Wildlife management and conservation practices are frequently controversial; often creating debate within the community. The control of vertebrate pests presents researchers and policy makers alike with a range of choices. We are often forced to ask fundamental questions concerning community acceptance of various pest management practices. Assessment of general community attitudes cannot be easily undertaken as few organisations can claim to represent the entire community.
If we are to justify our actions with reference to the “public interest”, it is appropriate that we attempt to develop some process whereby we may assess community expectations. The Vertebrate Pest Research Department (Victorian Institute of Animal Science) believes that, as part of a strategic approach to the research and development of pest control strategies and technologies, current community attitudes should be considered.
This survey was developed and executed as an attempt to canvas such attitudes, as an integral part of the strategic planning process. The authors acknowledge that any survey technique cannot reveal totally objective and unbiased data concerning community attitudes. It is also important that we accept that a survey such as this is more concerned with “perception” rather than “fact”. Consequently it must be accepted that we have recorded responses which are greatly influenced by the recipients’ understanding of terminology and issues contained in the survey. There is little to be gained by asking, for instance, if the respondents had a clear understanding of such terms as “humane” and “biological control” or could differentiate a Common Mynah from a Starling.
It is “perception” that this survey was concerned with and not if respondents shared a similar scientific understanding of such terms and concepts. It is hoped that the information contained in this report will be used by both government and non-government organisations who are involved in pest management to serve both conservation and agricultural objectives.
|Author||Johnston, M.J. and Marks, C.A.|
|Secondary title||Report Series No.3|
|Publisher||Department of Natural Resources and Environment, V|
|Department||Vertebrate Pest Research Unit|