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Keywords:

  • N57;
  • Q16;
  • Q27;
  • Q57
  • Australia;
  • biological control;
  • economic benefit;
  • livestock industry;
  • rabbit

Wild European rabbits are serious agricultural and environmental pests in Australia; myxoma virus and rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus have been used as biocontrol agents to reduce impacts. We review the literature on changes in rabbit numbers together with associated reports on the economic benefits from controlling rabbits on agricultural production. By using loss–expenditure frontier models in with and without biocontrol scenarios, it is conservatively estimated that biological control of rabbits produced a benefit of A$70 billion (2011 A$ terms) for agricultural industries over the last 60 years. The consequences for ongoing rabbit control and research investment are discussed.