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.
- The consent form must contain contact details for the landholder and list the species of wild game permitted to be harvested on the property.
- The consent forms for each landholder must always be carried by field harvesters when in possession of wild game carcasses.
- All Safe Food accredited field depot operators and wild game processors that source field shot wild goats must retain a copy of the consent form on file and contact the landholder within 48hrs of receipt. This will verify the accuracy of the information on carcass tags and consent forms before the animals are sent or presented for further processing.
Mr Pratt said the crackdown was a welcome step in the right direction, and encouraged landholders to ensure they have a signed consent form prior to allowing a harvester on to their property.
“We commend efforts by Safe Food Production Queensland to deter this illegal trade, and look forward to working with them to help protect the State’s commercial goat industry,” he added.
For media comments contact: AgForce Media Advisor Hannah Davies 0434 929 523