Feeding Aussie dog meat to Asians
A DINGO researcher is under fire for suggesting Australia export dog meat to south-east Asia.
At the end of the month Dr Benjamin Allen will make a presentation at a University of Queensland conference on sustainable use of wildlife.
His talk is titled 'Creating dingo meat products for South East Asia - potential market opportunities and cultural dilemmas'.
The topic has sparked outrage and a petition calling for his presentation at the sell-out conference to be cancelled has gained almost 6,500 signatures.
Mr Allen, who faced personal attacks via social media, was reluctant to make a statement ahead of the conference, however, pointed out the success of the kangaroo meat industry.
His presentation is designed to generate discussion around export opportunities for meat that under the current system is going to waste.
But that's not an idea everyone is willing to discuss.
Durong Dingo Sanctuary owner Simon Stretton was one of thousands of Australians who signed the petition.
He's dedicated his life to protecting and rescuing dingoes and says just the suggestion of turning Australian dogs into saleable meat products is offensive.
There are 18 dingoes on Mr Stretton's property west of Kingaroy in the South Burnett, a popular facility among university researchers.
"Mr Allen says he loves dingoes but I don't believe that," Mr Stretton said.
"It's a topic that shouldn't even be discussed. To use dingoes as a human food source is totally offensive and a lot of people feel the same way."
But is Mr Allen actually suggesting slaughtering dingoes like the ones on Mr Stretton's property to sell as food products in Asian markets?
Last year more than $15 million of taxpayer's money was spent on controlling and killing wild dogs in rural and regional Queensland.
In Queensland the term wild dogs relates to any purebred dingo, dingo hybrid or domestic dogs living in the wild.
Although on an international stage 'wild dogs' has a different meaning while the term dingo is readily understood by overseas researchers as Australian dogs in the wild.
Wild dog attacks on cattle and sheep cost the agricultural industry an estimated $60 million each year and up to 15,000 scalps are handed over to local councils for bounty each year.
Some councils ask dog shooters, like Warwick man Gary Jackson, to bring in the whole dog, while others will pay the bounty just for the scalp.
Most of the time the carcass is left behind to rot in the bush.
Mr Jackson spends his days on farms hunting down packs of dogs mauling wildlife.
He's motivated by some of the horrendous sights he's come across following wild dog attacks; alpacas with their rear ends ripped out, sheep laying in the grass with their intestines hanging out while they're still alive.
Yet even he recoils at the idea of both eating Australian dog meat and selling it to overseas markets.
"There's no way in the world I would eat the Australia wild dog," Mr Jackson said.
"Can you imagine eating something that's been gnawing on a dead kangaroo.
"I'm a dog lover, and that's not my idea of a good trade around a barbecue."
Mr Jackson says the lack of infrastructure and ability of dog shooters to process the meat to high enough standards would be the major hurdle for anyone looking to kick start a dog meat industry.
That's a hurdle the Kangaroo meat industry overcame and now, according to the federal Agriculture Department, more than 4000 tonnes of kangaroo meat is exported each year.
The industry employs more than 4000 people and kangaroo leather is becoming a popular leather alternative.
Only three percent of the country's kangaroo population is used for meat products in a system described by the federal government as 'sustainable'.