BAITING: The use of 1080 to bait wild dogs and dingoes was hotly debated at the council meeting.
BAITING: The use of 1080 to bait wild dogs and dingoes was hotly debated at the council meeting. Contributed

Council debate over poisoned baits takes philosophical turn

BIOSECURITY talks turned philosophical yesterday when a debate over controversial poison 1080 erupted during the Fraser Coast council meeting.

The discussion started when mayor George Seymour criticised the use of 1080.

He said the poison caused a slow and painful death and he was not in favour of its use.

Councillors Denis Chapman and James Hansen made the point that, at the moment, there was no viable alternative to 1080 when it came to managing pest animals.

Cr Chapman added that he had witnessed the slow and painful death of many animals ripped apart by dingoes.

He didn't think it was right to place the welfare of dingoes and wild dogs ahead of protecting people's livestock.

Councillor David Lewis said, when comparing the slow and painful death caused by an animal that was hunting to a similar death caused by poison baits, one had to ask if it was right to punish predators for acting according to their natural instincts.

He said a dingo had no choice in being born a predator and, just like any other living creature, had to feed itself.

Cr Lewis said some members of the council were placing a moral expectation on dingoes that the animals could not meet.

Councillor Stuart Taylor also objected to the use of 1080 in the plan.

The wide-ranging debate was sparked by council's proposed biosecurity plan for 2019-2022.

The plan was eventually adopted by a vote of eight to three.

Cr Chapman said, as someone who grew up on the land, he had seen first-hand how important it was to manage both noxious weeds and animal pests.

He said it was up to people throughout the region to be the council's eyes and ears by reporting sightings of any plant or animal that needed removing.

"You could be having a picnic in the park and see some lantana in a gully,” Cr Chapman said.

"It will eventually take over the gully.

"On Monday morning, report it to the council.”

Cr Hansen said controlling invasive weeds and animals came at a huge cost to landholders, including the council.

"Last year, biosecurity officers inspected and treated 70,000km of council roads for weeds as well as working with landowners in 29 localities to undertake inspection programs, including inspecting 60 properties each month as part of an ongoing parthenium management program,” he said.

"As part of a trapping program the team monitors 81 traps and caught 26 feral cats, 13 foxes, four dogs and 10 pigs.”