Farmer concerned at proposed rules for working dogs
CLINT Burke can control the speed, movement and even bite of his working dogs.
However, he said he rarely allowed his dogs to bite and it was generally only for the dog's own protection.
"Cows can be dangerous," he said.
"They (dogs) will only bite when they are threatened. You don't want them biting too much because it will just stir the cattle up," he said.
Mr Burke is one of the many farmers working in the Mackay region who is concerned by the Animal Health Australia draft submission to ban working dogs from herding calves, or impose muzzles on dogs working sheep.
A lack of skilled labourers in the cattle industry has increased the use of trained working dogs on some properties.
For some farmers, struggling to find staff, working dogs are the next best option, he said.
Mr Burke runs about 50 head of cattle on his property north of Mackay, but often contract musters on larger properties.
He encouraged people to watch how mustering dogs worked with cattle and decide for themselves.
Farmers in the sheep and cattle industry have about 30 days left to have their say on the Animal Health Australia (AHA) draft submission.
AHA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mike Bond said it was important all interested parties contributed their comments on the draft standards.
Submissions close May 6.
"There have been some recent inaccurate reports about this process in the media which may have caused some confusion and misunderstanding amongst our members," Dr Bond said.
"The fact is there are three proposed standards that relate to the acceptable use of dogs for cattle and sheep handling. It's well accepted that farm working dogs are indispensable for cattle and sheep farmers."
Visit animalwelfarestandards.net.au for more information.