KINDNESS NOT CRUELTY SOUGHT FOR NEW ZEALAND'S DUCKS

Speaking up for animals on the eve of duck shooting season, Waikato resident and SAFE supporter Nabeal Ford is joining SAFE in calling for compassion and respect for ducks. "You don't need to hurt an animal to prove anything," he says. "Just the opposite, I reckon a sign of being a real man is looking out for those who are more vulnerable."

Duck shooting is not a sport but a massacre, says animal advocacy organisation SAFE. The first day of duck season is tomorrow, 4 May, and on top of the hundreds of thousands killed, tens of thousands of birds will be wounded in the first weekend alone. SAFE deplores the deaths and casualties that will be caused and says it is time for duck shooters to stop causing horrific suffering for thousands of ducks.

Research conducted overseas indicates that duck shooters fail to cleanly kill up to a third of the birds they shoot. SAFE says this means up to 275,000 birds, including geese, swans and native ducks, will be crippled and left to die a slow and agonising death.

"There is no sport in duck shooting. The duck hunting season is a haphazard slaughter by inexperienced shooters, many of whom go out just this one weekend of the year," says SAFE Campaign Director Eliot Pryor. "It is an opportunity for untrained people to take pot shots at animals for fun. It is even worse this year considering the tough time many wild birds have had during the drought."

SAFE also says it a serious conflict of interest that duck populations are managed by Fish and Game, a hunting organisation. "Fish and Game talk about ‘harvesting' ducks as though they are vegetables or crops ready to be picked, not animals capable of feeling pain and suffering," says Mr Pryor. It is time it was recognised that real harm is being inflicted on wild, and native, birds."

May 2013