Foxes are to be officially declared a pest species across New South Wales - at long last (image: Martin Auldist).

NSW Government finally agrees: Foxes are a pest


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Foxes are to be officially declared a pest species across NSW.

As reported in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, a Local Land Services (European Red Fox) Pest Control Order 2014 will be gazetted by the NSW government in the next fortnight.

The decision follows a draft order released for public feedback in October, which attracted almost 1800 submissions – the majority of which were in favour of the law being passed.

The order brings NSW into line with all other states and paves the way for the “co-ordinated control” of a feral species estimated to cost Australia’s environment and economy more than $227 million annually. The law also signals the death knell for registered charity Sydney Fox Rescue, which saves injured and orphaned fox cubs and adopts them out as pets. In a rare win for commonsense, it will now be illegal to keep any new foxes in captivity and, by law, any fox cubs found abandoned or injured in the future must be euthanised.

In a statement to be released on Monday, Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson describes the order as a move that will benefit “landowners and the wider community”, adding: “Foxes are not companion animals – this pest control order sends the clear message that they are pests, not pets.” You can read the full Ministerial press release HERE.

According to he Sydney Morning Herald article, Sydney Fox Rescue confirmed on Saturday that it lodged a proposal during the draft consultation phase for the inclusion of a “permit system” that would allow it to continue its work, and for people to continue keeping foxes privately.

But the submission was denied and the charity’s president, Charlie Jackson-Martin, was scrambling to find emergency homes for more than 24 cubs. He stressed the group was “not arguing” against the pest control order, but described the government’s “kill-all policy” as “unconsidered”.

“This decision poses some serious animal welfare concerns because I don’t think members of the public are going to abide by it,” he said.

“People are not going to suddenly stop finding foxes … and the first thing they always want assurance of before bringing them in is … that we’re not going to put them down.”

He added: “Without a no-kill option, you create the real risk of people keeping them illegally, in an unregulated fashion. And when that happens, it means they can’t legally seek veterinary care for them.”

Bill Thompson, chairman of Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) said the fox was an invasive species causing “tremendous harm” to the environment, not least to “farmers and native wildlife”.

“Across the board, they should not be here,” he said, adding: “I am supportive of all programs that eradicate foxes in a humane way.”

Ms Hodgkinson said: “All issues raised in the submissions were carefully considered before a final decision was reached.”

 


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