Not too late to avoid duck devastation

Published on 30 January 2024

The Allan Government’s inexplicable decision to ignore the recommendation of its own Inquiry and allow the 2024 duck and quail hunting season to continue with an expanded scale means tens of thousands of ducks and quail will be wounded during the season, experiencing avoidable pain, suffering and distress.

Dr Liz Walker, RSPCA Victoria CEO, questioned how this decision is safe, sustainable or responsible.

“Devastated doesn’t begin to cover it,” Dr Walker said.

“For more than 30 years RSPCA Victoria has been advocating for duck and quail hunting to be banned, and when the Government’s own Select Committee recommended it be banned 1 we were cautiously optimistic we might finally see some change.

“Yesterday we were devasted to hear the Allan Government has gone against the evidence and the views of most Victorians who support a ban.

“Instead, the 2024 season length is nearly doubled, the bag limit has increased, and despite evidence mandatory training isn’t effective in reducing wounding, and evidence enforcement across the state is impossible, it’s being called ‘safe, sustainable and responsible’ – it just doesn’t make sense.

“The Government wants to invest $10 million into mandatory training, hoping this will reduce wounding rates, however Denmark, a world leader in wounding reduction, took 20 years to reduce wounding rates, and these rates still sit unacceptably high at around 10%.

“At a minimum, a $10 million investment means a spend of around $205 per licensed hunter, and considering how few licenced hunters actively participate, the cost blows out to around $524 per hunter2.

“During a cost-of-living crisis, there are plenty of struggling Victorians who would rather $524 in their own pocket.

“The Government also wants to enforce stricter compliance levels including further penalties, we can only ask how they hope to monitor and enforce compliance across more than 8 million hectares 3 of public and private wetlands across the state?

“The scale of resources required to ensure compliance would be completely disproportionate to the exceedingly small number of Victorians actively participating in duck and quail hunting.

“Given there’s little chance any of these ‘safe, sustainable and responsible’ measures will be in place by the time the 2024 season opens, we can only assume the season will be unsafe, unsustainable and irresponsible.

“At the very least the duck hunting season should be cancelled while the new training, compliance and enforcement program is implemented.”

 

1 https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/48eceb/contentassets/1dbd275555b9401a93f298ec115c421f/lc-native-birds-60-01_vic_rec_nativebirdhunting.pdf

2 https://www.gma.vic.gov.au/media-releases/2023/2023-game-bird-harvest-report-now-available

3 https://www.gma.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/481682/Assessment-of-the-GMAs-compliance-and.pdf

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