Wild Dogs

Costing Australia hundreds of millions of dollars every year

Watch this major report on the ABC's signature program, the 7.30 Report. 7.30 Report on wild dogs

WoolProducers Australia has brought together critical industry stakeholders to develop a national action plan to combat the economic and personal devastation caused by wild dogs across rural Australia.

A new national steering committee has been established representing significant national peak bodies and government to guide the project and shape a new strategy for tackling wild dogs. Wild dogs are responsible for losses of hundreds of millions of dollars each year from all the combined grazing industries.

They are also a source of the spread of serious animal-borne diseases, including hydatids and neospora (a protozoan pathogen in cattle and dogs), and are highly damaging to regional economies.

The chairman of the project steering committee, Jim McKenzie (Vice President of WoolProducers Australia), said wild dogs have become an increasing problem across all grazing industries on mainland Australia.

“Not only are they a serious direct productivity issue but they are recognised as a serious animal welfare and environmental concern as well,” Mr McKenzie said. “Industry can’t afford red tape or ill-informed groups prohibiting the use of the tools currently available. Due to predation from wild dogs farming sheep in some areas is no longer viable.”

The new steering committee aims to harness the commitments across the different stakeholder groups to tackle wild dogs and then to develop a national action plan to decrease the impact of wild dogs in accordance with best practice.

It would build on the good work already achieved by the Invasive Animals CRC, National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group, Australian Wool Innovation, State governments and the coordination provided through the Australian Pest Animal Strategy.

The CEO of WoolProducers Australia, Jane Brownbill, said the Australian Government had a critical role to play.

“There is a need for a nationally coordinated, strategic approach to wild dog control,” Ms Brownbill said. “Wild dogs like other pests do not acknowledge state borders. Farmers need the tools to battle the dog menace. More education and awareness of the issue is also needed across all sections of the community.”

Mr McKenzie said reports of the economic impact varied for different jurisdictions, from $67.3 million in Queensland to $18 million for Victoria. However, there are additional costs from animal control and disease spread.

“When all these impacts are considered wild dogs are costing Australian grazing industries hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” he said. “The plan will provide a multifaceted argument for control of wild dogs, including economic, social, environment and animal welfare issues."

Steering committee membership

The steering committee will be consulting widely throughout the development of the National Action Plan. WoolProducers encourage stakeholders to provide input and to keep updated on the website.