Licensed NSW pig hunters must follow a code of practice for humane hunting. (Pic courtesy Mark Lanser/Game Council)

Pig doggers must go by code

Last week’s ABC television report on hunting feral pigs with dogs clearly demonstrates the need for all hunters to abide by a code of practice for humane treatment, NSW Game Council chairman John Mumford said.

His comments come as the Greens and the RSPCA renew calls to have pig dogging banned, buoyed by the illegal hunting activity aired on the 7.30 Report.

“Pig dog hunting contravenes the codes of practice for the humane culling of pigs developed by the Department of Primary Industries,” Greens senator Lee Rhiannon claimed, despite the fact that the DPI COP contains no reference to controlling pigs with dogs. It also allows for the use of poisons that produce painful, relatively slow deaths. 

However, the Game Council’s code of practice, used by licensed responsible pig dog hunters on public land in NSW, was prepared with input from the Australian Veterinary Association and was designed to ensure the humane killing of target animals.

That code demands hunters using dogs operate in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animls Act 1979, which permits hunting “in a manner that inflicted no unnecessary pain upon the animal”.

The council says the code is part of a raft of hunter education measures intended to lift the standard and behaviour of pig dog hunters everywhere.

Mr Mumford said while pig dog hunters are only required to be licensed when hunting on declared public land in NSW, the Game Council has been working pro-actively to lift industry standards.

“Game Council was the first state government agency to bring in practical workshops to show hunters how to better handle their dogs.

“We work with the Australian Veterinary Association and we have a full-time working dog trainer on staff to deliver practical training – no one is doing more than the Game Council to lead the way forward on ethical, responsible pig dog hunting,” Mr Mumford said.

Driving pig dog hunting underground by attempting to ban it would only cause problems for farmers, according to the Game Council.

“Feral pigs are causing massive damage to NSW agriculture, and responsible hunters using dogs are a proven tool to reduce feral pig numbers – as many as 22% of feral pigs removed from private and public land are done so directly through the use of hunters with dogs,” Mr Mumford said.

“Driving this issue underground only increases the likelihood of illegal activity – the real solution is to support Game Council as it keeps working towards having all pig dog hunters licensed, insured and accredited.”

Mr Mumford said enforcement of illegal pig dog hunting on public land was taken seriously, with regular compliance blitzes being carried out.

“In the most recent compliance operation, over the past six weeks in the Oberon region, Game Council and NSW police have caught and fined nine illegal pig dog hunters,” Mr Mumford said.

One of the major aspects causing concern for the public is illegal and inhumane treatment of feral pigs being shown on social media.

Game Council said these people should be caught and punished appropriately, and has called on the pig dog hunting community to dob in those involved.

“We don’t want these things on the internet, we don’t want people to get away with illegal activity,” Mr Mumford said.

The Game Council has called for a reward system to be established for information leading to prosecutions from illegal hunting acts depicted on Facebook and YouTube.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.