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Integrating animal welfare into wild herbivore management: lessons from the Australian Feral Camel Management Project

Hampton, J.O., Jones, B., Perry, A.L., Miller, C.J. and Hart, Q. (2016) Integrating animal welfare into wild herbivore management: lessons from the Australian Feral Camel Management Project. The Rangeland Journal, 38 (2). pp. 163-171.

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The Australian Feral Camel Management Project (AFCMP) was initiated in 2009 to manage the growing impacts of feral camels (Camelus dromedarius) in Australia. One of the most important considerations for the project was achieving high standards of animal welfare and demonstrating this to stakeholders and the public. The novelty of feral camels as an invasive species meant that relatively little was known about the animal welfare aspects of the available management techniques. To address this knowledge gap, quantitative animal-based assessment tools were developed to allow independent observers to perform repeatable in situ field auditing of the two main control methods used: aerial (helicopter) shooting and live capture (mustering and transport for slaughter). Although observation protocols allowed most stages of aerial shooting (in situ killing) to be assessed, not all stages of live capture operations could be assessed (namely transport and slaughter at ex situ abattoirs) due to the limitations of the jurisdiction of the Australian Feral Camel Management Project. For assessments that were performed, audit results were made available to project partners to allow procedures to be reviewed and published through peer-reviewed literature to improve transparency. Empirical evidence produced through the audit system was also used to refine humaneness ranking assessments comparing management methods. We present the lessons learnt through the animal welfare approach of the AFCMP to assist future wild herbivore management programs.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
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