Flying-fox netting program welcomed, but no excuse for continued cruelty
Humane Society International (HSI) has today welcomed the announcement by Environment Minister Rob Stokes and Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to extend the Flying-fox Netting Program to enable all NSW orchardists to protect their crop from flying-foxes.
HSI has been a consistent advocate of the Government’s policy to provide grants combined with the promise to phase out the licenced shooting of flying-foxes. This policy was a result of orchardists and conservation groups working together to advocate for a solution to avoid the unacceptable practice of shooting flying-foxes, whilst still providing protection for crops.
HSI remains seriously disappointed at the failure by the Government to meet their 2011 election commitment to end licensed shooting of flying-foxes by 30 June 2014.
“The extension of the flying-fox netting program is a welcome step which we hope will enable orchardists across the State to better protect their crops, as we know that netting is the only effective means of protecting crops from damage from flying-foxes,” said HSI’s Senior Program Manager Alexia Wellbelove.
“The extension of the netting program is, however, no excuse for continued cruelty to flying-foxes. It is essential that the current practice of shooting flying-foxes is ended as this is not only unacceptable ethically due to significant suffering it causes in the flying-foxes, but also an ineffective method of protecting crops. HSI is therefore urging the Government to finalise the special circumstances under which limited shooting may be allowed as soon as possible so this sanctioned cruelty can end,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
HSI will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that flying-foxes are protected and their important ecological role as natural pollinators of many of our native plants recognised.