GORY photos posted on a Riverina hunting group’s website – including images of a man walking on piled up dead foxes – have outraged animal liberationists who say the images are proof shooters kill for fun, not to save native wildlife.
The Southern Riverina Hunting Club – whose motto is “cos all times wasted wot’s not spent huntin” – posted the photos after a fox drive attended by about 100 people, including children, on farms in the Jerilderie-Conargo area in May.
Club president Jim Muirhead told The Daily Advertiser yesterday revealed 160 foxes had been killed, potentially saving 54,000 native animals over a year, including numbers of the stone curlew, plains wanderer and superb parrot.
“They have adapted to the Australian environment very well and they are a curse on it,” Mr Muirhead said of foxes.
“When people say hunting does nothing for the environment, well 160 foxes were not going out the next night killing native animals.”
Chief executive officer of Animal Liberation, Lynda Stoner, criticised the hunt, describing it as a “jack booted approach” to vermin control.
“These kind of images are created by people who enjoy killing, who enjoy a sense of domination,” Ms Stoner said.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with conservation, it has everything to do with blood lust and a sad need by many hunters to try to elevate their sense of worth.”
The hunting group’s website also contains pictures of dead foxes draped over the front of vehicles and being displayed on the ground with several bullet wounds.
Mr Muirhead said he saw nothing wrong with the pictures.
“Everyone has different ideas; I have no problem taking pictures of them, it shows what we are doing to save native animals,” Mr Muirhead said.
The hunting club wants a national bounty on foxes to encourage killing of the introduced pest in even greater numbers.
Ms Stoner called for different ways to reduce the numbers of foxes, wild cats and other killers of wildlife, including sterilisation, which she claimed had worked in Europe and the US.
Fox shooting was supported yesterday by the chairman of the NSW Farmers Association’s Wagga District Council, Alan Brown.
Mr Brown said shooting was more humane than poisoning.
“Sure, they go after lambs, but they mainly go after native fauna,” Mr Brown said of foxes.
“They are a blight on the environment, and that is the overriding concern.”
Mr Brown said it was important not to let the emotions of photos trample the primary issue, which was the serious threat that foxes posed to the environment.