9th August 2017
The Hon. MARK PEARSON (22:59): Pig dogging, a sport of bloodlust, is a barbaric practice in which specially bred dogs are forced to hunt wild pigs. Pig dogging, or dogging as it is generally known, represents a growing pastime based on the cruellest and most brutal form of hunting in Australia. In fact, it is the only form of legal hunting in Australia that sets one animal against another, resulting in immense suffering and distress to both the dog and the pig. In addition to its barbarity, it also has a range of associated social, biosecurity, human safety, and ecological issues.
For the purpose of explanation, many in the House may not be aware of the true reality of pig dogging. In simple terms, pig dogging involves the tracking, bailing, pinning, and mauling of wild pigs by specially blooded pig dogs. Suffering and death is the name of the game and both dog and pig are the victims. Spare a thought for the immeasurable suffering of the pigs. In their struggle to escape, terrified pigs are savaged and may even be mauled to death if not found quickly by the human hunter. The standard method of death is by sticking, which is when a hunter stabs into the stomach or chest to puncture the pig’s heart before leaving it to bleed out.
The bloodthirsty hunts cover large areas and it is difficult for hunters to maintain contact with their dogs. Pigs are often mauled for long periods and often die a slow lingering death before the humans reach the victim. This is in clear breach of current animal cruelty laws and regulations. It has even been seen that in many cases hunters actually encourage their dogs to maul the pigs. The practice was documented on a special ABC7.30 report in 2012 and is something that even pig doggers themselves admit is commonplace. Members may be aware of my travels across regional and rural areas of New South Wales. These trips are vital in listening to the members of the public who feel they are not being listened to or are too scared to speak up about this rampant animal cruelty in their communities.
A common concern expressed to me is about the issue of injured and abandoned pig dogs. Dogs that are mauled and mutilated by the defensive acts of terrified pigs are often abandoned or left to suffer due to hunters not wanting to pay the veterinarian bill. Some dogs are merely dumped at pounds because they do not show the killer instinct. The even unluckier ones who do not get dumped or re-homed are brutally killed or used as bait for blooding other dogs. Hunters who use pig dogging claim that they are attempting to control pig populations, despite the fact that hunting is not a successful method of animal control. In addition, there have been many reports of hunters releasing pigs into national parks to increase the geographic spread of pigs for hunting. They also purposely do not take small pigs or sows, thus ensuring sport for future seasons. The fact is that this is about killing animals for sport, not for population control.
A 2009 critique by the Invasive Species Council of Australia debunked the claim that hunters are conservationists. In reality, hunters have created a sport based on suffering, cruelty, and death. It has also spawned an industry in dog breeding and trading as well as commercial accessories such as GPS trackers, protective collars, jackets, and breastplates. Pig dogging is the worst form of hunting and goes largely unchecked and unregulated. It often involves people who may have criminal records and therefore cannot obtain a gun licence to hunt. It involves a pack‑hunting mentality. I have had many reports to my office of alcohol and drug weekend sprees by pig doggers looking for a cheap thrill at the expense of innocent animals. Furthermore, children are often present on pig dogging hunts, and the lasting effects on them from witnessing this violence firsthand are extremely worrying. What I and many people find most disturbing is that in 2017 pig dogging remains legal in New South Wales. I put to this House that by its very brutal nature it is impossible to participate in this form of hunting without compromising the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.