By Alexandra Schultz

The State Government’s announcement to legalise bat culling has been labelled “a joke” by  Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland.

Louise Saunders at a bat conservation centre
Louise Saunders speaking to media at a bat conservation centre this morning

The Association’s president Louise Saunders (pictured) told media today that allowing bats to be shot by farmers who receive a planned permit is inhumane and that exclusion netting is the answer to the destruction of crops currently concerning many Queensland farmers.

“This policy that they’re about to introduce is a joke,” she said.

“Bats are one of the most important animals in Australia for their role in seed dispersal as well as pollination.

“If we remove our flying foxes as pollinators, we may as well say goodbye to the bush.”

Ms Saunders said that debate fuelled around claims these large bat populations are posing a risk of passing on Hendra virus to nearby communities is simply untrue.

“We are the living proof that you cannot get Hendra virus from flying foxes,” she said.

“It’s about being safe with horses.”

RSCPA Queensland spokesman Michael Beattie agrees culling bats is not the way to address the issue.

“There’s no proof that it actually is effective,” he said.

Mr Beattie suggested the lack of natural habitat surrounding towns with large bat populations is to blame.

“The reason we’re having all these problems is that the habitats outside of the towns have been destroyed,” he said.

However, both Bat Conservation Queensland and the RSPCA are keen to meet with farmers to speak about alternative solutions.

“We’d really like the opportunity now to sit down with the state government and all interested parties,” Mr Beattie said.

“Let’s try and think outside the square.”

Michael Beattie speaking to media
Spokesman for RSPCA Qld, Michael Beattie, says there's no proof bat culling is effective.