Girringun Aboriginal Corporation held the Inaugural First Nations Dingo Forum bringing together over 100 First Nations People from all around the country to discuss current dingo management practices. Image @onthefence_film
Indigenous communities across Australia are calling for the immediate cessation of lethal dingo control measures, following the first-ever national dingo forum that took place in Cairns on Friday and Saturday.
A national dingo declaration signed by representatives from more than 20 First Nations groups says “lethal control should never be an option.”
“We do not, and have never, approved the killing of dingoes.” the statement reads.
“Killing dingoes is killing family. We demand an immediate stop to this ‘management’ across Australia.
“Dingoes are genetically, physically, and behaviourally different to domestic dogs, and must not be treated as such.”
The consensus statement emerges in response to a letter from numerous scientists to the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia last month.
These scientists advocated for policy adjustments in dingo management, citing recent scientific findings that indicate the genetic purity of the majority of dingoes.
“The dingo is a cultural icon representing a vital connection to Country whose significance cannot be put into words,” the statement reads.
“Dingoes remain deeply embedded in the daily lives of First Nations peoples as companions, hunting partners, protectors, and family members.
“We do not support the term ‘wild dog’.. it is a deliberate misrepresentation to justify killing.”
Dingoes hold the classification of native species across all jurisdictions on the Australian mainland.
However, certain national parks employ lethal control measures, such as trapping, aerial shooting, and ground shooting, in their management of dingoes.
Girringun Aboriginal Corporation members with a signed dingo declaration by those in attendance over the weekend. Image @onthefence_film
The Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, the organiser of the national First Nations dingo forum, serves as the representative body for nine traditional owner groups located in the far north of Queensland.
Sonya Takau, a Communications Officer with GAC, said that history was made over the weekend.
“We’ve made a very serious declaration to government, and we hope that they will commence communication with us and bring us to the table with other stakeholders to have a say,” she said.
“We understand that farmers, particularly sheep and goat farmers, will be concerned about protecting their livestock from predation by dingoes.
“But we want to work alongside landholders to adopt readily available non-lethal solutions.”