Farmers struggling after years of drought and floods could save millions of dollars in farm costs if NSW allowed controversial virtual fences to be set up on rural properties, a state MP says.
Orange MP Philip Donato on Friday called on state agriculture minister Dugald Sanders to reform animal welfare legislation to permit "virtual stock fencing", which is banned due to animal cruelty concerns.
The call comes after Mr Dugald told parliament this week he would consider legalising the technology as part of a reform process for animal welfare legislation.
Mr Donato said the tech, which uses collars to shock animals that go out a designated area, could save up to $500,000 on a farm with 50km of boundaries by removing fencing needs.
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP said the tech also helped with rotational grazing and stopping stock theft.
He said making the devices legal would represent a lifeline to many farmers who suffered through years of drought and were now battling floods.
"There's huge benefits for farmers and it'd be a real game-changer for them," he told AAP.
"It's no crueller than electric cattle prods that farmers use to move cattle in yards."
But Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst described the proposal as "absurd and barbaric", saying the devices were banned because they were cruel.
"What we are talking about here is a proposal to give animals electric shock collars that are currently illegal due to animal cruelty concerns," she said.
"These shock collars create an acute stress and pain response in animals, and when used long-term, can lead to anxiety and chronic stress, which is why they are opposed by animal protection groups like the RSPCA."
Ms Hurst said the government shouldn't be considering the "ridiculous" proposal and the agriculture minister had an inherent conflict of interest as he was responsible for both animal protection legislation and agribusiness promotion.
Mr Dugald's office has been contacted for comment.
Australian Associated Press
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