More than 200 hunters from across eastern Australia flocked to the central Queensland town of Dingo on Saturday for a feral pig-hunting competition. The inaugural Hogs N Dogs event saw the hunters spending two nights in the bush, hoping to bag a bunch of prize-winning pigs as part of a Dingo State School fundraiser which aimed to raise money for the drought-affected town.
Hundreds of the pigs were shot over the course of the two nights, the ABC reports—most of which were subsequently piled into the back of a semi-trailer and trucked off to Koorana Crocodile Farm. After being minced, the pigs are expected to feed 1,000 baby crocodiles for three months.
"The pig meat is by far the best food you can get for baby crocodiles," said farm owner John Lever. "They find it very palatable.”
Between the pigs, the piggers, the crocs, the trucks, and the dust-blown town of Dingo, Hogs N Dogs sounds like a melting pot of peak Australian stereotypes. But the idea is that this competition, by bringing hundreds of people in from far and wide to kill pigs, might solve three problems at once for the local community.
The first problem is the pigs. Louise Dunne, a grazier and teacher in Dingo, told the ABC that "there's an estimated 24 million pigs in Australia and every year there's estimated to be over $100 million worth of damage to crops and infrastructure and the environment." Ian Pedracini, a pigger who drove more than seven hours to participate in the big hunt, complained that the feral animals “kill my calves, they wreck all my water lands… they walk the river systems, spreading seed, wrecking everything, eating frogs, eating turtles—they just make a big mess."
The second problem is the hungry crocodiles, which reap the benefits of the Hogs N Dogs event by eating the spoils of the hunt. "When we've boned [the pigs] out, we're left with rib cages and back bones,” said John, the crocodile farm owner. “Certainly the rib cages, we put those through the bandsaw and make strips of ribs, and that's an ideal food for the adult crocodiles."
Perhaps the most pressing problem, though, is the morale of people in Dingo, who haven't seen meaningful rain in months.
"We really needed this day—we really needed, as a community, to boost each other's morale," said Ms Dunne. "It is dry, we're all struggling, but a day like this is a positive all round."