Since November 2012, Sentient has been campaigning against the proposals to allow recreational hunting in national parks and the shooting of native ducks on private lands in NSW. Activities have included lobbying the NSW Premier, Mr Barry O’Farrell, The Minister for Primary Industries and The Minister for the Environment, publishing a letter in the Sydney Morning Herald, supporting the National Parks Association of NSW in their campaigning and posting a position statement on recreational hunting on our website. Hunting results in immense suffering through injury and prolonged death of target and non-target species as well as the disturbance of their habitats.
Contrary to the response we received from the Premier, recreational shooting of feral animals cannot be justified as an effective method of animal population control. In fact, population control programs centered around euthanasia as a primary objective have proven unsuccessful in a number of international and nationally-relevant contexts. Some of our executive members attended the recent public lecture by Dr Marc Bekoff (Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado) and Dr Daniel Ramp (co-founder of THINK Wildlife: The Compassionate Conservation program and Director of Voiceless) on ‘Compassionate Conservation’, hosted by the University of Technology’s ‘Science in Focus’ series. The presenters discussed evidence for animal sentience and presented data that even well-coordinated and wide scale conservation approaches based on killing can be ineffective at reducing feral animal populations. This lecture is now available online.
As an update, due to allegations of illegal activity within the Game Council NSW, the proposed introduction of shooting within national parks and reserves in NSW has been postponed until after May 31st 2013. In the meantime, we are appealing our members to lobby the Premier individually to repeal the 2012 amendments to the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 (which allow shooting in national parks and other reserves) and to reject the Game and Feral Animal Control Further Amendment Bill 2012 (which seeks to allow the hunting or killing of native game birds on private lands for ‘pest mitigation purposes’).