While domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry have been bred and reared specifically as farm animals for many centuries, wild animals have by definition not been domesticated and are often unsuited to a captive farm environment. In addition, there is much less known about the health, husbandry, care and management of non-traditional farm animals which can make it very difficult to meet their needs and provide an adequate standard of welfare.
There have been a number of attempts to farm both introduced and native wildlife in Australia, such as emus, ostriches, deer and crocodiles. Some of these have resulted in the development of a viable industry, while others have ended in the failure of farms and significant welfare problems for the animals involved.
For these reasons, RSPCA Australia is opposed to the farming of wild native or introduced animals except where such animals:
- are clearly suitable for farming
- can be looked after relatively easily, and can adapt to living and breeding in captivity
- can be caught, transported and slaughtered humanely, and without causing distress
- pose no health or public safety risks to humans or other animals.
Where introduced animals that can pose a threat to native flora and fauna, such as deer and goats, are farmed, farmers must be required to account for their animals and ensure they have adequate fencing and breeding controls to minimise the risk of escape and the establishment of a wild population.