Pig dogging is the barbaric hunt of wild pigs using trained dogs. This method of hunting has a range of welfare issues for both the pigs and dogs involved. This article will focus on the pigs.
The terror experienced by the hunted pigs is almost impossible to imagine. They are tracked and singled out by dogs who are trained to catch and hold them by biting down on their ears, faces, and legs. Their screams – instead of sparking any empathy from the hunters – gives some hunters additional pleasure, causing them to encourage the dogs to continue to maul the pigs. When the hunter eventually knifes the pig, it is a horribly brutal death. We have witnessed many kills that have taken dozens of stabbings, almost as though the hunter is in a frenzy. Their deaths are followed by hunters jumping around, whooping and congratulating each other as though they have achieved something of note, something worthy of celebrating.
Sticking a pig is inhumane because it does not cause instantaneous death. It takes time for the pig to lose consciousness from a lack of oxygen to the brain following destruction of the heart.
Welfare of pigs
Wild pigs receive no protection against animal cruelty and are excluded from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, which states that:
2) A person must not:
(a) cause, procure, permit, encourage or incite a fight in which one or more animals are pitted against another animal or animals, whether of the same species or not.
If it is inhumane for other species, why is it not inhumane for pigs?
In addition to this, a person does not need a license to hunt pigs in NSW on private land. This means that hunters do not have to be registered.
When the dubious Game Council (funded by NSW citizens) was around, they would hold a pig dogging workshop. This was supposed to be the most “elite” training program and yet they used a rubber deer for people to practice stabbing. Majority of the time it’s just a bunch of people with knives and dogs who have no skills going out for a drunken time in the bush with the deaths of animals being their highlight.
From our research, we failed to find a single pig that was killed quickly. Instead of quickly ending their life, the hunter holds the pig by their back legs and lets the dogs chew on the pig, all while they are screaming for their lives. Every video shows that pig doggers are either completely incompetent or deliberately taking their time with their kill.
We have footage of a hunter cursing and swearing at a pig, stabbing her over and over and over. It was found after, that she was carrying babies. Can you imagine the horror for this pig, trying not only to save her own life but those inside her.
You only have to watch seconds to witness the cruelty.
Fight or Flight Response
Animals exhibit a fight or flight response when they experience danger or feel a threat. This is known as a stress responses, and encourages the body to respond to violent muscular action . Some examples are:
- Acceleration of heart and lung action
- Paling or flushing, or alternating between both
- Inhibition of stomach and upper-intestinal action to the point where digestion slows down or stops
- General effect on the sphincters of the body
- Constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body
- Liberation of nutrients (particularly fat and glucose) for muscular action
- Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
- Inhibition of the lacrimal gland (responsible for tear production) and salivation
- Dilation of pupil (mydriasis)
- Relaxation of bladder
- Auditory exclusion (loss of hearing)
- Tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision)
- Disinhibition of spinal reflexes
A pig that is being chased by dogs will first attempt to flee the situation once they realise they are in danger. If they are caught, they will attempt to fight off the dogs. Both reactions requires intense muscular effort, supported by all of the body’s systems.
What you can do
We understand that wild pigs are an introduced species, however, this does not justify the brutal deaths they are subjected to. Most people would be against activities that are purposefully harmful to animals. Many would also speak out against “sports” that pit animals against each other, such as dog-fighting. From this notion, we should be equally against pig dogging. You can help by:
- Supporting a ban on pig dogging;
- Sharing information about pig dogging with your friends and family;
- Writing to your local MP to support a ban on pig dogging.
- Demand the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare.