Ratification Date: 29 Jul 2016


Terrestrial animals including birds should not be hunted purely for sport or recreation.

Where animals are killed for food, or as part of a government mandated feral animal control program, this must be regulated and conducted humanely. In these circumstances the Codes of Practice for the Humane Control of Vertebrate Pests and associated Standard Operating Procedures must be strictly adhered to and enforced.


In general, recreational hunting and commercial harvesting alone have not been effective in limiting populations of pest animals or overabundant wildlife in Australia1–4 or overseas.6,7,8. Formal government feral animal control programs that are regulated and conducted humanely are the appropriate control mechanism.

Dogs should not be used in the hunting of animals, except where they are used purely to locate or flush out animals and as part of a formal government control program (e.g. dogs used in island eradication campaigns to find the last few individuals in a population of feral animals). Dogs must not be permitted to pursue, corner or attack the animals. The use of dogs to hold or bring down feral pigs has adverse welfare effects for both dogs and pigs and must not be permitted. The killing of feral pigs using dogs and knives or arrows is inhumane. Additionally the use of dogs to hunt pigs is usually an ineffective method of control5.

Other relevant policies and position statements

Kangaroo and wallaby population control

Harvesting and culling of native fauna

Waterfowl hunting

AVA statement of principles - animal welfare and ethics


  1. Gentle M, Pople T, Speed J et al. Assessing the role of harvesting in feral pig (Sus scrofa) management: final report to the Queensland Murray–Darling Committee. Robert Wicks Pest Animal Research Centre, Biosecurity Queensland, Toowoomba, 2011.
  2. Grigg GC, Pople AR. Sustainable use and pest control in conservation: kangaroos as a case study. In: Reynolds J, Mace G, Redford K et al, editors. Conservation of exploited species. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001;403–423.
  3. Pople AR, Grigg, GC. Commercial harvesting of kangaroos in Australia. Environment Australia, Canberra, 1998.
  4. Pople T, Froese J. Distribution, abundance and harvesting of feral goats in the Australian rangelands 1984–2011: final report to the ACRIS Management Committee. Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Alice Springs, 2012. https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/967876f3-8b2b-4692-ac87-3a6c8b946389/files/acris-goats-report.pdf
  5. Simard MA, Dussault C, Huot J et al. Is hunting an effective tool to control overabundant deer? A test using an experimental approach. J Wildl Manage 2013;77:254–269. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.477/abstract.
  6. Sinclair ARE. Carrying capacity and the overabundance of deer. In: McShea WJ, Underwood HB, Rappole JH, editors. The science of overabundance: deer ecology and population management. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1997;380–394.
  7. VerCauteren KC, Anderson CW, van Deelen TR et al. Regulated commercial harvest to manage overabundant white-tailed deer: an idea to consider? Wildl Soc Bull 2011;35:185–194.
  8. Mcilroy JC, Saillard, RJ. The effect of hunting with dogs on the numbers and movements of feral pigs, Sus-Scrofa, and the subsequent success of poisoning exercises in Namadgi-National-Park, ACT. Aust Wildl Res 1989;16:353–363.

Date of ratification by AVA Board 29 July 2016