Season of suffering starts this weekend

Hunters are preparing for the open slaughter that is duck hunting season this weekend (Saturday 5 May) and SAFE is asking the wider public not to support this inhumane practice. While duck shooting may be considered a ‘fun' day out by a minority, it is expected one million waterfowl will be brutally shot and killed, or left crippled, during the three-month season on New Zealand waterways.

Research conducted overseas indicates that duck shooters fail to kill up to a third of the birds outright, merely injuring them. SAFE believes this means as many as 275,000 birds, including geese, swans and native ducks, may be left crippled or left to die a slow and agonising death.

"The duck hunting season is indiscriminate slaughter by untrained and inexperienced shooters, many of whom go out just this one day of the year," says SAFE Campaign director Eliot Pryor.

"The Department of Conservation has refused over the years to consider any research into the numbers of birds crippled," Mr Pryor says. "We believe this is because they do not want the answers, and that if the public knew the suffering involved with duck hunting, the activity would be acknowledged as cruel and indefensible."

SAFE is also concerned that despite the clear link between animal abuse and domestic violence, children are being actively encouraged to take up this blood sport and being taught that it is acceptable to kill for no other reason than fun. "SAFE regards as irresponsible the example duck hunting sets for children, from the use of firearms through to the treatment of animals," says Mr Pryor .

Duck hunting is banned in three Australian states due to the extreme suffering it causes, and SAFE will continue its fight until this blood sport is no longer tolerated in New Zealand.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Encourage your family or friends to not go shooting;
  • If shooters are shooting in your area, keep an eye out for incidences of illegally activities (shooting birds on the water, shooting protected species, shooting while intoxicated, shooting without a licence, use of lead shot). Report any illegal hunting activities to the police;
  • Write a letter to your local paper highlighting the cruelty involved.
  • Feed local ducks in your area. Many ducks will take refuge in parks and inner city rivers.

4 May 2012