The Coalition Against Duck Shooting has responded to restrictions announced by Victoria's Game Management Authority on this year’s duck hunting season.
Campaign director Laurie Levy said it was “blatantly obvious” a moratorium on duck shooting should have been called this year.
“During the catastrophic bushfires that destroyed billions of native animals, birds and reptiles, we applauded the Andrews Government’s investment of $17.5 million for the rescue and medical treatment of injured wildlife, as well as the back-up helicopter food drops,” he said.
“However, now that the fires are finally out, we are dismayed that the Andrews Government can so callously turn its back on our native waterbirds by supporting the violent fetishes of a dwindling number of duck shooters.
“This decision is even more disturbing since the Andrews Government recognises animals are sentient beings capable of suffering and feeling fear, happiness, stress and pain."
The GMA restricted the 2020 duck hunting season to five weeks — starting May 2 and finishing June 8, while also restricting the number of ducks allowed to be harvested per day to three per shooter, and banning hunting of the blue-winged shoveler.
Mr Levy said the situation was so bad for native waterbirds, even extinction may be a much kinder option, rather than having to suffer what he described as the unnecessary violence inflicted by recreational duck shooters.
“Politicians may support this inherent cruelty, but not the public,” he said.
“Public support for our native waterbirds has been responsible for the number of active duck shooters dwindling to less than 0.2 per cent of Victoria’s population — that means 99.8 per cent of Victorians do not shoot native waterbirds.
“Professor Richard Kingsford’s October 2019 aerial survey of waterbirds across eastern Australia highlighted waterbird numbers have decreased by a staggering 90 per cent since 1983.
“This is just another of the many reasons why recreational duck shooting must be banned for all time.
“How can a progressive Andrews State Labor Government continue to have the same cruel policy on duck shooting in 2020 as the Bolte Liberal Government had some 60 years ago?”
Details of the 2020 duck season, including any wetland closures, will be regularly updated on the GMA website at www.gma.vic.gov.au
2020 Victorian duck hunting season arrangements
Season opens: 8 am on Saturday, May 2.
Season closes: Thirty minutes after sunset on Monday, June 8.
Start times on opening weekend: 8 am on both days.
Hunting times for the rest of the season: Thirty minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Bag limit: Three game ducks per day, per shooter, for the entire season.
Game duck species permitted to be taken: Seven of the eight species of game duck can be hunted during 2020. The game duck species that can be hunted are: Pacific black duck, mountain duck, chestnut teal, grey teal, pink-eared duck, wood duck and hardhead.
Game duck species prohibited from hunting: Blue-winged shoveler.
Hunters must: Immediately retrieve all downed game ducks and salvage at least the breast meat of harvested ducks.
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