AGITATION BY A GROUP OF 30,000 MEMBERS OVERCOMES THE DISUNITY OF A 40,000 MEMBER  LOBBY - AND ANOTHER PART OF OUR HERITAGE IS LOST

 

 

BAN SLAPPED ON DUCK HUNTING ___________________________________

Brian Williams

      The Courier-Mail (11-08-05)  
 

THE 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 reintroduced.

Sporting Shooters Association Geoff Jones described the decision as absurd, saying some shooters might hunt illegally.

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.

Mr 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.

Ms Boyle received 700 representations on the issue this year – all but 15 opposed to shooting.

She 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.

Ms Boyle said permits would still be issued to farmers to shoot birds which were damaging crops.

Mr 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 fishing."

Mr Jones said few shooting licences had been taken up, because the Government had made them difficult to get.

Birds Queensland spokesman Mike West said Ms Boyle had creditably brought Queensland into line with New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Western Australia.

"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.

It turned out that the scientific advice was a majority view from his duck-hunting advisory committee, whose four hunting representatives outvoted the three environment representatives.

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.

 

 

 

 
 

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