In Victoria, South Australia, the NT and Tasmania these wetlands are the site of an archaic 'sport' that leads to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of native waterbirds each year during recreational shooting seasons.
As dawn breaks, the tranquil scene of birds swimming peacefully in their habitat is brutally destroyed by the sound of gunfire. Defenceless birds take to the sky in fright and become targets for the shooters. Shotguns are used by shooters and send a spray of pellets into the air. It is estimated that at least one in every four ducks shot will escape wounded — only to suffer from untreated injuries and to potentially die a slow and cruel death. Protected species are also shot at, killed and wounded each year.
Saving lives: our work to protect native waterbirds
Over recent years, in addition to supporting volunteer duck rescue efforts by the Coalition Against Duck Shooting, Animals Australia's extraordinary legal team has secured crucial wins for native waterbirds, setting powerful legal precedents for animals.
With our court action banning shooters from key wetlands, tens of thousands of precious native waterbirds have been spared the terror of being shot at in the name of ‘sport’.
And through television ads, billboards and outdoor advertising, Animals Australia's landmark public awareness campaigns on behalf of waterbirds have also highlighted how this 'recreational' slaughter destroys families — and supported some of Australia’s elite athletes to remind the Victorian Government that duck shooting is not a sport.
Also present at the wetlands during shooting season are teams of volunteer rescuers, who oppose the slaughter and try to assist wounded birds and other birds and wildlife that are distressed by the gunfire. Their presence and the constant pressure by lobbyists and duck-rescuers such as Laurie Levy of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting have resulted in:
- Duck shooter numbers decreasing substantially over the past two decades
- Lead shot has been phased out to reduce lead poisoning of 'bottom feeding' birds, and
- Three States have banned recreational duck shooting; Western Australia in 1990, NSW in 1995, and Queensland in 2005
In announcing the ban on duck shooting in Queensland, Premier Peter Beatty said (Govt media release 10th August 2005):
There will be no more duck and quail hunting in Queensland ... It's time to ban the recreational shooting of ducks and quail. This is not an appropriate activity in contemporary life in the Smart State.Peter Beatty
It is time to convince the remaining governments, which still permit this barbaric slaughter, that aligning themselves with the shooting lobby is no longer acceptable by the broader community, and is a recipe for election disaster, rather than election success.
What you can do:
- Click here to demand an end to duck shooting in Australia.
- Join a rescue team! The open duck shooting seasons in Victoria (the largest), South Australia and Tasmania usually occur in March each year. The NT usually starts its season around September. The Victorian-based Coalition Against Duck Shooting organises a team that you can sign up to.
- Make your views known! Write to the ministers responsible for duck shooting in each of the States that still allow this blood sport:
Hon. Jaclyn Symes MLC
Minister for Agriculture
49a High Street
Wallan, VIC 3756
Tel: (03) 8392 6000
Hon. Guy Barnett MP
Minister for Primary Industries and Water
Level 5, 4 Salamanca Place
Hobart, Tasmania 7000
Phone: (03) 6165 7678
Hon. Tim Whetstone MP
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development
GPO Box 1671
Adelaide, SA 5001
Phone: (08) 8226 2931
Hon. Ken Vowles MLA
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources
GPO Box 3146
Darwin, NT 0801
Phone: (08) 8936 5680