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Wounded blue billed duck, unique to Australia, threatened species.

Illegally shot freckled duck - unique to Australia.

Unique anatomies, highly susceptible to wounding and a long and painful death.

What Vets say

The first thing to consider is how a shotgun works. It fires multiple small pellets , greatly reducing accuracy but allowing a spread of pellets that increases the probability that something will be hit. 

When a bird is shot, unless the brain, heart or a major blood vessel are struck, the animal will die in one of the following ways.

  • Torn muscles / broken bones / damaged wings – the bird falls from a height at speed suffering impact damage causing extensive bruising / internal bleeding and possibly other broken bones. If the bird lands in water it will likely drown.

  • Birds have unique respirator anatomy; multiple air sacks not lungs. This increases the chance that the respiratory system is damaged leading to either a slow asphyxiation or the bird drowning in its own blood.

  • Damage to the beak / gastrointestinal tract, if the bird escapes it will die of starvation.

  • Damage to anywhere else on the body – infection, maggots and a slow painful death.

"Most hunters wouldn’t consider that because a bird dosen’t fall from the sky, doesn't mean it wasn’t hit.  A bird can be shot and continue flying, dying a slow lingering death at a different place and time.

Birds have a large silhouette compared to the area where their vital organs are, They also travel very fast. This means that the likelihood of an effective kill shot is reduced and the chances of an animal being severely maimed increase.

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.

Apart from the obvious environmental impact of large amounts of lead already ... in our waterways ... (and the) loss of native species and destruction of a range of species that are important to local ecosystems, this is a cruel and ineffective way to end any animal's life."     Veterinarian

There is ample evidence that birds feel pain, fear, shock and sorrow much like humans do. Many birds are monogamous and form life long pairs. When a bird is shot, its mate may never recover or find a new mate. The effects will hence ripple through a species.      

Prof. G. Kaplan.

It is estimated that up to 50% of birds will not be killed outright and die a slow and painful death.
RSPCA statement here.
Australian Veterinary Association statement here.

More pictures here.
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