Pig hunting and use of dogs
The use of dogs when pig hunting is regulated under a number of Victorian Acts, in particular the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. Many of the pig hunting activities that are shown on the internet, on television and described in Australian pig hunting magazines and elsewhere are not permitted in Victoria. These include the methods by which pigs are killed and the ways in which dogs are used in pig hunting.
Sticking pigs with a knife or similar instrument is not permitted, unless this is being done to bleed out the pig after it has been killed humanely, for example by the humane use of a firearm. This sort of activity is subject to large penalties, under section 9 (cruelty) and section 10 (aggravated cruelty) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Use of dogs
The Domestic Animals Act 1994 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, including the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Hunting (revision 1), restrict the use of dogs in pig hunting to flushing the pigs from cover and pointing. Flushing is when the dog finds the pig and drives it from a hiding place. Pointing is when a dog stops and points its muzzle in the direction of the pig.
Dogs must not be permitted to chase pigs down or 'hit up' on a pig. It is illegal to cut off the ears of live pigs to make them more 'challenging' for dogs to hold. In fact, dogs must not be used to hold pigs by their ears (lugging) or any other part of their bodies at all. Dogs must not be permitted to injure or maim pigs in any way, while the pigs are still alive. Dogs must not be allowed to fight a pig. All of these activities are illegal. It is also illegal to train dogs for these purposes. These activities are regularly described in pig hunting literature but are not permitted in Victoria, due to the welfare impacts on both pigs and dogs. Hunted pigs are to be killed humanely and hunting dogs must not be used in ways that will subject them to the types of injuries that occur in these illegal pig hunting activities.
Illegal release of pigs
It is illegal to release pigs for the purpose of providing hunting opportunities, and there are heavy penalties for this under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
The relevant sections of the Acts and the maximum penalties that can be applied if a person is prosecuted are:
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986
Section 9 Cruelty, 9(a), 9(c), 9(h): 246 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months for a person, or, in the case of a body corporate, 600 penalty units.
Section 10 Aggravated Cruelty: 492 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years for a person, or, in the case of a body corporate, 1200 penalty units.
Section 13 Baiting and Luring: 240 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years or for a person, in the case of a body corporate, 1200 penalty units.
Domestic Animals Act 1994
Section 28 Setting or urging a dog to attack: 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 6 months for a person.
Section 28A Training dogs to attack: 60 penalty units or imprisonment for 3 months.
Section 29 Dog attacks: 40 penalty units.
Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994
Section 75A(4) Release of established pest animal: 60 penalty units.
One penalty unit is currently $151.67.