When the season opens, our native waterbirds have their habitat brutally destroyed by the sound of gunfire. Defenceless birds take to the sky in fright and become targets for the shooters. But many birds don’t die instantly when pellets are sprayed into the air of their homes.
Approximately 1 in every 4 birds will not be killed instantly — left to suffer from injuries like broken wings, broken legs, pellets in vital organs and eyes. They will die a slow and cruel death by drowning, predators or infection.
Due to the indiscriminate nature of shooters, protected species are also shot at, killed and wounded each year. One protected species that is found shot every season is the Freckled Duck, one of the rarest waterbirds in the world and native to Australia.
Victoria is suffering drought conditions, with water abundance and breeding pairs showing significant decline. Six out of eight ‘game’ species show long-term decline. Some species risk being shot to extinction.
Shooters breaking the law is commonplace and widespread. The Game Management Authority
(GMA) has failed to enforce laws and regulation around recreational duck shooting. There are only 5 officers to monitor duck shooting activity in comparison with over one thousand locations shooting can take place. In 2017, a report called ‘The Pegasus Report’ was scathing of their effectiveness, and its recommendations have not been enacted. Their Manager of Compliance, a police officer of 34 years and Detective Senior Sergeant, quit in disgust at their inability and unwillingness to control duck shooters.
People don’t necessarily feel safe being outdoors when firearms are being discharged either. Furthermore, tourists looking for peaceful nature activities, or who love animals, will likely avoid areas where ducks are being shot.
Research by Tourism Research Australia has found that 50% of people will avoid regional towns during the duck shooting season, resulting in regional economies being impacted to appease a tiny (and dwindling) minority when our wetlands and regional areas could be thriving from nature-based tourism.
The good news is that duck shooter numbers have decreased substantially over the past two decades. Now is the time to finally ban this barbaric slaughter and utilise our unique wetlands as conservation and eco-tourism hubs to boost and grow our regional economies.
I have wasted no time since being elected at the end of 2018 and have already tabled a bill in the parliament to ban duck shooting. Soon, I will be progressing it further.
In the meantime, I have been loading the government with evidence, data and important information to show the support for a ban, including using my spots in parliament to ask questions and hold them to account. I am campaigning in the community, getting the issue in the media whenever I can, attending duck rescue and I have also been successful in getting certain wetlands closed to shooting when threatened species are sighted.
In announcing the ban on duck shooting in Queensland, Premier Peter Beattie said:
“There will be no more duck and quail hunting in Queensland … It’s time to ban the recreational shooting of ducks and quail. This is not an appropriate activity in contemporary life in the Smart State.”
It’s time we did the same. Shooting defenceless animals in the name of ‘sport’ is no longer acceptable by the broader community.
Write to the key ministers and The Premier who can put a stop to this cruelty and ensure another season never goes ahead.
Let them know your support for a complete ban on duck shooting.
The Hon Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hon Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development: email@example.com
The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Environment and Climate Change: lily.d’firstname.lastname@example.org
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