Small Farms

Release proposed for new rabbit virus

The National Biosecurity Committee have agreed that the national release of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV1) K5 is likely to take place in Spring 2016 or Autumn 2017 pending outcomes of approvals, consultation and further scientific advice.

Rabbits have major impacts on farming businesses and the environment. A draft report released by the Department of the Environment in late 2015 found that rabbits are a significant threat to biodiversity, affecting 304 nationally threatened plant and animal species. Rabbits also decrease agricultural productivity in excess of $200 million a year. A commitment to sustained and on-going management is imperative.

Rabbit numbers are increasing and an improved biological control agent in conjunction with a community-led response, using best practice rabbit management principles, is a unique opportunity to mitigate this damage. The national release of the new naturally occurring strain of RHDV1 K5 is part of a 20 year national bio-control plan to further control rabbits. The Invasive Animals CRC rabbit scientific committee are confident that RHDV1 K5 is safe, humane, has a wide reach and will reduce the number of feral rabbits in Australia.

For enquiries regarding rabbit management in your state or territory jurisdiction, please call or email your local land management authority. Details can be found via PestSmart Connect.

For more information visit the Invasive Animals CRC website.

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