The Andrews Labor Government’s policy to leave controlled deer to rot on public land is essentially feeding and supporting wild dog populations in East Gippsland.
In response to a question from Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, the Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed a Parks Victoria deer culling program allowed shooters to leave deer carcases where they fall.
“However what showed just how out of touch this Minister is, was the following comment where she stated: “while wild dogs visit deer carcasses during the recreational hunting season, the primary mode of decomposition for the carcasses was through invertebrates, as opposed to consumption by wild dogs.”
“I can assure the Minister they do more than ‘visit’ carcases. When this response was received, the person who raised it quickly got the proof of what we already know – the dogs are feeding on the carcases (see photograph courtesy of Doug Read).
“Landholders in the area face an ongoing battle against the predations of wild dogs on their livestock and are aghast the deer cull was providing an easy meal for the dogs.
“They realise a reliable food source assists with breeding numbers and they are also aware it is beneficial to feral pigs and foxes as well,” said Mr Bull.
“In her response, the Minister said the carcases were only removed when they had ‘no impact on visual amenity or water quality’, otherwise will be left ‘where they fall’. The fact it is out of sight out mind for the Minister is just not good enough as she clearly has no idea about the food source aspect.
“In addition to that, I am also told they are being left adjacent to waterways and am advised that at least 300 to 400 deer have been culled under this program, possibly more.
“Feral deer are a serious problem, but without carcass disposal it is reducing the numbers of one invasive species to the benefit of others that are far more damaging.”
Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said this just confirms our worst fears that the Andrews’ Government’s mismanagement of problem deer is quite literally feeding wild dogs and fox populations.
“We all know the devastation wild dogs in particular cause to native fauna and farm animals, as well as the angst they create for farmers, so this ‘visiting carcasses’ response is just an absolute, out of touch insult.
“The Minister has basically set up an all-you-can-eat buffet for these horrific predators.”