Media releases 2017


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.

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:

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