Our Submission - What the Media May Be Too Afraid to Publish!
Parliamentary Inquiry Hearings UpdatE:
Following the first hearing for the Inquiry into Native Bird Hunting in Victoria (see our summary of highlights), remaining hearings were equally insightful. Our summary of a few (with links to submissions):
RSPCA clarified that shot can pass through a bird and kill it – it doesn't need to have shot embedded in its little body to have died from shotgun pellets. Further, just the disturbance of gunfire can kill all manner of birdlife - not just "game" species.
Arthur Rylah Institute said it had only studied the impacts of disturbance on 32 species of 146 waterbirds, and that migratory shorebirds are “on a knife edge".
BirdLife Australia which has been conserving birds and their habitat since 1901 and now has over 330,000 members, warned: “More than 50 per cent of our waterbird species, including many of our game birds, have been in serious population decline since at least the 1980s, with some populations crashing by 90 per cent." “It's also occurring across formerly common species, including six of the eight game species that have traditionally been hunted in Victoria. These declines are happening with common waterbirds and they are happening with the birds that are already rare. We are right on the cusp of quite a crisis in our waterbird populations.“
The Australian Veterinary Association said (duck shooting is) “incongruent with our whole approach to animal welfare,” and “We also think that there are social and economic risks for Victorian society from the fact that practices like this do risk our reputation”.
And one of many hard-hitting comments by the Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group: “what we do not like is our cultural heritage being destroyed.”
Above: Illegally shot juvenile Great Crested Grebe found by volunteer rescuers in the 2023 duck shooting season.
Many other notable submissions include (summarised):
The Hon. Kelvin Thomson: “It is time that Victoria followed the example of other states and territories which have banned recreational bird shooting – Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. I particularly acknowledge the initiatives of former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, and former Western Australian Premier Carmen Lawrence, in this regard. Both have advised me that these initiatives have proved very successful.”
Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists Club: “In 1990 the Western Australian Premier Carmen Lawrence banned duck hunting in that state saying that: “Our community has reached a stage of enlightenment where it can no longer accept the institutionalised killing of native birds for recreation…We call on the committee to follow her lead and also ban this barbaric practice for once and for all in the State of Victoria.”
Countrywide Building Services: “Please stop the brutality and gun violence of duck shooting, there must be questions asked why it continues, the main body of population wants it banned”.
Friends of Mallacoota believe duck and quail hunting should be banned based on conservation and humane grounds.
Gippsland Environment Group called for the immediate end to recreational native bird hunting in Victoria, citing shocking statistics of safety incidents.
Goulburn Valley Environment Group, one of the peak environmental groups in northern Victoria, stated “the members of the Goulburn Valley Environment Group strongly support a permanent end to Victorian Native Bird Hunting”.
The Geelong Field Naturalists Club believes that Victoria should stop the "unnecessary and environmentally destructive activity of recreational duck shooting and quail hunting", citing concerns for safety, economic costs, animal ethics and environmental considerations.
Hamilton Field Naturalists Club: said the shooting is a "disincentive to the enjoyment of bird-watching and amenity of tourism".
There were too many excellent submissions for us to list them all - literally thousands. A few from individuals below (summarised):
John King “Why are we even debating this”?
Jill Thio “we're physically and psychologically drained for the duration of the “season”
Arthur Byrnes “I'm a long-time farmer and ex publican. Hunters bring us no joy”.
Of course more regional comments from our recent survey can be found here.
RVOTDS' Submission As far as own submission goes, as you may have read in The Age, it was a mammoth effort of about 200 volunteer hours. Heartfelt thanks to our Board, supporters, and volunteers, for their significant contributions which made this possible. Read our powerful submission content by clicking on the buttons below. We doubt you will see it anywhere else - because we wouldn’t blame the media for not being brave enough to report on much of this stuff!
(Respective attachments can be found on the Parliamentary website together with all hearings transcripts and published submissions. (NB a record 10,000+ submissions were received and not all are published yet.)
In the News:
We also thank the Weekly Times - the voice of the country - for publishing another piece by our Health & Safety Director:
Weekly Times Opinion Piece by RVOTDS