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November news no. 2



Shooting Themselves in The Foot

You may recall duck shooters being so adamant they had been hard done by with their restricted 2021 bird shooting season, that they demanded all documents considered in the decision be tabled in parliament.

The documents were tabled.

And here's what they show which is perhaps why the hunt clubs fell silent:

  • The Head of Biodiversity at the Environment Department (DELWP), recommended further shooting restrictions, if not outright cancellation of the shooting season.

  • Total game duck abundance was well below long-term average and declined from the previous year despite better rain.

  • Breeding continued to be suppressed for a fourth consecutive year.

  • South Australia protected three of the game duck species: Blue-Winged Shoveler, Hardhead and Pink-eared Duck, due to low abundance. But Victoria dismissed advice from DELWP that the Hardhead met criteria for threatened species status and ignored evidence that the Pink-eared Duck had suffered serious decline in recent years.

  • Game bird numbers in NSW were less than half what they were five years ago.

  • In SA, the numbers of “game” ducks were only 25% of the long -term average, a 28% decline from the previous year.

  • In Victoria, GMA’s ground count of “game” ducks showed an 80% reduction from the previous year.

The tabled documents also showed other concerning issues:

  • Hunt clubs recommended a full shoot, irrespective of the damning science and of the fact they recommended a restricted shoot the previous year when bird numbers were higher. This obviously poses serious concerns about their regard for evidence or conservation.

  • The regulator’s initial proposed timeline for consideration of stakeholder submissions was just three business days, suggesting a pre-determined outcome.

  • The regulator’s recommendation to Ministers appears to have been delayed as its chair (a long time holder of a duck shooting licence himself) attempted to obtain the results of the trial helicopter data.

  • Leading scientists at DELWP advised against the use of this untested helicopter data due to its unreliability. In spite of this, and the clear evidence of the shocking decline in our waterbird indices, helicopter data was used to more than double the kill rate just months later. (RVOTDS have requested more information via FOI on this - stay tuned.)

The obvious question, is why the bird shoot went ahead at all.

Before the current "independent" regulator was established, bird shooting seasons were cancelled in 2003, 2007, and 2008, for less dire environmental conditions.

Looking ahead

People often ask us why we think recreational bird shooting persists in a “progressive” state, when most Victorians oppose it and other states have banned it due to cruelty. Theories abound. It’s the Premier- but does the Premier really dictate such issues? Does the rest of the Labor party not have a voice?

We were struck by the “Big Deal” expose on ABC TV featuring political donations to both sides of politics from cashed up lobby groups.

A still from the ABC TV's expose "Big Deal" Surely members of parliament would not make major policy decisions which affect our rural communities and struggling native wildlife, because of money from gun lobby groups, or their own personal connection to hunting. (We can name a number of Liberal and Nationals MPs who are members of hunt clubs, and we would welcome any tip offs regarding Labor MPs' connections with hunting). If influence by a seemingly demanding minority is the reason for continuing a cruel uneconomic activity, what sort of state are we living in? If WA, NSW, QLD and the ACT have the courage to ban duck shooting, why can’t Victoria? Most would agree with the statement by our Premier recently: ‘Politics is often about what you stand for and it's always about who you stand with,' - Premier Daniel Andrews (* Less than half of one percent of the population shoot ducks. Ongoing polls show most Victorians want the activity banned, with the latest poll showing the strongest support for a ban came from regional areas.)


Miss our November News Part 1? No problem, see it here.


For our beautiful birds who cannot speak for themselves, and the communities who love being home to them, we never rest. As a not for profit group of volunteers we greatly appreciate community support to help us continue our work thank you!


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