RSPCA Victoria has publicly released its submission to the Select Committee on Victoria’s Recreational Native Bird Hunting Arrangements after submissions to the inquiry closed last night.
Policy and Advocacy Manager at RSPCA Victoria, Ms Mhairi Roberts believes the submission makes a strong case for banning both duck and quail hunting in Victoria.
“While many people understand the issues regarding ducks, quails often don’t receive the same attention. Similar to ducks, the evidence very clearly supports banning Stubble Quail hunting. There are multiple concerns from an animal welfare perspective – the inevitable suffering as a result of wounding, the use of lead ammunition and the impact this has on other animals and the ecosystem and the potential to push the critical endangered Plains Wanderer to extinction,” said Ms Roberts.
“When quail are shot with lead ammunition by hunters, deep punctures from gunshot wounds can result in damage to internal organs without causing immediate death of the bird. Birds that survive gunshots can endure prolonged, painful deaths. Injured birds become immediately more susceptible to predators as they may not be able to move or fly as a result of embedded shot or fragments.
“Unfortunately, there are no Australian studies that tell us what the wounding rate of Stubble Quail during quail hunting season is, but studies carried out on the Northern Bobwhite Quail (similar in size, colour and share a preferred habit) found 33% of the total kill were crippled.
“Utilising the total kill crippling rate from the more recent study, and the average Victorian Stubble quail harvest rate of 175,0001, means that approximately another 57,000 quail are wounded and not killed outright each year,” she said. Quail hunters are not required to undergo species identification testing, which raises significant concern for several endangered species that look very similar.