The RSPCA is dismayed at the state government’s announcement that the annual duck shooting season will once again start this weekend.

For the next three months, Tasmania’s world-renowned wetlands — usually peaceful havens and home for our unique wildlife — will be transformed into killing fields.

Native ducks and even endangered and ‘protected’ birds will be gunned down by shooters. The ‘lucky’ ones are killed instantly. The unlucky ones — an estimated one out of every four birds shot — will suffer for days or even weeks before finally succumbing to their injuries.

Perhaps most shocking of all? This cruelty is inflicted upon defenceless animals in the name of a ‘sport’ that the majority of caring Australians oppose.

According to the RSPCA’s chief executive, Jan Davis, there are multiple, evidence-based reasons why the 2021 season should not proceed, including concerns around animal welfare, declining waterbird abundance, and a lack of support within the community.

Three Australian states have already banned recreational duck hunting – Western Australia in 1990, NSW in 1995, and Queensland in 2005. Both South Australia and Victoria have recently announced shortened seasons and reduced takes for 2021.

When Queensland’s then-Premier, Peter Beatty, announced the ban on duck hunting more than 20 years ago, he said it was “not an appropriate activity in contemporary life”.

In announcing the ban in Western Australia in 1990, then-Premier, Dr Carmen Lawrence said, “Our community has reached a stage of enlightenment where it can no longer accept the institutionalised killing of native birds for recreation”.

Yet, more than 30 years later, this activity continues here in Tasmania, despite broad community support for a ban.

RSPCA CEO, Jan Davis, said “It is clear that the government’s policies on this issue are lagging behind the current values and beliefs of our contemporary society”.

“We understand that duck shooting is not a highly visible cause of animal harm, and that not many people live near the wetlands where shooting takes place. But out of sight should not mean out of mind – and our native water birds have the right to live unharmed and in peace in their natural homes”.

“As a first step, we’re calling for the government to prohibit this cruel and unnecessary ‘sport’ on public land and public waterways, with a complete phase-out by 2025.”

“There has never been a more important time make your voice heard now to let the Tasmanian government know that we need to finally put an end to this slaughter,” she said.

You can see more detail and support this call by completing a simple survey on our website

Our call to action

From the 2022 season, the RSPCA calls on the government to prohibit recreational duck shooting on public land and public waterways, with a complete phase-out by 2025.

Over that period, the government must commit to implementing the following measures to reduce harm to native ducks and non-target species:

  • continue to undertake at least annual surveys of duck populations and commit to publicly release this data prior to determining the length of the season, and the permitted take of each species
  • increase resourcing for DPIPWE to enforce regulations relating to licences, species take etc
  • publicly release details of state-based population survey data for the past ten years, with comparative data from mainland surveys
  • publicly release all information related to the 2019/20 season, including detailed analysis of reports lodged by licenced shooters
  • commit to timely release of all information related to the 2020/21 season, including detailed analysis of reports lodged by licenced shooters
  • undertake investigations to determine the wounding rates of ducks the mix of target and non-target species shot cleanly and wounded
  • implement interventions to reduce the wounding rate
  • introduce a stringent annual waterfowl identification test as a prerequisite for issue of a duck shooting licence.

More information is available here:

Jan Davis, CEO – RSPCA Tasmania
Mobile: 0409 004 228