Primary producers are at the forefront of Australia’s 150 year war on rabbits. From the 1860’s onward, primary producers battled the invasion of rabbits.
The first 100 years of that battle focused on direct efforts of primary producers and governments, through fencing, trapping, shooting and warren destruction, supported by government policy and legislation.
The end result was a constant and failing battle against the remarkable breeding and dispersal behaviour of rabbits.
The following 50 years saw the application of science through development of rabbit specific biological controls and integrated pest management systems.
Finally, populations were reduced to a point where better land management and production outcomes can be achieved.
For some regions, rabbit plagues and rabbit damage are now largely non-existent.
Adding to our investment in direct rabbit control, primary producers and their organisations play a fundamental role in providing financial and business support to one of the most confronting challenges facing the modern settlement of Australia.
Through the development of partnerships with governments and the science community we have contributed much to the ultimate success in overcoming the devastating impact of rabbits.
It would be easy to sit back now and be satisfied with this progress given the latest reduction in rabbit populations through the spread of new and strengthened biological controls.
This would be a mistake, as we know that genetic resistance of rabbits will only take time to adjust.
This is why Primary Producers SA continues to advocate for on-going investment in long-term strategies for capitalising on the rabbit control work to date.
It is also why we continue to support the work of the Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia.
It is estimated that rabbits continue to cost primary industries around $200 million per year.
More remarkably, it is estimated that biological control of rabbits had saved primary industries around $70 billion by 2011.
These are significant figures and I encourage primary producers to continue supporting the Foundation where possible.
– Rob Kerin, Executive Chairman, Primary Producers SA