The feral animals farmers are ‘far and away’ most worried about

Surging populations of wild dogs and pigs are giving farmers a collective headache, as feral animal numbers continue to grow.

The NSW Farmers Association said members across the state had reported increases in both dog and pig numbers, while deer are also expanding their territory.

Then there’s the ever-present problem of feral cats, which the CSIRO estimates as being responsible for 1.8 billion native animal deaths each year.

Farmers say threats from feral animals such as wild pigs are growing. (Alex Ellinghausen)

Tweed farmer Neil Baker said there were shocking reports of livestock being attacked by feral animals.

“It’s really nasty some of the stories you hear, animals being ripped apart by predators,” Baker said.

“We’re really very concerned that these pests aren’t being properly controlled by some public and private landholders, and that’s giving them safe haven to breed and grow their territory.”

Dingoes and wild dogs can also pose a danger to livestock. (Robert Rough)

He said the rules around controlling pest animals were clear and needed to be enforced.

It is estimated that management of wild dogs by individual farmers and agencies costs $50 million per year and feral pig incursions cost the Australian agricultural industry upwards of $100 million a year.

NSW Farmers western division council chair Gerard Glover said there were a lot of feral cats appearing on cameras that had been set up across the region, and the expansion of deer into new areas would create headaches for motorists, but pigs and dogs remained the main concern for farmers.

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“Cats and foxes typically prey on small native animals, which is a big concern, while deer presents a new danger for people driving on country roads,” Glover said.

“Far and away though the pigs and the dogs are the most destructive, tearing up paddocks and fences, and attacking livestock.

“In my experience you need good, co-ordinated controls that everyone sticks to, otherwise you get these population explosions and the whole problem starts again.”

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