The AJP submission to the LC Select Committee Inquiry into Victoria's Recreational Native Bird Hunting Arrangements is now available.
The Select Committee will inquire into and report on Victoria's recreational bird hunting arrangements including the operation of annual bird hunting seasons, arrangements in other jurisdictions, the environmental sustainability and impacts and the social and economic impact.
Terms of Reference
A select committee of nine members be established to inquire into, consider and report by 31 August 2023 on Victoria’s recreational native bird hunting arrangements, including but not limited to —
(a) the operation of annual native bird hunting seasons;
(b) arrangements in other Australian jurisdictions;
(c) their environmental sustainability and impact on amenity;
(d) their social and economic impact.
The Animal Justice Party contributed a 21-page submission to this consultation and provided 12 recommendations. You can download and read our full submission below
That the practice of recreational native bird shooting is inherently cruel has been demonstrated beyond dispute and should be sufficient grounds in and of itself to bring about an immediate end to the season permanently in a compassionate society. The Victorian public have very clearly given their condemnation of the past time and as such the social licence has been largely withdrawn, pending the Victorian Parliament catching up to modern expectations and passing appropriate legislation.
The Game Management Authority has demonstrated repeatedly that it is not fit for purpose in the management or regulation and enforcement of recreational native bird shooting, not even able to state all the locations in which they could have responsibilities. The practitioners of this cruel hobby have proven themselves incapable of going a single year without committing serious infractions such as killing endangered species.
The Government has repeatedly ignored the seriousness of species decline in an era of mass biodiversity loss and the threat of major extinctions as birds face imminent threat from habitat loss and climate change. Shooting for the pleasure of a minority is an additional pressure that bird numbers can ill afford. This is especially true when the rare and endangered birds caught or harassed in the crossfire are considered and inadequate protections are afforded to them.
The Government has repeatedly ignored the independent scientific data on bird populations, preferring to substitute alternative narratives to suit their purpose. In some of the most relevant areas to this issue there simply is no study done or sought, such as genuine wounding rates or on quail population numbers, making the Government negligent in their claims of sustainability.
Communities are made potentially unsafe by the lack of signage, clarity on rules and poor training of enforcement officers. WIth the encroaching residential development in areas like Geelong the fact that the activity is permitted without any form of risk assessment is culpable on the part of the Government.
Economically the benefit duck shooters bring to regional Victoria is marginal if not outright questionable. The benefit communities could receive from opening the wetlands to use by all including international eco-tourism, on the other hand, is significant and probably still understated.
A cruel, unpopular, socially irresponsible and badly managed activity has no place in Victoria as we move forward to a society that values and protects its biodiversity, that has compassion for all living creatures and that seeks to take advantage of the great benefits that come with the end to recreational native bird shooting.