Another hunting riddle: the state government and duck shooting

A couple of years ago we expressed surprise at the apparently supine attitude of the state Labor government before the hunting lobby. It’s so called ‘deer strategy‘, for example,  was ‘more concerned to gratify the hunting lobby than to respond to an increasingly evident environmental mess. It is puzzling and depressing that the state government should be concerned to pander to this lobby, whose allies are actively campaigning against it in the state election.’

Another matter on which the government seems to be paralysed is duck shooting.

Recreational shooting of birds is banned in NSW, Queensland, WA and the ACT, but not in Victoria. FOBIF has lent its support to the letter below, signed by 42 conservation related groups:

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At their November 2019 conference, the Victorian Labor Party committed to review recreational native waterbird shooting in Victoria.

We call on the Andrews’ Government to honor their commitment.

Here’s why.

Cruelty. Numerous studies including by ballistics experts, show at least one in four of the hundreds of thousands of birds shot each year in Victoria will not be killed outright. Many will flap away to die a slow painful death elsewhere. Many others will live to suffer permanent injuries.

Sustainability. Populations of our native waterbirds – many species unique to our country – have been decimated. Allowing recreational native waterbird shooting is irresponsible if we care about biodiversity or leaving the next generation any hope of enjoying the birdlife we do today.

Biodiversity. Significant numbers of threatened and protected species are killed as collateral damage of Victoria’s recreational duck shooting seasons including Australia’s rarest waterfowl, the Freckled duck.

Safety. It is not possible to monitor the thousands of public waterways where recreational waterbird shooting is allowed, placing our wildlife and the public at risk. More people live around the waterways now than they did in the 1950’s and many have expressed fears about their personal safety during duck shooting.

Economics. Studies show there would be an economic benefit in banning the activity in Victoria, as it has already been banned in other states. With rural communities crying out for a financial lifeline and 866,000 domestic tourists engaging in birdwatching last year, it makes sense to protect our natural assets not kill them off.

Democracy. Less than half of one percent of the population shoot ducks. Meanwhile professional polls continue to show that the majority of Victorians – city and country – want duck shooting to end.

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