Ban slapped on duck hunting
THE State Government yesterday gave in to years of pressure from
anti-duck-hunting activists, banning the recreational shooting of ducks
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
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
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
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
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