Australia’s number one pest: Labor or Rabbits?
At the last Federal election, the Australia Labor Party chose to promote their animal welfare strategy using a rabbit as its mascot.
An embarrassing mistake as the rabbit is Australia's worst, most widespread, destructive and costly environmental and agricultural vertebrate pest.
Labor quickly tried to cover up the mistake, yet the damage was done and it was clear that the party lacked a basic understanding of the issues facing regional Australia.
Now with the Nationals in Government at both State and Federal level, a new venture is underway with the release of the RHDV1 K5 virus to rid our regions of Labor’s fluffy logo.
RHDV1 K5 is a naturally-occurring rabbit virus and the release is part of Australia’s 20-year plan to reduce the invasive rabbit population and its negative impacts on agriculture and the environment.
This is the first new rabbit bio-control released in 20 years.
The national release of RHDV1 K5 has been delivered through the Invasive Animals CRC, with major financial and in-kind resources provided by the Australian and NSW Governments, CSIRO, Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia.
Three intensive management sites near Orange, Gundagai and Hay, linked with the community-led sites, will be managed and monitored by NSW DPI and Local Land Services. The public is being urged to get involved by helping to track the spread of the by downloading the RabbitScan app.
Everyone can gather and report evidence of disease to assist land managers across Australia understand the movement of the virus. To report sightings of rabbits or evidence of disease in your region visit www.rabbitscan.org.au or download via the iTunes or GooglePlay stores through searching for ‘FeralScan’. To keep up to date with progress of the RHDV1 K5 release visit www.healthierlandscapes.org.au.
If the virus is successful the Labor Party will have to pick another logo for animal welfare. Fortunately, Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair has Labor’s interests at heart. During his recent address to State Parliament recently the Minister was willing to suggest several other invasive species for them to choose from including the rat, feral pig, Indian myna.
See Minister Blair's address here: