An Upper House MP is set to make a complaint to Tasmania’s police commissioner alleging evidence of foxes in the state has been fabricated.
Ivan Dean is claiming fox carcasses and other physical evidence was planted, and tens-of-millions of dollars was wasted on the fox eradication program.
“It’s up to somebody to take this matter forward … I’m now going to take the matter to the police department and to the commissioner Darren Hine,” Mr Dean said.
The former Labor government spent about $ 50 million of state and federal funds on a taskforce to eradicate foxes in Tasmania.
Mr Dean has alleged the evidence relied upon to continue that taskforce was faked.
“If you look at every piece of physical evidence that’s been produced over the last fourteen years you will find it all falls apart, it’s all questionable,” he said.
“I will be referring to all of the carcasses that have been produced … the skull will be referenced as well, the scats are also very critical to this whole thing as well.”
Two recent independent scientific reports utilising government data found it was likely evidence of fox scats and carcasses could have been planted.
I will be referring to all of the carcasses that have been produced…the skull with be reference as well, the scats are also very critical to this whole thing.
MLA Ivan Dean
A skull, fox DNA blood, and four fox carcasses found between 2001 and 2006 were included as evidence of foxes in the state.
Veterinary pathologist David Obendorf is one of a group of independent scientists who has written reports and published journal articles disputing the veracity of fox evidence, including scats and all four carcasses.
“Our reports have contested the credibility of the evidence of those carcasses being from Tasmania, actually animals that lived in Tasmania and died in Tasmania,” he said.
An example of an alleged discrepancy was found after Mr Obendorf reviewed pathology reports and the histology for a fox found in 2006.
“The claim was that this was a freshly dead fox that had been killed at 9:30 on the morning of August 1 but once I had seen the slides that were cut from this animal … I could see the body had putrefied, it decomposed so rapidly with the invasion of bacteria,” he said.
“The animal was breaking down and this breakdown process could not have occurred in the period of time between when they claim the animal was found and when they did the autopsy.”
Mr Dean has seized on the reports to back up his complaint.
“The position I have is if there is corruption, unlawful behaviour, we’ve got to bring that out … It’s got to be investigated in my opinion, to bring it to an end,” he said.
But he has not speculated on what laws may have been broken.
“In the report that I will be submitting to the Commissioner of Police, I will providing names of persons that I have, that have been connected with, certain pieces of evidence that have been produced,” he said.
Both major political parties have been criticised for not investigating the claims.
The Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said his Government had “abolished Labor’s fox program, which spent millions chasing just one species”.
“Scientific opinion is for the scientific community to debate,” Mr Rockliff said.
“Individuals are free to make complaints to police or the Integrity Commission if they so wish,” he said.
The Labor Opposition has been contacted for comment.
Topics: law-crime-and-justice, pests, pest-management, tas