Media release Wednesday, 22 May 2019
The Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) investigative and enforcement team obtained video evidence of alleged acts of animal cruelty during the shortened 2019 Victorian recreational duck shooting season, which ended on Sunday.
The powerful evidence has been handed to the Game Management Authority (GMA) and the RSPCA to initiate cruelty prosecutions against individual duck shooters.
However, Campaign Director Laurie Levy today expressed concern that the GMA has a serious conflict of interest. “A GMA director and three board members, including the chairperson, are duck shooters. Therefore, we believe that the GMA may apply pressure to prevent the RSPCA from prosecuting duck shooters for cruelty. A conviction would be unprecedented and would open the floodgates for prosecutions in the future.
“While duck shooting has always been about cruelty to native waterbirds, to our knowledge not a single duck shooter has ever been prosecuted for cruelty.
“Our investigative and enforcement teams patrolled wetlands every weekend of the 2019 duck shooting season. But unlike the early years in the late 1980s, when thousands of duck shooters routinely took to Victoria’s wetlands, we only encountered a handful of shooters again this year,” Levy said.
“The 2019 duck shooting season was the quietest on record. It started with a whimper and finished the same way. Cruelty offences by duck shooters were still documented, but the low numbers of shooters meant that a substantial number of birds taking refuge on Victoria’s wetlands remained safe.
“Duck shooting is a dying activity. Once it has been banned, small regional towns will have the opportunity to thrive financially and grow as they establish their own nature-based tourism industries,” Levy concluded.