Introduced Animals

I hold that the more helpless a creature the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
–Mahatma Gandhi

Policy Position:

The AJP supports the humane treatment of all animals and respects their lives as sentient beings.

Policy Goal:

That all introduced animals in Australia be treated humanely and with respect


The AJP will pass or support legislation that will:

  • Ban the use of leg traps and steel jaw traps in all States and Territories
  • Restrict (and preferably eliminate) the sale of introduced species in pet shops
  • Ban the use of glue traps for mammals
  • Ban the use of animals in circuses
  • Support research into alternatives to lethal control methods
  • Cease all experiments on introduced species that cause suffering or deprive them of their five freedoms7
  • Permit possession of desexed endemic non-native animals in all States and Territories
  • Ban the use of Pindone and preferably all poisons
  • Replace lethal biological and chemical control with the use of immunocontraceptive techniques
  • Educate Australians on the need for fertility control for animals in their care
  • Educate Australians regarding the damage that can be done by abandoned animals such as cats, dogs and other predator species, horses, pigs and non-native fish, amphibians and reptiles
  • Penalise people who abandon animals or allow predator animals to roam after dark
  • Impose a moratorium on the introduction of exotic animals and disease-causing organisms.

The AJP will encourage:

  • contraception, desexing, and (if necessary) relocation of animals as the most humane ways of dealing with any perceived problems caused by the introduction of these species (by humans)
  • the use of fencing, guard animals such as dogs or donkeys, metal collars or fences around valuable vegetation, and altering the current usage of land
  • funding of research into, and dissemination of information on, humane control methods.


Many non-human animal species were brought to Australia purely for human benefit and gain, so we therefore have to deal rationally and humanely with any problems our actions have caused. We need to keep emotively and widely reported ‘damage’ in perspective and acknowledge that biodiversity has never been static and that extinction of species is not a new phenomenon. It must also be noted that anthropogenic climate disruption and changes in land use, resulting in habitat loss, are now the major contributors to species loss.1

While all introduced species have had an impact on this continent there have been positives as well as negatives. People often enjoy having introduced animals in their neighbourhood and spend many hours watching and even feeding them. Therefore, these animals are not always (as portrayed by some), undesirable or worthless.

Many people agree that current methods of lethal control are inhumaneand ineffective6, necessitating an urgent change in policy and practices.

This AJP policy should be read in association with the following other policies:


1 – ‘Climate change could have a greater impact on species than all human interventions to date.’

2 –  Industry’s gross value of production in 2003-04 was $2.2 million

3 & 4 – Rob Morrison ‘Rabbits are believed to be pets in well over 1 million Australian households.  Some Aboriginal communities have lost a source of plentiful meat.’

5 –  ‘Poisons do not usually cause a humane death. Depending on the poison used, target animals can experience pain/sickness and suffering, sometimes for an extended period before death. Non-target animals, including native species, cats , dogs and livestock, can also be exposed to poisons either directly by eating baits intended for pest [sic] animals (primary poisoning) or through the scavenging of tissue from a poisoned animal (secondary poisoning).’

6 – ‘Most pests [sic] are highly mobile and can readily replace those that are killed in control programs’

‘Baiting is not effective as a sole control method and will not eradicate an entire rabbit population. Numbers will quickly increase again and you will have to continue baiting year after year with no permanent overall change in the rabbit population.’

7 – The five freedoms read:

  1. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  2. Freedom from discomfort – by providing a suitable environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress – by ensuring conditions that avoid mental suffering.

Brambell Report, December 1965 (HMSO London, ISBN 0 10 850286 4).

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