Guidelines for feral animal control on organic properties

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All land managers are required under state biosecurity legislation to manage feral animal populations. The National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce (Standard) is the Australian Export Standard for products labelled organic or biodynamic. Each certifying company operates under its own compliance variation of the Standard. Organic certifiers recognise the need to manage feral animal species and their populations to meet these legislative requirements, but also to reduce environmental damage and the animal welfare impacts of predators on livestock production.

Best practice management of feral animal species requires an integrated approach using a variety of techniques aimed to target vulnerable periods of the species’ ecology and/or limiting predation on livestock. In the case of highly mobile feral animal species such as wild dogs, foxes and feral pigs, landholders are encouraged to deliver coordinated control and baiting programs at local and regional scales. These regional baiting programs involve the use of Sodium Fluoroacetate (1080) baits which is a prohibited substance under the USDA National Organic Program (USDA NOP). Therefore, 1080 cannot be applied in areas that are organically certified as USDA NOP.

Processes exist whereby non-permitted substances can be used on an area of land removed from the organic certification. In this case, 1080 products may be used to control feral animals on fully fenced parcels of land removed from the organic footprint. Information on nationally endorsed, best practice, feral animal management techniques to be used in these excised areas are provided in the guidelines and it is expected that operators liaise with their certifying organisations to obtain appropriate approval before starting any control activities.

These guidelines provide to guide to an operator through the process required by certifying organisations to receive permission to use a non-permitted substance, in this case sodium fluoroacetate (1080) under limited circumstances on a property for the purpose of controlling feral animal species.

Always check with your certifying organisation BEFORE embarking on any chemical-based control to ensure any accreditations properties/businesses have are not put at risk.

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This publication was authored by Greg Mifsud, the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator, who is funded through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions by Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, Meat and Livestock Australia, Animal Health Australia, WoolProducers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and Cattle Council of Australia.

This publication was funded through the National Wild Dog Action Plan is supported by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, State/Territory Governments, Industry Peak Bodies, Individual Producer Champions and related Research Organisations.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan will guide the implementation of a nationally-agreed framework for a strategic and risk based approach to wild dog management; emphasising humane, safe and effective management techniques and appropriate scales for mitigating the impacts of wild dogs.

More information via www.nationalwilddogactionplan.org.au