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Labor's new promise to protect our animals & modernise Victoria.

The Andrew's government yesterday announced a welcome new plan to protect our animals and modernise Victoria, "recognising the sentience of animals" and "reflecting strong evidence that animals experience pleasure, comfort, fear and pain."

The Minister says it is important "the welfare of all animals is protected".

The plan's Vision and Purpose are admirable. The test of our Ministers' commitment however, will be in what happens now.

For Victoria to have a "good reputation for how animals are treated", we must follow the lead of other states who have long banned the shooting of native waterbirds due to its inherent cruelty and a preference instead for the proven economic benefits of nature tourism.

In Victoria, less than 0.4% of the population shoot our native waterbirds (GMA license statistics) while over 87% want it banned (Morgan Poll).

With birds proven to feel pain, fear, shock and sorrow including over the loss of a loved one (many form life long bonds), we look forward to the Andrews government promptly banning any further bird shooting season in Victoria.

What the vets say;

" A shotgun fires multiple small pellets, greatly reducing accuracy but allowing a spread of pellets that increases the probability a target will be hit.

Unless the brain, heart or a major blood vessel are struck, the animal will die in one of the following ways; (It is estimated at least 25% of birds shot will suffer this fate).

Torn muscles / broken bones / damaged wings – causing falls from a height at speed suffering impact damage; extensive bruising / internal bleeding and more broken bones. If the bird lands in water it will most likely drown. • Due to birds' unique respiratory anatomy (multiple airsacs instead of lungs), either a slow asphyxiation or the bird drowning in its own blood. • Damage to the bill / gastrointestinal tract, leading to starvation and death. • Damage to anywhere else on the body bringing infection, maggots and a slow painful death.

Many shooters may never consider that because a bird does not fall from the sky following a shot does not necessarily mean it was not hit. A bird can be shot and continue flying, suffering a slow lingering death at a different location and time.

Using a shotgun on ducks is as flawed as using a bus to run over a flock of chickens as a method of slaughter. Death is not guaranteed and there will most likely be heavily maimed individuals that will die a slow painful death.

This is a cruel and ineffective way to end any animals life."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

The action plan sets a new benchmark for animal welfare that reflects community expectations around how animals are treated. We know Victorians care about animal welfare and so does the Andrews Labor Government."

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