PGA gears up for fight with wild dogs

PGA gears up for fight with wild dogs


Agribusiness
The PGA has welcomed pastoralist Ashley Dowden, Challa station, to the executive as a strong voice for the pastoral industry.

The PGA has welcomed pastoralist Ashley Dowden, Challa station, to the executive as a strong voice for the pastoral industry.

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THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) will take a tougher stance on WA's wild dog issues.

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THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) will take a tougher stance on WA's wild dog issues.

PGA president Tony Seabrook said the new executive would be at the forefront of the epidemic.

"This needs to be one of the biggest things we, as the PGA, deals with over the next 12 months, if not the biggest thing," Mr Seabrook said.

"The situation has totally changed."

While pastoralists have been living with dingoes for 150 years, it was still possible to run small stock and sheep along side them.

Mr Seabrook said the dogs that were out there today were a totally different animal to the dingo.

"They kill for fun," he said.

"We have seen the exodus of sheep from the Kimberley right down to the Goldfields."

Mr Seabrook said many pastoralists now believed they could not run sheep successfully with the growing wild dog issue.

"It is increasing at an enormous rate," Mr Seabrook said.

"People thought 10 years ago they could live with the dogs and today have nothing left."

While sheep producers were initially being affected the most Mr Seabrook said cattle producers were also feeling their effects.

He said dogs were causing injuries and had lost calves.

"They are damaging cattle," he said.

"This is not just about pastoralists now, they are killing off fauna, kangaroos, emus, and smaller native fauna.

"These things are killing machines."

The PGA has welcomed Mt Magnet pastoralist Ashley Dowden, Challa station, to the executive as a strong voice for the pastoral industry.

Mr Dowden is the fifth generation of the Dowden family to run Challa station since 1888 and has turned away from small stock due to the wild dog issue in the Murchison region.

Mr Seabrook said Mr Dowden had an enormous amount of experience with wild dogs and said the executive wanted the government to get involved.

"With Ashley coming on board this will be the new direction," he said.

"We have been working on the issue, but we need to see serious results now."

Mr Seabrook said the dogs were rapidly growing in numbers and there were reports of wild dogs in Perenjori and into the north-eastern wheatbelt.

He predicted they would be in the Darling Scarp within five years.

Mr Dowden believes government was not convinced of the wide spread dog problem.

"There are hundreds, even thousands of wild dogs already in the agricultural region," he said.

"For us out here, there are only one or two people running small stock, who are just hanging in there, but they are going backwards by the day."

Mr Dowden said it was a matter of spending funds the right way and not wasting money.

He said the suggestion from Premier Colin Barnett at the PGA conference this year for cluster fencing was the future.

"We need to get the industry's thoughts on cluster fencing and make it a priority to protect those left in the south," he said.

Over coming months the PGA will discuss strategies going forward to resolve the issue with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) and its new minister, Mark Lewis.

DAFWA is developing a business to acquire funding to implement the Wild Dog Action Plan.

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