2014 Media Releases

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Media Release


Monday, March 17, 2014

More massacred Freckled Ducks displayed outside Premier’s office, 10am today

Call for the Director of Game Victoria to resign or be sacked

image: Freckled duck receiving veterinary treatment

This weekend, on the opening of the 2014 Victorian duck shooting season, a Coalition Against Duck Shooting rescue team recovered 33 illegally shot, rare and threatened Freckled Ducks, and other species, from Lake Lonsdale near Stawell.   Another four wounded Freckled Ducks are receiving veterinary care.

Campaign Director Laurie Levy today said:  “Following last year’s Box Flat massacre of Freckled Ducks and other species, Victoria’s Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said in the media that he is more than confident shooters will do the right thing this duck hunting season.   But Mr Walsh must be either extremely naive or is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.  Inevitably, recreational duck shooting remains an uncontrolled slaughter.  

“Because both Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh and the Director of Game Victoria, Simon Toop, have again failed to protect this threatened species, we are calling for long-time duck shooter Mr Toop to either fall on his sword or be sacked.

“Incredibly, the Labor Opposition has a similar policy on recreational duck shooting as the Liberal/National  government, so it will be interesting to see if Labor leader Daniel Andrews condemns the slaughter, either through the media or in Parliament,” Levy said.

Unique to Australia and one of the rarest waterbirds in the world, Freckled Ducks number only around 20,000 according to a Birdlife Australia representative.  Many have flown to Victoria seeking refuge from drought conditions in Queensland and New South Wales, but their numbers are now being further decimated by recreational duck shooters.

The Napthine Government’s Game Authority Bill, allowing shooters to self-regulate, will most likely pass through the Upper House next week.  Yet the massacres of Freckled Ducks in 2013 and 2014 clearly demonstrate that shooters cannot self-regulate and that duck shooting will always be an uncontrolled slaughter.

“If the government successfully keeps the public off shooting wetlands, the evidence of these appalling massacres will never come to light,” Levy concluded.

Thirty-three illegally shot Freckled Ducks and other species will be displayed outside Premier Napthine’s office at 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne, 10am today.

For further information, contact:

Laurie Levy
Campaign Director,
Mobile:  0418 392 826

image: Freckled duck X-ray showing pellets in wings

Media Release


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rescuers to target wetlands in northwest Victoria on the opening of the 2014 duck shooting season – Saturday, March 15

New Draconian legislation is aimed at protecting the Minister from embarrassment

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting rescue team will target wetlands in northwest Victoria on the opening of the 2014 recreational duck shooting season this weekend.  “The final decision as to which wetland we will target on Saturday morning may not be made until very late on Friday night,” Campaign Director Laurie Levy said today.

Levy said that draconian new laws just passed by the Napthine Government could see rescuers fined up to $17,500 for trying to help native waterbirds and were a blatant attempt to remove duck rescuers from Victoria’s wetlands.

“Yet without our volunteer rescuers and veterinarians, no one would be helping the wounded birds, collecting the illegally shot threatened and protected species, and reporting on the appalling brutality that duck shooters inflict on our native waterbirds.

“The new legislation was introduced by Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh to prevent the embarrassment of Box Flat type massacres from being exposed to the public.  It’s no surprise that a Liberal/National Government would introduce Joh Bjelke-Petersen type laws in an attempt to protect a dwindling number of duck shooters – but it is a surprise that Daniel Andrews’ Labor Party supports it.

“Last year on the Opening of the recreational duck shooting season, Minister Walsh and Game Victoria Director Simon Toop spun the line to the media that duck shooters were well-behaved.  The very next day, they were severely embarrassed when the Box Flat massacre was exposed.

“Recreational duck shooting is a dying activity being propped up by both major political parties.  In 2014, as duck shooter numbers comprise only 0.4 per cent of Victoria’s population, the question we need to ask is: Will Victorians, who support an end to recreational duck shooting, accept native waterbirds being left to the mercy of shooters?”  

Levy said that last year, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting wrote to former veterinarian and now Premier, Dr Denis Napthine, and Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh, offering to disband the rescue team and close down the organisation before this year’s duck shooting season.

“In return, the Premier or Agriculture Minister were asked to assure the Victorian public that native waterbirds do not suffer pain when hit by shotgun pellets, and that there is no cruelty involved in recreational duck shooting.  Yet Dr Napthine and Mr Walsh have remained silent, which is an admission of the cruelty involved in recreational duck shooting.

“Mr Walsh is in charge of the duck shooting season, and at the same time, is the Minister responsible for the RSPCA.  His job is to protect the shooters by allowing them to commit gross acts of cruelty without being prosecuted.  He has a serious conflict of interest,” Levy said.  “The normal laws under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act are waived for the three-month season so that duck shooters can inflict the most shocking cruelty on native waterbirds without fear of being prosecuted.  

“While a number of wetlands have been closed to shooting because threatened species are present, many wetlands with rare and threatened species will still be left open again this year,” Levy concluded.

For further information contact:  Laurie Levy, Campaign director, Mobile 0418 392826



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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.


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)


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


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.


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.


Lead shot banned in Victoria.


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


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'.


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.

View Morgan Research Poll PDF

- Read Poll Finding - Read Summary Report

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