Coalition Against Duck Shooting
2017 Articles

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Shooting lobby calls on Victorian government to penalise duck hunters who act illegally

Thursday 30 March 2017Calla Wahlquist

Calla Wahlquist

Calla is a reporter for Guardian Australia.

The shooting lobby has called on the Victorian government to increase efforts to catch and penalise duck hunters who act illegally after footage of a pit containing almost 200 dead ducks was released by animal rights activists.

The video was filmed by a volunteer for the Coalition Against Duck Shooting on 19 March, a day after the Victorian duck season opened, and released by the ABC’s 7.30 program on Wednesday.

It showed one of the coalition’s volunteers, Luke Milroy, turning up dead ducks by the shovelful from two pits at the Korrangie state game reserve near the Murray River, about 300km north-west of Melbourne.

It comes after the Game Management Authority (GMA) issued a statement condemning the illegal and unethical actions of some shooters on opening weekend, a statement that did not include reference to the buried ducks.

The Victorian branch of the Sporting Shooters Association Australia (SSAA) and Field and Game Australia both issued statements condemning illegal and unethical shooting, saying the “actions of a few” put the whole sport in jeopardy.

SSAA Victoria development manager, David Laird, said on Thursday they had not received official notice from the GMA of the piles of dead ducks allegedly buried by illegal hunters, but that “any illegal activity in relation to hunting is distressing for the association and its members, who have worked very hard to secure the future of their sport over many years”.

“Having said that, more than 2,000 duck hunters were in the Kerang area on opening morning, and thousands more were hunting across the state, so we need to put this into perspective,” Laird said, adding that the vast majority of duck hunters were “decent, honest, responsible and law-abiding people”.

Laird said duck hunters would support the GMA putting more effort and resources into enforcing existing hunting legislation, and suggested that effort had instead gone toward those who oppose duck hunting.

“Information to hand indicates that the most of GMA’s enforcement effort on the opening weekend went towards dealing with protesters,” he said. “Charging the small number of hunters acting illegally and confiscating their firearms on the spot would have a much greater and more immediate effect on protecting non-game species than all the protestors’ antics.”

Coalition Against Duck Shooting founder Laurie Levy said Milroy found the pit while looking for shot and injured ducks in the reserve, which includes Lake Bael and an area collectively known as the Marshes, on the Sunday of opening weekend.

All of the 198 birds in the pit were game species, that is, birds which are legally able to be shot by someone who holds a game shooter’s license, and none of them had been “breasted” or had the meat removed.

The video shows Milroy and another volunteer sorting through the pile, listing off the species they found.

“They’re all whole,” he said. “Pinky (pink-eared duck), teal (a grey or chestnut teal), teal, hardhead, teal, hardhead, wood duck, teal. Another wood duck, whole.”

Duck rescuers, as they are called by animal rights groups, or protesters, as they are called by duck shooters, spent opening weekend filming shooters at popular game reserves across Australia to monitor whether they exceeded their catch and to collect dead or injured birds left behind by hunters.

They said they had never before found them buried in such numbers.

“This is a travesty … it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in 21 years of duck rescue,” Milroy said on the video, released to Guardian Australia by Animals Australia. “This is a waste. The whole idea that they hunt for food is a complete and utter joke. It’s all about fun.”

A spokesman for GMA said its enforcement officers were focused on enforcing hunting laws and “protecting public safety by ensuring protestors didn’t obstruct legal hunting or put themselves in harm’s way”. They said the majority of hunters and protesters were on the other side of the wetlands to where the pits were found, and suggested they were dug later.

“GMA officers did not miss this on the weekend as we understand the pits weren’t there at the time,” he said. “We have reliable information that two hunters collected these ducks from the shoreline and water, along with other rubbish on the Monday and buried them in order to clean up the camp site.” The GMA is reviewing the footage.

Hunters are allowed to collect a maximum of 10 birds per hunter per day for every day of the 12 week season, a significant increase from the restricted bag limits imposed in the 2016 duck hunting season.

Compliance officers from the GMA conduct random searches to catch hunters exceeding their bag limit, and were present alongside police officers at the Korrangie game reserve for opening weekend.

Levy said the presence of GMA officers did not deter hunters from acting illegally. “I was standing beside police officers and the GMA top brass and the gunshots were ringing out,” he said. “It was like a warzone for the first 20 minutes, and that was before the opening of the duck season. They (police and GMA officers) heard it, they were embarrassed, and they knew there was nothing they could do about it.”

Levy said he waded into the marsh to retrieve an injured duck a short time later and received a $930 fine for being in the water without a permit before 10am.

GMA issued 43 infringement notices to hunters on opening weekend, including seven for failing to have a valid gun licence, four for failing to retain a wing on a duck (for identification purposes) and one for shooting early.

They also issued 15 infringements to hunters who left campfires unattended, three for littering and one for failing to comply with the Firearms Act.

One hunter is being investigated for illegally taking a protected species.

GMA issued a press release last week in response to the actions of hunters at First Marsh in Korrangie, who it said had begun shooting early, failed to correctly identify their target and failed to pick up spent cartridges.

“Birds were left in the water, including significant numbers of protected species such as threatened Freckled and Blue-billed ducks,” the GMA chief executive, Greg Hyams, said. “Several hunters also commenced shooting half an hour before the season opened.”

Haymes said hunters were also “taking excessively long shots” that left birds wounded rather than killed, adding “some made no attempt to recover downed birds and kept shooting”.

“There is no excuse for not knowing the law, or for hunting in unethical, unsustainable and inhumane ways,” he said.

The Korrangie game reserve has since been closed to hunting, which the GMA said was due to the presence of significant numbers of threatened duck species and not illegal hunting activities. “It’s too late, the ducks are already dead,” said Levy.

He said volunteers collected more than 1,200 waterbirds that had been shot and left behind by hunters over opening weekend and displayed them outside the offices of the premier, Daniel Andrews, and the agriculture minister, Jaala Pulford.

In a statement on Thursday, a spokesman for Pulford said there was “no excuse for not knowing the law, or for hunting in unethical, unsustainable and inhumane ways”.

“We respect the fact that many people have deeply held and divergent views about duck hunting,” he said. “However, the government recognises that hunting is a legitimate recreational activity, provided the rules are followed.”

Both Animals Australia chief executive Glenys Oogjes and Levy have called for the Victorian government to introduce mandatory target shooting accuracy tests and a yearly waterfowl identification test to reduce the number of birds left injured or dying. Currently hunters are required to pass a waterfowl identification test once to get their licence, but their shooting accuracy is never tested.


Read the original article here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/30/shooting-lobby-calls-on-victorian-government-to-penalise-duck-hunters-who-act-illegally

Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin on the truth about duck hunting

Wednesday 29 March 2017


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/29/brenda-the-civil-disobedience-penguin-on-the-truth-about-duck-hunting

Hunt plea for tourists

Friday, February 3, 2017


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2017 Media Releases

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Media Release

COALITION AGAINST DUCK SHOOTING

MEDIA RELEASE                                          Friday 24 March, 2017

Calls for Minister to resign as the Kerang bird massacre continues to grow
Another 437 dead native waterbirds to be delivered to Jaala Pulford’s office
After being given millions of taxpayers’ dollars, hunters embarrass Minister

Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said: “Another 437 birds have been recovered this week, including 44 threatened Freckled Ducks, from last weekend’s massacre at the Marshes in northwest Victoria, which is recognised as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

“The total number of illegally shot Freckled Ducks now stands at 112.

“The latest find takes the total number of birds gunned down in the opening weekend shooting spree to 1,247 -- and this was from just one of Victoria’s wetlands. What happened on other wetlands?

“This is even bigger than the Box Flat massacre in 2013, presided over by the Nationals’ Peter Walsh

“After comments by the minister that duck shooters were well-behaved this year, we believe that Jaala Pulford should accept responsibility for the carnage and resign. It would be the honourable thing to do,” Levy said.

“Rescuers on Tuesday went back to the site of the slaughter and discovered a large burial pit that contained 198 dead birds.

“After receiving millions of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars from the Andrews Government last year, duck shooters have embarrassed their minister by going on a wild shooting spree. Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford will now be remembered for presiding over Victoria’s largest massacre of native waterbirds.

“The Andrews Government had ignored requests to close this wetland to shooting to protect the threatened species. Unfortunately Minister Pulford refused to listen to the expert advice from top scientific bird and animal groups, instead preferring to take advice from the pro-hunting Game Management Authority and duck shooters,” Levy said.

Minister Pulford had previously commented that “Duck shooting is not everyone’s cup of tea”. Her statement is correct, as 99.6 per cent of Victorians do not shoot native waterbirds.

“If ‘Visit Victoria’ is thinking about establishing nature-based tourism in regional Victoria, then the uncontrolled slaughter of native waterbirds on our wetlands must be banned for all time.

“It’s difficult to understand how Minister Pulford can blindly close her eyes to the pain and suffering native waterbirds are forced to endure, when most Victorians are appalled by this recreational cruelty,” Levy said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1OwIu2ELos

Dead birds will be delivered to Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford’s electorate office, 15 Main Rd, Ballarat, 12 midday today, Friday 24 March.

For further information contact:
Laurie Levy, Coalition Against Duck Shooting, Mobile: 0418 392 826


MEDIA RELEASE                                          Monday 20 March, 2017

Over 800 native waterbirds, including 68 threatened Freckled Ducks, to be displayed outside the Premier’s office, 1 Treasury place, at 10am today
Worst slaughter of native waterbirds since the 2013 Box Flat massacre

Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said: “Recreational duck shooting remains an uncontrolled slaughter of native waterbirds. The barrage of shooting at the Kerang Marshes started 20 minutes early on the opening morning of the recreational duck shooting season.

“Senior Game Management Authority officers stood on the shore and watched as native waterbirds were illegally shot down before their very eyes. The officers were powerless to stop the slaughter once it had commenced. Threatened species were also targeted,“ Levy continued.

“Ironically, in the lead-up to the opening weekend, Animals Australia and CADS had called for the Marshes to be closed to shooting after numerous surveys had spotted many threatened Freckled and Blue-billed Ducks. However, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, presumably on advice from the GMA, made the mistake of leaving the Marshes open to shooting.

“The illegal slaughter of waterbirds at the Marshes, including threatened Freckled and Blue-billed Ducks, is reminiscent of the 2013 Box Flat bird massacre. It is time the Andrews government put a stop to the violence and cruelty that duck shooters inflict on Australia’s native waterbirds.

“There is no government Department that protects the interests of Australian waterbirds in Victoria, including the Environment department. The job of looking after the welfare of our native waterbirds is left to caring volunteer members of the public. Many rescuers have received $930 fines and been ordered off the wetlands for the rest of the duck shooting season,” Levy said.

CADS will display more than 800 waterbirds -- including 68 threatened Freckled Ducks and 21 Blue-billed Ducks -- outside Premier Daniel Andrews’ office, at 10am, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.

For further information contact:
Laurie Levy, Campaign Director, Mobile: 0418 392 826


MEDIA RELEASE                                          Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Rescue teams to target Kerang wetlands, Saturday, 18 March 2017
Supreme Court action required to protect threatened species
RSPCA prevented from treating wounded birds

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting’s Campaign Director, Laurie Levy, today said: “The Andrews Government must be congratulated for closing some wetlands to protect threatened species before the opening of the Victorian recreational duck shooting season. However, many more wetlands with threatened species require urgent closure in order to protect these birds from the shooters’ guns.

“Unless the government closes additional critical wetlands with threatened species, Animals Australia and the Coalition Against Duck Shooting will again look at a Supreme Court challenge to close these wetlands.”

Levy said he has been advised that the RSPCA’s high-tech mobile veterinary clinic will not be treating wounded birds on the wetlands this year.

“We have been told that the Game Management Authority (GMA) does not want the RSPCA to accept wounded birds from duck rescuers who break the law. Rescuers are forced to break a highly contentious political law by entering the water before 10am to rescue the shooters’ victims.

“It’s one thing for the Andrews Government and the Game Management Authority to stop the RSPCA from pro-actively campaigning against the legalised recreational shooting of native waterbirds. But preventing the RSPCA from treating wounded birds would have to be the lowest act we have ever encountered by politicians and bureaucrats,” Levy said.

“It’s alarming that the RSPCA is being forced into acting as an arm of the pro-duck shooting Game Management Authority instead of acting to protect all creatures great and small – including native waterbirds.

“Rescuers face fines of $930 for entering the water before 10am to rescue wounded birds and can also be ordered off the wetlands for the full three-month shooting season.

“The government refuses to protect our native waterbirds, so volunteer members of the public will again be forced to do that job for them, including the CADS’ veterinary team,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:
Laurie Levy, Campaign Director, Mobile: 0418 392 826


MEDIA RELEASE                                          Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The link between animal abuse and human violence

My response to Premier Daniel Andrews and Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford


Daniel-AndrewsJaala Pulford

I have been told by Labor Party insiders that a ban on duck shooting won't be considered in Victoria because of the anger that Premier Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford have for me for linking animal abuse to human violence in the lead up to the November 2014 state election.

Could Labor Party leaders really be that petty and vindictive that they would allow a dwindling number of duck shooters, who make up only 0.4 per cent of Victoria's population, to continue to commit shocking acts of gun violence and cruelty to some 400,000 of Australia's beautiful native waterbirds again this year?

People who commit violent acts of any sort against people or animals either lack the empathy and feeling to understand the pain and suffering that their victims are forced to endure, or, they actually enjoy inflicting violence on their defenceless victims.

My comment in the lead up to the November 2014 election that "Labor supports male gun violence and cruelty to native waterbirds"- is an accurate statement. Duck shooting is a violent activity that causes shocking suffering and cruelty to native waterbirds, with at least 98.5 per cent of duck shooters being male.

The Victorian Labor Party has continued to support gun violence and cruelty to native waterbirds while three other State Labor Premiers in WA (1990), NSW (1995) and Queensland (2005), banned the activity because of unacceptable cruelty.

While Premier Andrews and Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford continue to condemn me for connecting animal abuse with human violence, Minister Pulford's own website highlights the link between animal abuse and human violence.

Minister Pulford's website says: "Research has established a strong connection between abuse towards animals, and abuse towards people. When a person abuses an animal there is a risk that they may also be abusive towards other people in their lives.

"Children who experience abuse towards animals, or abuse within the home, are also more likely to abuse animals or perform acts of violence towards people later in life. They repeat lessons learnt in the home: to react to anger with violence, and to perform this violence on more vulnerable individuals."

Jaala's website also says: "Animal abuse can take the form of physical violence, torment, neglect or threats to safety - be it to household pets, WILDLIFE, or farm animals."

"Most animals are what we describe as 'sentient' - they can think, perceive their environment, and experience suffering and pleasure..."

"An animal may not react in the same way when it is injured. Prey species can be good at hiding their pain, especially when showing weakness may mean they could be taken by an eagle." (Native waterbirds are prey animals.)

The Minister's website also calls on members of the public to report domestic violence and/or animal abuse. Therefore I would like to report two people for animal abuse. Both have just sanctioned another Victorian duck shooting season.

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director

Footnote: The Auditor-General's 2015 report and SGS Economics' financial study show that regional Victorian towns are in serious financial trouble.

If Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford really cared about regional Victorians, they would ban duck shooting and introduce a nature-based wetlands tourism industry, based on the highly successful Phillip Island tourism model, which generates some $655 million and attracts around 650,000 visitors annually (including 150,000 Chinese tourists).


MEDIA RELEASE                                          Thursday, 2 February 2017

World Wetlands Day - a missed opportunity to hunt tourism, not ducks

Victoria could boost its shrinking regional economy by drawing tourists to visit its world-renowned wetlands instead of allowing hunters to shoot the exquisite native waterbirds that inhabit them, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting has suggested today.

Campaign Director Laurie Levy said Premier Daniel Andrews should be marking World Wetlands Day by protecting waterways recognised internationally under the Ramsar Convention and securing the financial future of country towns.

"Premier Andrews and his Cabinet could ensure the protection of Ramsar wetlands as well as the future of regional Victorians by developing a nature-based wetlands tourism industry that will prosper and flourish for generations to come," Mr Levy said.

He criticised the current government for falsely claiming that duck shooting was vital to the rural economy.

"Country towns like Kerang, Boort, Donald and others are presently being duped by the Labor government's claim that duck shooters – who make up only 0.4 per cent of Victoria's population – financially benefit them," Mr Levy said.

"If that were the case, these towns with long and proud histories would not be struggling financially as they currently are," he added.

"According to SGS Economics and Planning, the economy of regional Victoria shrank for the fourth consecutive year, slipping another one per cent, mainly in response to a sharp decline in manufacturing. Victoria is the only state that saw its regional economy go backwards in 2015-16. Victorian country towns are continuing to bleed as jobs disappear forcing young people to move away.

"Yet Phillip Island, with its popular penguin parade is awash with tourist dollars as the town plays host to some 650,000 visitors, including 150,000 Chinese tourists each year," Levy continued.

"Phillip Island now generates some $655 million as visitors flock to the nightly penguin parade. Yet how many of these tourists go on to travel to other regional towns in Victoria?" he asked.

"Premier Daniel Andrews has acknowledged the significance of Victoria's tourism partnership between the Chengdu pandas and Phillip Island's penguins, yet he continues to allow hunters to shoot the state's other native waterbirds, which deprives regional Victorians of a wetlands tourism industry" Mr Levy said.

"Duck shooting is incompatible with tourism as it destroys the very assets that would attract tourists to the wetlands.

"It's time regional Victorians demand the Andrews government puts their interests ahead of those of a small number of duck shooters and replaces this cruel and destructive activity with one that will revitalize country towns and protect the financial future of regional Victorians, their children and grandchildren," Levy concluded.

A draft Labor tourism proposal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2R4PK_VoXg

For further information contact:
Laurie Levy, Campaign Director, Mobile: 0418 392 826


 
TV Footage

Other Media Articles: 
TV Footage Archive, TV Coverage Archive, Television & Radio Coverage,
Archive Radio Coverage

2017

ABC Q & A Pg, Singer Mark Seymour opposes duck shooting, 27 March 2017

ABC 7.30 Program, 29 March 2017

Display dead birds at Minister Jaala Pulford's office, WIN TV news 24 March 2017

Display dead birds at Premier's office, GTV9 news 20 March 2017

Ch 7 news, 18 March 2017

Opening morning duck shooting season, GTV 9 news, 18 March 2017

Wetlands tourism, WINTV news, 13 March 2017

 


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Feature Stories

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting's wrap up of the 2011 duck shooting/rescue season video...


 

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YouTube election message to Labor's Opposition leader Dan Andrews and all Labor politicians

To Dan Andrews, Danielle Green, John McLindon, Jacinta Allan, Jennifer Kanis, Jane Garrett, Lisa Neville, Bill Shorten, David Feeney, Noah Carroll, and all Labor politicians.

Dear Mr Andrews,

Lay Down Your Guns is singer/songwriter Daniel Gregory's moving protest song which showcases the actions of duck rescuers and the unacceptable brutality recreational duck shooters inflict on native waterbirds in Victoria.

YouTube Video: http://youtu.be/5GP-2R_lK5o

To end this cruelty the Victorian Labor Party must change to a policy opposing male gun violence and cruelty to native waterbirds.

It shouldn’t be too difficult as a dwindling number of duck shooters make up only 0.4 per cent of Victoria's population.

The video is our election message to Labor’s male & female politicians who continue to support male gun violence and cruelty to native waterbirds.

(If you believe any comments made about the Labor Party are inaccurate, we would be happy to remove the video from YouTube.)

Sincerely

Laurie

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director
Coalition Against Duck shooting
Mobile: 0418 392 826  
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Website: www.duck.org.au
Facebook editorials: Coalition Against Duck Shooting
Twitter: @DuckRescue


 

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History and Victories

2007 & 2008

Moratoriums called in Victoria and South Australia. The rescue team travelled to Moulting Lagoon, the entrance to Freycinet National Park, on the east coast of Tasmania to confront the shooters and protect waterbirds after the Tasmanian government refused to call a moratorium.

2008

Three states in Australia have now banned the recreational shooting of native waterbirds – Western Australia (1990), New South Wales (1995) and now Queensland (10 August 2005)

2005

Queensland’s Premier Beattie becomes the third state Labor government to ban the recreational shooting of native waterbirds.

The Age editorial (19 March) again calls for the recreational shooting of native waterbirds to be banned in Victoria.

The numbers of duck shooters in Victoria drops from 95000 in 1986 to 19,400 today, although only small number were active on the state's wetlands in 2005.

View our Opening Weekend 2005 article

2003

The Sunday Age editorial (12 January) calls on the Victorian Bracks Government to ban the recreational shooting of native waterbirds in Victoria.

The Victorian government calls a moratorium. Rescue team travels to Tasmania for the opening weekend of their duck shooting season.

2002

The Bracks Government's own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) recommends that the recreational shooting of native waterbirds be banned in Victoria because of the inherent cruelty.

2001

Lead shot banned in Victoria.

1995

Premier Bob Carr bans the recreational shooting of native waterbirds in NSW, the second state Labor government to ban the activity.

1993

The Age newspaper editorial (24 March) calls for duck shooting to be outlawed. The first sentence says: 'Duck shooting is not a sport, it is an obscenity'.

1990

The recreational shooting of native waterbirds is banned in Western Australia by the then Labor Government.

 

Latest Poll

Latest Morgan Research Poll - Majority of Victorians want duck shooting banned

Open Letter to Premier John Brumby

The Age (page 5) Thursday 27 November 2008 - click on image or link to view article.

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Latest Morgan Research Poll - Majority of Victorians want duck shooting banned.

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