with traditional use of semiautomatic .308 calibre rifles, programs that use shotguns have increased efficiency, as measured in terms of reduction in the time required to kill feral deer, and also better welfare outcomes for culled feral deer, as measured by the reduced time between the first shot and confirmed death, shortened pursuit times and increased likelihood that multiple projectiles penetrating the heart and lungs of culled feral deer, leading to more fatal injuries of vital organs, will minimise time until death.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Pangallo, your supplementary question.