AgForce has welcomed tighter regulations for wild game harvesting in a bid to stamp out the theft of commercial goats across Queensland.
Driven by Safe Food Production Queensland, amendments came into force today, placing greater onus on wild animal harvesters and processors.
The changes, which include the need for harvesters to obtain a signed consent form from landholders, were introduced following a rise in goat thefts – sparked by soaring meat prices.
Figures from the State’s Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) reveal the number of goats stolen has almost doubled in the past 12 months – with 429 head reported stolen across the State last year compared to 220 head in 2020.
With cases of both stolen and legal goat carcasses being processed through kangaroo chiller box facilities, concerns have been raised over animal traceability.
AgForce Sheep and Wool Board President Mike Pratt said he hoped tighter regulations would curb the problem, but urged producers to ear-tag kids at marking time and to remain vigilant and report all suspicious activities to police.
“The domestic goat market in Australia has gone from strength to strength over the past decade, and Queensland has been a key player with many producers receiving prices upwards of $10 per kilogram,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the downside of that is that we are seeing callous individuals trying to cash in by taking what isn’t theirs.
“Some producers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result, and, as well as the financial implications, there is an emotional toll, with many producers left devastated.”
Tighter regulations mean that the food safety programs and management statements of wild animal supply chain businesses must now ensure compliance with the following:
- All wild game harvesters are required to obtain written consent from each landholder where harvesting of wild game is undertaken.