Victoria eases duck hunting limits, drawing 'cheap shots' about drug use
The Victorian Government has eased restrictions for the upcoming duck shooting season, drawing the ire of western Victorian MP Andy Meddick, who told FlowNews24 some hunters were 'snorting drugs' while shooting.
The Victorian Game Management Authority used the results from new survey methods to justify increasing this year’s 24 May to 14 June duck shooting season ‘bag limit’ from 2 to 5 birds per person, per day.
Animal Justice Party (AJP) MP, Mr Andy Meddick has described the decision as shameful, lashing the practice of duck shooting, telling FlowNews24 that some who partake in the activity also use illicit drugs.
“There were also shooters who were snorting drugs and shooting, so operating firearms under the influence.
“If that wasn’t enough to get the season shut down, what is?”
Deputy Opposition leader Peter Walsh, fired back:
“Cheap shots like that are easy for Andy to make, if he is serious about being a member of Parliament, he has a responsibility to report illegal activities - in whatever area it is, just not around hunting - instead of just grandstanding with statements.
“If he seriously has evidence that is happening, he should report it to authorities.
“No one condones illegal activity, whether it be driving a motor car, hunting, or whether it be doing anything in life.
Mr Walsh's comments and others on the duck season can be accessed below in the FlowNews24 podcast player:
Speaking with FLowNews24, the Victorian Nationals leader Mr Walsh was critical of the previous, and new, limits:
“The limit should never have been set so low in the first place and particularly a geographic limit set by the Princess Highway was just absurd at the time.
“The fact that it has gone back up is a step in the right direction.
“The key thing with ducks, waterfowl, is that they are migratory birds, they travel to where the water is.
“The ducks will disperse and breed wherever that water is; they have the sixth sense built in them to know where it has rained and where the water is.
“Our view was there should’ve been a full season, and a full bag limit.
Mr Meddick MLC goes on to say that duck shooting is “not only cruel,” but also:
“unscientific and flies in the face of what the majority of Victorians actually want.”
The AJP MP slammed the Government, for “bow(ing) to the shooting lobby.”
“This is an absolutely appalling decision, and just reflects that the GMA and the Minister (of Agriculture) have fallen prey to pressures from the shooting lobby.”
“The original aerial surveys undertaken by both the GMA and Professor Kingsmith were showing that there were still reduced numbers of birds’ right across Victoria.”
“The perspective of the bulk of Victorians, the overwhelming majority of Victorians that time and again every time a poll is conducted show that they want this barbaric, so called 'sport', banned forever in this state.”
“We saw incident after incident last year of native water birds that were not game species being shot and killed, or just left to die in pain.
Dean O'Hara, CEO of Field and Game Australia, told FlowNews24:
“Our view is that the setting of a duck season needs to be done on the science, on the data, and on the evidence.
“It shouldn’t be a subjective decision, and it shouldn’t be a political one.
“It should be about ethics and sustainability, absolutely, but it needs to be based on the data.
Mr Walsh defended the conservation value and focus of hunters:
“The hunters are the greatest conservationists of anyone in the population here in Victoria, that’s the issue that’s lost to those that are opposed to duck hunting.
“Hunters do a lot of work around conservation, because they know the sustainability of the waterfowl is key to them being able to hunt in the future.
“I find it offensive the way some people grandstand against duck hunting.
“The hunting community actually sit the duck identification test, and for those people have sat it, you need to know what you’re doing to pass that test.
Mr Meddick MLC said he had little faith that the authorities would hold hunters to account:
“This has been touted time and time again, season after season that there is going to be an increased presence by both GMA and police, but what we continually see is that other authorities, who don’t know how to identify game species, such as Parks Victoria, have bolstered their numbers.
“It’s been shown in the past that when these shooters break the law, both the Game Management Authority and the police are reluctant to pursue the prosecution.”