News Blog Articles Duck shooting: Celebrating violence

Duck shooting: Celebrating violence

May 10th, 2016

Every time I see or hear a pro-duck shooting advertisement in  mainstream media it never fails to shock me a little. Surely your  average, caring Kiwi is not OK with the idea of blasting wildlife out of  the sky for fun?

Anyone would think that New Zealanders as a whole find duck shooting acMale_mallard_duck2.jpg 530w, 150w, 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 265px) 100vw, 265px” width=”265″ height=”178″>ceptable.  Turn on the 6 o’clock news the night before the opening of the duck  shooting season and you will no doubt see a light-hearted story  portraying a ‘fun Kiwi pastime’. Add in a few duck puns and you’ve got a  quacking good story.

Take the full-page pro-duck shooting advert in the NZ Herald recently, captioned “Nature’s Supermarket is open for business”.  I was shocked and saddened to see the smiling, innocent face of a child  who was holding multiple dead ducks and carrying a firearm on his back.

Surely we want to teach kids to respect wildlife?

Do we really want to supply children with guns and glorify the killing of innocent animals?

Surely ‘celebrating the duck’, as the advert suggested we do, should  be about celebrating them as the free, living beings they deserve to be?

What kind of message are we teaching children when we say that it’s OK to maim and kill some animals for fun?

I truly hope that when the boy in the advert is old enough to think  for himself he will regret the pain and suffering he caused those  innocent, peaceful birds and re-embrace the empathy he was originally  born with.

The duck shooters, of course, have a million ways of justifying their  much loved hobby, some claiming that they do it in the name of  conservation (do they really believe this?) and others in order  to feed their family. When you add up the cost of a shooting licence,  firearms and all the fancy gear that goes with the hobby, it adds up to  being a very expensive way to feed the family!

Another false claim is that it’s a quick, clean kill. Not even James  Bond could shoot a moving target perfectly 100% of the time. The sad  fact is, estimatfunny-duck_12551_600x450.jpg 150w, 300w, 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 363px) 100vw, 363px” width=”363″ height=”272″>es  from similar situations overseas say that around 25% of birds are not  killed outright and are left to die slow and painful deaths. A computer  model of the action of a shotgun and the flying bird concluded that most  competent shooters will average one bird wounded for each bird bagged.

Not to mention the accidental deaths of the hunters themselves that happen every year in New Zealand.

Not all the bird species killed are considered fit for eating.   (Pukeko pie, anyone?) Every year we see stories about large numbers of  dead ducks, swans and geese being dumped on the roadside after hunters  realised that they had shot more than they could fit in their freezer.

Sadly the danger doesn’t even end when the shooting season finishes.

Some birds, including protected native water birds, can be slowly  poisoned to death after ingesting lead shot left behind. The Government  banned the use of some lead shot in 2005 but foolishly allowed it to be  used in lighter shotguns. SAFE is calling for the Government to protect  our birds and ban ALL use of lead shot. It is the very LEAST they can  do. You can help by urging the Government to ban ALL lead shot.

When you look at the duck-shooting facts, there really isn’t much to celebrate.

Yes, nature’s supermarket IS plentiful. But how about leaving the wildlife alone and picking apples instead?

Laura Gentle

National Volunteer Coordinator


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