Animals Australia calls on Andrews govt to stop killing state’s threatened dingoes


ANIMALS Australia has called on the Andrews Government stop killing Victoria’s threatened dingoes before they become the latest species to join the state’s growing list of extinct mammals.

Even though they are listed as a threatened and protected native species in Victoria, dingoes continue to be trapped, shot and are the target of mass ground and aerial baiting with the controversial 1080 poison across hundreds of kilometres of their national park habitat each year to appease agricultural interests.

Last night’s ABC 7.30 Report aired harrowing footage obtained by Defend The Wild of dingoes being trapped and killed by state government “wild dog” controllers in the state’s north. Despite their listing as a threatened species over a decade ago, the Victorian Government has made no effort to research how many dingoes remain in the wild.

According to the government’s own figures, only 1249 livestock were killed by predation in 2021-22 from 22 million livestock while 1376 dingoes were killed.

“How can the Andrews Government possibly justify killing more of a threatened native species than the livestock it is accused of killing? The government’s figures do not include all the dingoes and other native species killed by its aerial bombardment of national parks with 1080 poison,” Animals Australia strategy director Lyn White said.

“Given that Australia holds the dubious title as the global leader of mammal extinctions and Victoria has the highest number of threatened species of all the states, it’s appalling that the government is deliberately driving a keystone species towards extinction through its destructive policies.

“The very behaviour that led to dingoes being listed as ‘threatened’ and ‘protected’ in Victoria continues, facilitated and promoted by the government, with even a $120 bounty paid to hunters for every dingo shot.”

Animals Australia has also called on the Andrews Government to adopt the recommendations of last December’s parliamentary Inquiry into the Decline of Ecosystems in Victoria, which called for the “Order of Council” to be revoked, the use of 1080 poison to be banned and the bounty to be reviewed.

The government was due to respond to the inquiry report within six months but is yet to do so.

Dingoes perform a vital role in Victoria’s ecosystems keeping introduced predators, such as foxes and feral cats, at bay.

“Nearly all of the animals that are cruelly trapped and killed have been found to be pure-bred dingoes or dingo-dominant hybrids and not ‘wild dogs’.,” Ms White said.

“The term ‘wild dogs’ is a euphemism adopted to falsely smear a native species and make the government’s widespread killing of dingoes more palatable to the public,” she said.

Dingoes have been killed in Victoria for two centuries by farming interests, particularly the sheep industry which blames them for lamb deaths. However, research by the industry’s own bodies attributes 80 per cent of the high rate of lamb mortality to farming issues and the practice of breeding for multiple births.

Various studies by the agricultural industry estimate the actual incidence of predation on lambs by dingoes is between 1% and 7% but farmers surveyed had a false perception that the rate was higher. Foxes are estimated to be responsible for 85 per cent of predation deaths of lambs.

“Rather than the sheep industry proactively addressing the 80%-plus cause of lamb losses, dingoes are demonised and given a resultant death sentence – regardless of whether they have, or ever will, kill livestock,” she said.

“The millions of dollars being invested by the Andrews Government in cruel culling programs of a threatened species should instead be invested in available alternatives and further innovations that will sustain peaceful co-existence.”


  • Dr Kylie Cairns, a conservation biologist at University of New South Wales, led a groundbreaking study in 2021 – the largest and most comprehensive to date – collating the results of 5039 DNA samples from wild canids in Australia. The study found that 99 per cent of wild canids were pure dingoes or dingo-dominant hybrids (canids with more than 50 per cent dingo genes). Only 31 feral dogs were detected. The myth of wild dogs in Australia: are there any out there?
  • Dr Cairns concluded it was extremely rare for domestic dogs to survive and breed in the wild. Therefore “wild dog” killing efforts are, in fact, targeting dingoes.
  • Tasmania is the only Australian state or territory without dingoes. Notably, there is also an absence of any formerly domestic “wild dogs” surviving and breeding in the wild.
  • The Parliamentary Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria tabled in December last year recommended the State Government:
  • revoke the “Order of Council” that allows dingoes to be declared “unprotected” in national park buffer zones;
  • ban the use of 1080 poison in national parks by last month (July 2022) and agricultural land by the end of next year (2023);
  • review its bounty system.
  • The inquiry report further recommended that Agriculture Victoria should work on non-lethal strategies to protect livestock from any predation threat from dingoes.
  • The Victorian Legislative Council Environment and Planning Committee further stated in the report that it “considers that these mechanisms are not in line with community expectations and the Victorian Government’s obligation to protect and conserve the dingo in accordance with Action Statement No. 248, made for the purposes of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic)”.
  • The poison 1080 – or sodium fluoroacetate – is banned in most countries except Australia and New Zealand because of the slow, agonising death it causes to any animal that ingests it. In addition to dingoes, poisoned baits kill farm dogs and a range of native species, including the endangered spotted-tailed quoll. Conservationists are concerned about the long-term effects of aerial baiting of national parks with this poison.
  • The Victorian Government’s bounty information website does little to recognise the status of dingoes as a threatened species that are protected. Instead, it points out that “wild dogs” cannot be differentiated from dingoes and therefore are likely to be killed: “Dingoes are often in areas inhabited by wild dogs. They appear morphologically similar to wild dogs and are extremely difficult to differentiate from wild dogs. This means that wild dog control programs have the potential to directly impact on dingoes.”
  • Agriculture research bodies acknowledge that most lamb deaths are the result of farming practices and breeding for multiple births: “When thorough autopsy procedures are followed, the majority (greater than 80 per cent) of lamb deaths are attributed to either the starvation–mis-mothering-exposure (SME) complex or dystocia [birthing difficulties].” EverGraze Exchange: Improving Survival of Lambs

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ABOUT ANIMALS AUSTRALIA: Animals Australia is the nation’s leading animal protection organisation, representing millions of members and supporters. Our goal is to promote kindness and shine a light on animal cruelty wherever we can create change – in Australia and around the world.

/Public Release.