'Greens should pay a bounty to feral pig hunters'
RON Owen is almost disappointed at the lack of controversy around this year's Queensland Big Boar Hunting Championships.
"Misguided" animal welfare activists generated quite a lot of publicity for last year's inaugural event, especially when some over-enthusiastic elements stole a sign promoting the event.
"Even my wife asked me if I had taken it myself," Mr Owen said yesterday, "because it gave us such a lot of good publicity.
"But I didn't," he said.
At the time, the row not only got him into the newspapers; it enabled him to point out the superior animal welfare qualifications of shooters, as opposed to those who use cruel and environmentally-threatening 1080 baits.
And so, it seems the event did succeed in changing the minds of some people who automatically identify shooters as heartless "rednecks."
Already, he says, sponsors have donated a huge range of prizes and the entries are starting to flow in.
Feral pigs are destroying Australia, agriculturally and environmentally, he says.
"Feral pigs have a reproductive rate closer to rabbits than other large herbivores.
"Females can breed from seven months and have one or two litters per year of four to six piglets.
"This easily doubles their population every year."
Government sources put the pig population at 25 million last year, so 50 million by now.
"The damage they cause to the Australian economy is huge," Mr Owen said.
"Combined with the damage to the Australian environment and its wildlife, the Greens should pay a bounty to feral pig hunters," he said.
Anyone interested in entering or supporting the event can contact Mr Owen at his McMahon Rd gun shop on 5482 4099.