The Hinchinbrook Shire Council of Queensland has come up with a plan to get rid of 300 feral goats which have been eating the endangered rainforest plants and other vegetation on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The proposed solution? Dingos, which kill goats. Each unsuspecting dingo will be vaccinated, neutered, and fitted with a device set up to release poison that will kill the dingo in two years — once they have completed their “task.”
Both goats and dingoes are regarded as “pests” and threats to the sustainability of the Pelorus Islands, and both the Council and Mayor Ramon Jayo claim this is the only solution to getting rid of both. But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) disagrees. While they don’t dispute that steps must be taken to protect the land, they note — just as most compassionate, rational people would — that the project raises grave animal welfare issues.
Michael Beatty, a spokesman for RSPCA stated, “While we accept feral animals need to be controlled, we would like to see other avenues exhausted before resorting to this ‘solution’, which could inflict pain and suffering on both goats and dingoes alike.”
Mayor Jayo has defended his dubious method, saying, “If no action was taken, the goats would destroy the island. As a council, we have an obligation as the trustees of this land, the custodians of this land, to control or eradicate pests.
As usual, humans are ultimately responsible for the destruction of the land. Pelorus Island had no goats until the 1800’s, when they were released as a source of food for lighthouse keepers. Today, the 4-square kilometer island sits uninhabited, but it’s rare plants are in danger of extinction.
In the 1800’s, no one could predict the devastation that goats would bring to the island. But many more can’t fathom the cruel and unusual punishment government officials are proposing per the eradication of both goats and dingos on the Pelorus Island.