It's like something straight out of a horror film: children bearing shotguns. But if the hunting lobby gets its way, this could be an increasingly familiar scene in our wetlands and national parks — posing increased danger to animals and humans alike. Take action now!
A 10-year-old boy shot a man in the leg on the first day of the 2013 duck hunting season in Victoria. This alarming incident should be a wake-up call to governments who are encouraging children to take up deadly weapons in cruel and unnecessary hunts.
Few people are aware that across Australia, kids as young as 10, 11 or 12 (depending on the state) can legally shoot animals.
The Victorian government hands out Game Licences to juniors for free — without even requiring them to pass a Waterfowl Identification Test (the test that is intended to prevent hunters from killing protected species). Meanwhile, the head of the NSW Game Council is pushing to allow children as young as 12 to hunt with guns, and bows and arrows in NSW national parks.
Hunting is already a dangerous sport — for humans and animals. At least one in every four ducks shot are expected to escape wounded — left to suffer from untreated injuries or die a slow and cruel death. And the risk of a fatal hunting accident involving human bystanders is ever-present. These risks become exponentially more dangerous when shotguns are placed in the hands of inexperienced shooters. It is therefore unfathomable that the Victorian Government is now providing financial incentives and exemptions from tests in order to let children shoot at animals.
In 2013 we should be fostering in children compassion and respect for animals — not actively recruiting them to a cruel and dangerous bloodsport.
Please use this form to send an urgent message to your MP, expressing your concerns about recreational hunting and, in particular, allowing children to kill animals for entertainment.