National Farmers' Federation

Silver fox not a pet, but a farm predator

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today called on the Government to refuse the application to import silver foxes into Australia as pets and potential breeding animals.
“Foxes pose an enormous risk to Australia’s agricultural production; a fact that the Government itself acknowledges by listing the red fox – the same family as the silver fox – as an invasive species,” NFF President Jock Laurie said.
“The fact that the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is even considering importing this animal by calling for submissions on the draft environment assessment report is of great concern to us and our members,” Mr Laurie said.
“Foxes were originally introduced into Australia for recreational hunting, but just like other invasive species like the cane toad and the rabbit, soon got out of control and now pose a major threat to agriculture and the environment.
“Foxes have not only been responsible for the decline in a number of species of native animals in Australia, they also prey on newborn lambs, kid goats and poultry. The timing of this is just incredulous, with the spring lambing season now underway.
“Ironically, predation by the red fox is listed as a key threatening process under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conversation Act, with a threat abatement plan for the red fox in place between the Federal Government and all states and territories.
“We are astounded that the Government would even consider introducing an animal that they have spent many years and thousands of dollars trying to eradicate. The silver fox is simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“Surely we have learnt from the mistakes of the past on the introduction of invasive species. Foxes are not pets, they’re predators. We are calling on the Government to reject this application outright,” Mr Laurie said.

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