Plans to extend Western Australia’s historic ‘rabbit-proof fence’ have been described as cruel and clumsy by environmental groups, who say native wildlife will be the victim.
Dingo expert Dr Euan Ritchie, from Deakin University in Melbourne, says that Australia has an outdated and inefficient approach to pest management. He argues that excluding predators such as dingoes can be counterproductive, leading to more kangaroos and rabbits where those predators are absent.
“We know from other places that setting up barriers can have unforeseen consequences, and we shouldn’t forget the original rabbit-proof fence didn’t keep the rabbits out,” he says. “And why is animal welfare not being talked about in relation to building a fence of this scale?”