the Hon. Robert Hill
for the Environment and Heritage
CANBERRA ACT 2000
of the Dingo as a threatened species
recent slaughter of a very large number of one of the last genetically
pure populations of dingoes in Australia (on Fraser Island) has
prompted an overwhelming call by our member organisations to press
for better protection for dingoes, both from acts of State-sanctioned
cruelty and from the extreme and urgent threat of extinction.
will be aware that there is currently no national mechanism of
protecting animals from cruelty. Animal welfare is wholly the
responsibility of State Governments. As I am sure you are also
aware, many of the State/Territory animal welfare/prevention of
cruelty to animal Acts remain appallingly inadequate in terms
of their protection of animals which compete for resources that
are also valued by humans.
are a unique and wholly native breed of domestic dog, but they
currently receive virtually no protection, either from cruelty
under animal welfare legislation (because they are perceived to
be 'pests'), or from extinction under environmental legislation-presumably
because they are a breed rather than a species.
have suffered extreme persecution since most of them were forced
to become wild animals by the extermination of so many of their
companion humans during the early years of European settlement
of Australia. The impact of this persecution has been exacerbated
by interbreeding with introduced dog breeds, which has diluted
the gene pool. Only on a few offshore islands, such as Fraser
Island and in extremely remote areas of the mainland, is the breed
still genetically pure. Consequently, this ancient and extraordinary
beautiful canid is likely to disappear off the face of the Earth
within the first decade of the 21st Century.
a domestic dog, rather than a wholly wild animal, the dingo is
believed to have been in the Australian ecosystem for around 40
thousand years. Aside from it's own intrinsic value as the world's
oldest surviving domestic dog, the dingo's role in the ecosystem,
as the continent's only large land predator (other than humans)
is likely to be extremely significant. Although this role has
received little attention and is poorly understood, the precautionary
principle demands that this animal should be protected at least
until we have a better understanding of how the various anthropogenic
changes to the ecosystems of the continent over the last two hundred
years have altered the crucial predator/prey relationships within
understand that the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 2000 (clause 191) allows for any person to nominate
a threatened species for listing under the Act. We also understand
that there are precedents for the inclusion of sub-species in
the list of endangered and vulnerable species under the Act.
behalf of Animals Australia, I therefore formally nominate the
dingo as a threatened (sub) species under the EPBC Act.
of the Dingo as a threatened species
would also like to draw to your attention Australia's obligations
under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention
defines biodiversity as including variations within species and
biological resources and as including genetic resources (Preamble).
It obligates participating governments to:
biological resources important for the conservation of biodiversity
with a view to ensuring their conservation (Article 8c);
maintenance of viable populations in natural surroundings (Article
and maintain necessary legislation/regulation for the protection
of threatened species and populations (Article 8k).
We would be
grateful for your advice on any further steps we need to take
to support our nomination of the Australian dingo as a threatened
sub-species. We also urge you to take every other possible action
within your power to protect the Asutralian dingo from persecution,
cruelty and extinction.
As a Member
Group of Animals Australia, we fully support this initiative by
the Director Glenys Oogjes to have the dingo listed as a threatened
sub-species and urge all to write to the Minister.