A model for assessing the relative humaneness of pest animal control methods

Pest animals such as rabbits, feral pigs, foxes, wild dogs and feral cats continue to cause significant environmental damage and agricultural losses in Australia despite improvements in control methods and the development of new techniques. Each year hundreds of thousands of pest animals are trapped, poisoned, shot or otherwise destroyed because of the harm they cause (Olsen 1998).

Historically, pest animal control has focussed on killing as many pests as cheaply as possible. For most people in today’s society the management of pest animals is acceptable provided that such management is humane (Mellor and Littin 2004)
and justified. However, many of the methods used to control pest animals in Australia are far from being humane. There is a pressing need to improve the humaneness of control programs and to develop a process that enables the most humane methods to be identified.

The model presented in this report examines the negative impacts that a control method has on an animal’s welfare and, if a lethal method, how the animal is killed. There are two parts: Part A examines the impact of a method on overall welfare and the duration of this impact; Part B examines the intensity of suffering and duration of suffering of the killing technique.

Author: Trudy Sharp and Glen Saunders
Year: 2008
Organisation: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Department: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Number of Pages: 47 pp
ISBN: 978-0-646-50357-8
Region: Australia - national
Documents: A model for assessing the relative humaneness of pest animal control methods (2 Mb PDF)

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