Help the RSPCA kill the sport
(Content with thanks to Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania)
Every year in Tasmania, licensed shooters are permitted to enter State public and private wetlands for three months and shoot native ducks – and they call it ‘sport’. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a ‘clean kill’ or not.
Other jurisdictions do not consider this entertainment. The ACT never has, WA banned duck hunting in 1990, NSW in 1995, and Queensland banned it in November 2006, when then Premier Peter Beattie memorably said that duck hunting is ‘not part of contemporary society in the smart state’. Victoria cancelled the 2007 and 2008 seasons. But in Tasmania, it’s fine to blast these gentle birds from the sky.
The Ramsar Treaty
The Ramsar treaty was signed in 1971 when wetlands of International significance were listed and acknowledged by 144 international signatories (including Australia). Ten of the Australian sites are in Tasmania.
Endangered species, drought and poaching
Current target species are black ducks, chestnut teal, grey teal, mountain ducks and wood ducks, and bag limits are specified.BUT other species, some protected, share these habitats and are at risk of accidental or deliberate shooting. Amongst these: blue winged shoveler, white-eyed duck, musk duck, freckled duck, pink eared duck, blue billed duck and plumed tree duck. There is no proper monitoring of shooters in Tasmania with regard to protected species, bag limits and identification testing. Nor is there any proper monitoring that hunters follow the rules.
Further, in seasons where much of Australia has experienced serious drought and banned shooting, Tasmania, unable to nod to the situation, has increased the numbers of target species and stood firmly by its whole 3 month season. It happened in 2007 (but was shortened by 2 weeks), when other states recognised the dire situation for waterbirds and called moratoria. Only Tasmania held an open season on native ducks, despite experts like Professor Richard Kingsford warning that conditions were very serious for many species. It happened again in 2008, and in 2009. Nothing has prevailed upon the Minister to change his mind about a 2010 season.
Shooters may only use shotguns to shoot at ducks. Each shot sends a spray of pellets towards the target, the spray disperses and pellets hitting the targeted duck may kill it. Most often they only wound it. If badly injured it will fall suddenly and land heavily in the water, if the injury is lesser it may fly on for some distance. Statistics show that shooters nearly always need multiple shots to kill outright, up to ten shots, or they may wring the birds neck. For every duck killed and retrieved, another may escape wounded to die later from injuries, or starvation. See our for details of scientific research on the wounding rates for ducks. This cruelty alone should be enough to permanently ban this inhumane and brutal “sport”.
What happens in Tasmania?
The dwindling and ageing population of duck shooters in Tasmania enjoy both the permissive legislation AND THE COMPANY of (members of) our government and public servants. Meanwhile popular opinion favours a ban.
For over seven years, and particularly the past few years, we saw evidence of one of the worst drought periods in 25 years, and the lowest waterbird numbers recorded in eastern Australia. South Australia and Victoria cancelled duck seasons for 2007 and 2008 as a result. Many ducks and other waterbirds moved to Tasmania to seek refuge and have added stress with the invasion of shooters during open season.
In 2006 the shooters reported killing over 39,000 native ducks in Tasmania. In 2007, they estimated claiming the lives of nearly 35,000 native ducks, and about the same in 2008 and 2009. How many were left to die? Thousands presumably.
Now that the killing season is set to begin again in 2010, we need your help to ensure the damage is minimised. Write to the Minister now and ask him to end duck shooting in Tasmania, permanently.
You can write to the media