A WAR of words has erupted between city-slickers and rural Queenslanders after a photograph of a social feral pig hunt went viral online.
Hill MP Shane Knuth posted a photo of himself and Kennedy MP Bob Katter with a mound of dead pigs at the Currajah Hotel in Innisfail at the weekend and the response was immediate.
While North Queenslanders, who see pig hunting not only as a right of passage but a necessity on the land, praised the event, outraged southerners voiced their disgust, accusing the hunters of “murder”.
They called the hunters vile, disgusting and horrible and said the pigs should be left alone.
Instead of shooting them, it was suggested that they could all be relocated to a fence in agricultural property, somewhere.
Mr Knuth said 99.9 per cent of the protesters did not live in rural and regional Queensland and queried their stance as environmentalists.
“They're not friends of the environment and they're backers of the feral pig over the native flora and fauna and agriculture industry,” Mr Knuth said.
“It’s great to see the pig hunting enthusiasts in their own time and own expense eliminating Australia's greatest enviornmental disasters.
“Back in 2007 there was a recorded 20 million pigs, now we're up to 24 million and they’re becoming unstoppable.
“Years ago I called for a bounty to give the pig hunters incentives to hunt the pigs as they do this in their own time and expense.
“Not only that they contribute many dollars to the local community on vehicles, fuel, outdoor gear and equipment. Local pig hunters need permits to access national park because they're becoming a breeding frenzy and uncontrollable.”
Currajah Hotel owner Julie Doherty was bemused at the attention and said she had received a phone call from a woman in Adelaide who was scathing of the hunt.
It was the third time they have hosted a pig hunt and said it was an annual event.
This year, there was 15 nominated team, with a total of 42 entrants, including five females. The youngest participant was eight-years-old.
Participants had between 10am Thursday and the weigh in on Saturday to hunt for pigs on land where they had obtained permission in the area.
A total of 92 pigs weighing in at 3.7 tonnes were eliminated, with the biggest boar weighing 107.5kg and the largest sow 75.5kg.
Mr Knuth said he was proud to support the pig hunt as a measure to protect the environment.
“There was over three tonnes of pigs eliminated and this will save our native birds, cassowaries, hundreds if not thousands of turtles and hundreds of tonnes of crops.
“It must be acknowledged that these pigs can carry the panama TR4 and have the potential to destroy the $600 million banana industry.”