Is the feral pig bounty a necessary evil?
THE idea of handing out prizemoney for people who kill feral pigs - or any wild animals for that matter - seems wrong on principle.
It makes pest population control seem a little too much like a bloodsport, even though feral pigs are pretty much impossible to contain, cause extensive damage to crops and threaten the spread of diseases.
Images of boar heads on mantlepieces, snouts in trophy cases and wild dog skins made into rugs spring to mind, and it almost encourages hunters to go overboard in pursuit of a kill.
Speaking with local farmers who have noted inappropriate behaviour from scalp-hungry hunters, who even go as far as entering properties toting their rifles and dogs without seeking permission of the landowner, is also concerning.
But hearing of the crippling problems feral pigs create for these farmers, and the uncontrollable numbers of the pigs to boot, makes the bounty seem like a necessary evil.
I've never been comfortable seeing people take enjoyment out of killing animals, but I can understand the plight of farmers and rural communities with their backs against the wall.
Efforts to control pest populations should be taken because of the problems they create, but co-operation between landholders, community groups and local government must always be paramount to ensure those efforts are effective and responsible.