Feb 24 2009 by ATAAC
Following Premier John Brumby's decision to call a recreational duck shooting season in 2009, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting Campaign Director, Laurie Levy, said: "Premier John Brumby today became Victoria's equivalent of America's rootin', tootin' and shootin' Sarah Palin.
"Premier Brumby's decision to allow a duck shooting season this year flies in the face of common sense, low bird numbers and abysmal environmental conditions. Victoria is experiencing low rainfall, excessive heat and now the Gippsland fires. Scientific evidence, which resulted in moratoriums being called in 2007 and 2008, has been ignored in favour of a political decision simply to appease the few remaining duck shooters in Victoria.
"Ornithologists predict it will take many years of flooding for waterbird numbers to return. With the looming disastrous impact of global warming it is imperative that we look to the future and protect our native waterbirds. Since their numbers have declined by 82% across eastern Australia over the last 25 years, it is evident they will need all the help they can get to survive into the future," Levy said.
"Victorian water levels were at an all-time low at the start of 2009 with most wetlands in the state still dry due to the on-going 12 year drought. The few wetlands that still hold water in Gippsland are acting as refuges for the low numbers of native waterbirds in this state and must be protected from duck shooters.
"Field and Game Australia (FGA) make the claim they have minimal impact on waterbird numbers, yet their own hunter survey data shows that in fact they had maximum impact with over 300,000 birds shot in 2006. This far exceeded the 183,000 waterbirds counted by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) on Victorian wetlands in the lead up to the start of the 2006 season.
"The Brumby government fails to acknowledge the serious threat recreational duck shooting poses to native waterbird populations in Victoria," Levy continued.
"The Victorian Government has now acknowledged wounding rates are far too high, with one in four birds wounded, Premier John Brumby has still called a duck season knowing full well that according to FGA figures, around 75,000 birds will be wounded.
"Victorians want this brutal and unnecessary activity stopped. While duck shooters have a friend in the Brumby government, the rest of the Victorian public will condemn this decision. An October 2007 Morgan research poll showed that 75% of Victorians want recreational duck shooting banned. However, once informed that waterbird numbers across eastern Australia since 1983 have declined by 82%, that one in four birds are wounded and that three states have already banned the activity, the percentage jumped to an overwhelming 87%.
"Once again our rescue team is being mobilised and will return to the wetlands to defend our native waterbirds against this government sanctioned brutality," Levy concluded.
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