State Government yesterday gave in to years of
pressure from anti-duck-hunting activists, banning
the recreational shooting of ducks and quail.
Activists congratulated the Government, but called
on it to take the final step and legislate to ensure
that it would be difficult for the sport to be
Sporting Shooters Association Geoff Jones described
the decision as absurd, saying some shooters might
Premier Peter Beattie told Parliament the state had
more than 1800 licensed shooters in 1984 but this
had fallen to 376 last year.
Opposition members objected to the ban, prompting Mr
Beattie to call them dinosaurs.
Groups opposed to the shooting include the Royal
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
Birds Queensland, the Wildlife Preservation Society,
the Queensland Conservation Council, and Animal
Liberation – incorporating more than 30,000 members.
Wildlife society spokesman Des Boyland said members
were jubilant. "But in time we'd like to see
legislation banning duck and quail hunting so a
future less-caring government will have difficulty
in permitting it to occur," Mr Boyland said.
Jones said his organisation represented almost
40,000 shooters, yet had not been consulted.
With the RSPCA arguing that as many as 90 per cent
of ducks shot suffered a slow death, Environment
Minister Desley Boyle said she considered the sport
barbaric. Other factors were the drought and
declining bird numbers.
Boyle received 700 representations on the issue this
year – all but 15 opposed to shooting.
told Parliament people had written to her arguing
that killing an animal for sport, recreation or
tradition should be consigned to the dark ages.
Another wrote that, while in the past it might have
been appropriate to shoot for the table, poultry and
game birds were readily available at the cost of a
few shotgun cartridges.
Boyle said permits would still be issued to farmers
to shoot birds which were damaging crops.
Jones said the RSPCA data was flawed. "There hasn't
been any real analysis of evidence, and I'm quite
disgusted. This is a slight on the credibility of
the minister and the Government," he said. "There
might be some people surreptitiously pursuing duck
hunting now. Queensland is a big place, and
Queenslanders are independent people.
". . . Hunting is a traditional cultural activity.
It's not a barbaric activity, and is done with
proper regard to game, and is no less cruel than
Jones said few shooting licences had been taken up,
because the Government had made them difficult to
Birds Queensland spokesman Mike West said Ms Boyle
had creditably brought Queensland into line with New
South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and
"Recreational shooting is not acceptable today, just
like fox hunting and whale shooting aren't," he
said. "And the Government has to be careful the
problem doesn't arise that occurred in other states
where crop mitigation permits went through the roof
after a ban."
Former environment minister Dean Wells had a
moratorium on shooting; but this was reversed after
he was replaced last year by John Mickel, who said
he approved of shooting on scientific advice.
turned out that the scientific advice was a majority
view from his duck-hunting advisory committee, whose
four hunting representatives outvoted the three
Mr Mickel's decision came
back to haunt the Government when a major scientific
survey earlier this year showed water-bird numbers
at a 20-year low.