Ducks and other native waterbirds have the right to enjoy their lives in peace – without being injured or killed for the sake of “entertainment” or someone’s misguided idea of “sport”.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “sport” as a skilful and entertaining activity in which “an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. Clearly, using a high-powered rifle to blast a defenceless animal out of the sky doesn’t fit that definition in any way.
Savagery, Not Sport
Three states in Australia have banned duck hunting on cruelty grounds, but it’s still permitted in South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria as well as in private rice fields in New South Wales.
Every year in Victoria, around 300,000water birds are blasted out of the sky, all for the sake of “sport”. For each bird killed outright, another is wounded and left to die slowly and in agony.
The RSPCA has stated that from an animal-welfare perspective, it’s worse for animals to escape from hunters with an injury than to be killed outright, because their suffering is prolonged.
Our community has reached a stage of enlightenment where it can no longer accept the institutionalised killing of native birds for recreation.
– Dr Carmen Lawrence, former Premier of Western Australia
Violent, Unnecessary Deaths
Many hunters say they only kill what they can eat, but discoveries of pits filled with whole dead birds in past years tell the truth.
“Bag limits” are supposed to dictate the number of birds each hunter can kill in a day and hunters are supposed to retrieve all ducks shot, but an independent review of the Game Management Authority found “commonplace and widespread noncompliance with hunting laws” and that the Authority’s own staff felt unable to ensure compliance or sanction wrongdoing.
Cruelty, Not Conservation
Surveys have shown that the wetlands are in long-term decline. Hunting further reduces the breeding adult duck population, exacerbating the problem.
Although hunters are supposed to complete a test to demonstrate that they can identify duck species, many of the birds killed and wounded each year are endangered and legally protected species, such as the rare freckled duck. Other birds, including black swans, may be so traumatised by the sound of gunfire that they fly around for hours until they collapse, exhausted.