Towards a ban

The actions of duck shooters significantly impact Australia’s native waterbirds

“Science tells us that animals are sentient. They experience feelings and emotions such as:

  • pleasure
  • comfort
  • fear
  • pain.

The Animal Welfare Action Plan embodies community expectations for animal welfare — that animals deserve to be treated with care and respect.”

(The 2018 Victorian Animal Welfare Action Plan).

The cruelty involved in the recreational shooting of native waterbirds is unconscionable.  At least one in four birds targeted by duck shooters will not be killed outright, but will be wounded.

Both Labor and Liberal governments have been involved in the abuse of Australia’s native waterbirds by calling duck shooting seasons and spending up to $10m of tax-payers money annually to assist duck shooters (who make up less than 0.2 per cent of Victorians).

Despite Labor’s policy on animal sentience, the present modern-day Labor government perpetuates the same Liberal Bolte government’s brutal attitudes of the 1950s.

For the last 40 years it’s been concerned members of the public, who volunteer their time and talents and are prepared to go into war zones on the state’s wetlands to help the innocent victims.  Volunteer veterinarians and Wildlife Victoria have staffed our on-site mobile veterinary clinics, while many wounded protected and threatened species needing further medical help are treated at Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, the Lort Smith Animal Hospital or by volunteer wildlife carers.

Funding for the service we provide (which should be undertaken by the governments responsible for the carnage and suffering) comes from public donations.  Everyone involved in the Coalition Against Duck Shooting is a volunteer.

towards a ban

Illegal and unregulated behaviour

CADS’ rescuers repeatedly witness illegal behaviour by duck shooters, including:

  • Failing to immediately kill wounded birds
  • Not collecting a downed bird before targeting another bird
  • Exceeding the bag limit and burying birds shot above the bag limit
  • Shooting protected and threatened species
  • Shooting outside the legal times
  • Stuffing wounded birds into bags or hanging them on their belts
  • Attempting to kill birds by twirling
  • Shooting into flocks
  • Shooting out of range
  • Using boats to flush birds up into the air
  • Littering with spent cartridge shells, general rubbish and human excrement

Over the years, this behaviour has been regularly captured on film.

Duck rescuers witness this illegal activity while venturing onto the shooting wetlands to help the birds. However, Occupational Health and Safety regulations state that GMA officers cannot approach duck shooters unless accompanied by an armed officer, meaning that much of the shooter’s behaviour goes unseen by officials. If not for CADS’ rescuers, the Department would have no knowledge of the numbers of illegally shot birds.

Today there are approximately 20,000 licensed duck shooters in Victoria, but of these only around half are actually active shooters. This is less than 0.2% of Victoria’s population. No records were kept when the campaign commenced in 1986 but the shooters maintained there were over 100,000 duck shooters in Victoria at that time. Victoria’s population has boomed since the 1980s while duck shooter numbers have decreased by some 90,000 due to changing public opinion.

In practice, very few duck shooters are actually active on the wetlands.

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