Warning: this article may contain images and content that some may find distressing.
Areas from Central Queensland to central and northern New South Wales and western Victoria have become overrun with mice during the last six months destroying crops and even resulting in houses being burnt down.
Although many farmers have turned to industrial chemicals that have been approved by the New South Wales government, an NSW farmer named Andrew Jones has taken a more controversial method.
In a TikTok video shared by Jones, dozens of mice can be seen falling from a grain conveyor belt into a flaming barrel. Some of the mice manage to escape and scurry away but many fall into the fire.
Jones reportedly found the mice feeding on food in a piece of farm machinery and decided to take matters into his own hands. His video has already been viewed more than six million times on TikTok but his methods haven’t gone down well.
Many have called his approach ‘inhumane’ and ‘messed up,’ with one person adding: “I think there are several methods of removal. Doing this is a demonstration of animal cruelty.”
However, some did agree with him even if his method was ‘brutal.’ One person wrote: “Seems cruel but the huge mice population is absolutely warfare. They’re destroying all the…crops and houses. Anything to stop them.”
Amid the backlash, Jones responded to one person who asked if he could kill them more ‘humanely?’ In response, he said: “So baiting them is humane? They die slowly over time...drowning them is humane. Give me a humane way to kill them and I’ll do it.”
So far efforts to contain the mice have been unsuccessful with reports of poison being used by farmers sadly resulting in the death of dogs and native birds.
Animal rights group PETA has suggested that a catch and release approach might be the best way to deal with the mice but even they have conceded that a lethal response might be necessary given the magnitude of the problem.
The NSW government have announced that farmers will be given access to a treatment that can turn their crops into mouse bait that they can use on the perimeter of their goods.