Bad News, Queenslanders: Ferrets Are Still Very Much Highly Illegal

Fellow Queenslanders, I have some extremely bad news: ferrets continue to be extremely illegal within the bounds of our beautiful state.

As any ferret enthusiasts reading will surely already know, the humble ferret has been demonised and ostracised in the state of Queensland for a long time (since 1985, according to the very trustworthy looking Queensland Ferret Welfare Society), and unfortunately it doesn’t look like there’s any chance of that changing anytime soon.

114 concerned Queenslanders signed petition 2763-17, which put forth that it’s unfair that Queensland would be singled out like this:

Queensland citizens draws (sic) to the attention of the House that it is illegal to own ferrets in Queensland and the Northern Territory but not the rest of Australia.

Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to legalise the ownership of ferrets as pets in Queensland.

A convincing point, and well made, but apparently not enough to convince Mark Furner MP, Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries. In a letter sent to the clerk of the house today, Furner made the case that the animals still represent a significant environmental threat:

Scientific risk assessments are used worldwide as a method of predicting an exotic animals invasiveness potential. A risk assessment completed by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, through Biosecurity Queensland, found that ferrets could establish wild populations in Queensland and are an extreme threat species. There is also a national agreement that rates ferrets as being highly likely to establish wild populations in Australia and become a pest of agriculture, the environment and public amenity.

Having also been described as a pest of agriculture, the environment, and public amenity, I have nothing but sympathy for the much-maligned rodent. You can read the entire letter here, which outlines pretty soundly why it’s a bad idea. But, still. I want a damn pet ferret. (I would call it Bryan Ferret.)