Duck Shooting Remains Legal in Some States ...

December 14, 2014

'Duck shooting remains legal in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Sentient has lobbied each of these governments, advocating for a ban on duck shooting before the opening of the 2015 season. We encourage you to write to the Premiers and relevant MPs of these governments to express your concerns as individuals. Please read Sentient's letter and feel free to use this as a model.'




The Hon Mr Daniel Andrews

Premier of Victoria

c/- Parliament House
Melbourne, Victoria, 3002


1st December 2014


Dear Mr Andrews,


On behalf of Sentient, The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics, I urge you to ban duck shooting before the commencement of the 2015 open season. Recreational duck shooting has been banned in Western Australia (in 1990), New South Wales (in 1995) and Queensland (in 2005), and has never been allowed in the ACT. This form of ‘recreation’ is being increasingly viewed as cruel and anachronistic. We trust that your government will review its position on the issue accordingly.


Duck shooting causes the needless deaths of thousands of native water birds annually. Due to the inaccuracy of firing with shotguns, significant numbers of birds (estimated at 1 in 4) are not instantly killed, but are left wounded and uncollected by shooters. Australian evidence suggests up to 33% of such ‘cripple losses’[1]. These birds suffer from horrific pellet injuries (including broken bones, organ or tissue wounds, bill damage and torn muscles) and associated pain and distress caused by incapacitation, often crippled for days before dying. In this state, they are at risk of starvation, predation, drowning and exposure to the elements. Animal cruelty of this nature is unacceptable in today’s society and would be prosecuted if inflicted upon domestic species.


We reject claims about the ability to minimise harm through regulation and monitoring. There will never be the ranger capacity to ensure that all non-fatally wounded birds are collected, to enforce compliance with bag limits, or to protect non-game species, which may include threatened waterfowl such as the endangered Freckled Duck.


The social condemnation of duck hunting will continue to increase as the public has access via social media to footage of wounded birds. What we do not see is the plight of fledglings who also die after parent birds are killed during late breeding seasons, as occurred in Victoria in 2011.


A research report by The Australia Institute[2] cites evidence that 87% of Victorians support a ban, whilst less than 0.5% of Victorians engage in duck hunting. The authors concluded that the majority of respondents would avoid holidays in duck shooting areas, and that Victoria’s economy relies more on revenue from non-hunting tourism. Furthermore, they found no discernible economic impact from bans in other states. A 2011 McGregor Tan Omnibus Survey reported that 83% of metropolitan South Australian residents favoured a ban on duck shooting on the grounds of cruelty. In the same year, less than 0.01% of the South Australian electoral role was issued with hunting permits[3].


It is highly inconsistent for otherwise protected species to be killed and maimed during an annual, government-declared ‘open season’. By allowing this to continue, the governments involved are catering to the preferences of a vocal minority of game hunters at the expense of the majority of tax payers who overwhelmingly reject duck shooting as an acceptable form of recreation.


Sentient will continue to advocate for a national ban on duck shooting. As an alternative, we suggest that governments increasingly promote supervised eco-tourism activities that protect animals and their habitats, such as bird-watching in wetland environments.


With regards,









[2] Out for a duck: An analysis of the economics of duck hunting in Victoria, December 2012



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