RSPCA urges leaders to cancel 2022 duck hunting and protect our native ducks

Published on 11 February 2022

68% of Victorians want duck hunting stopped

RSPCA Victoria is calling on the Victorian Government to cancel the 2022 duck hunting season as evidence shows a decline in native duck numbers, coupled with the suffering and inherent cruelty ducks experience each season.

RSPCA Victoria Policy and Advocacy Manager Clare Brealey said, “RSPCA is opposed to the recreational hunting of any animal for sport due to the inherent and unnecessary injury, pain, suffering, distress or death to the animals involved.

“Duck hunting results in distress, fear, pain and suffering for tens of thousands of birds each year. Use of shotguns results in a substantial number of ducks being wounded – previous research has indicated up to 26% of birds shot will be wounded, maimed or crippled before dying, but this could be as high as 33%.”

Dr Liz Walker, CEO of RSPCA Victoria said there is clear scientific evidence that the duck hunting season should not proceed.

“Victorians want to see decisions made on science and evidence that will ultimately stop the unnecessary suffering of Victoria’s ducks.

“Using a wounding rate of 26% and comparing this to the reported total harvest figure of 238,666 from the 2019 season (as the 2020 season was impacted by COVID-19), this would mean that over 62,000 ducks were wounded and not killed outright in the 2019 season.

“The 2021 Aerial Survey of Waterbirds in Eastern Australia reports that game species abundances were well below long-term averages with six out of eight native game species showing significant long-term declines. Total waterbird abundance is the third lowest in 39 years. In particular, Grey Teal, Australasian Shoveler and Australian Wood Duck numbers have been declining for many years. The Pacific Black Duck, Chestnut Teal, Hardhead and Pink-eared Duck abundances have declined since 2020,” said Dr Walker.

In addition, duck hunting does not meet the Victorian community’s expectations. Research conducted in the past three months showed that 68% of Victorians agree that duck hunting should be banned. The research also showed that 69% of people were interested in visiting parts of regional Victoria, with more than half (54%) preferring to visit a location where duck hunting does not occur.

RSPCA Victoria’s recent submission to the Game Management Authority (GMA) strongly recommended cancelling the 2022 duck hunting season due to:

1. inevitable suffering of native ducks
2. long-term declines in game bird species abundance
3. climate outlook data and predicted rainfall unlikely to relieve long-term deficits
4. community concern for the welfare of native ducks.

“No animal deserves to suffer and RSPCA Victoria hopes for a decision that will result in Victoria’s native ducks living lives free from suffering,” said Dr Walker.

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