Victoria’s new “outdoor gathering” rules will allow hunters in groups of 10 or fewer to shoot ducks. This news is disappointing and dangerous.
The decision means that vulnerable waterbirds – already threatened by persistent drought and bushfires – will be chased and shot out of the sky.
For each bird killed, another is wounded and will die slowly in terror and agony. When mother birds are shot, ducklings – who are dependent on them for the first two months of their lives – die of cold or starvation or are eaten by predators.
For many years, surveys have shown that the nation’s wetlands are in long-term decline. However, it wasn’t this issue or cruelty to animals that delayed the start of this year’s duck hunting season – it was enforced physical distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ironically, COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease that originated because of humanity’s abuse and slaughter of wild animals. It’s surreal that Australians are once again hunting animals while we’re still in the midst of a zoonotic pandemic.
We should all be calling on the premier to reverse this outrageous decision. It’s time for duck shooting to be banned in Victoria outright. This year’s season should be cancelled.