Duck shooting: Killing and poisoning for funMay 5th, 2016
Government still allowing lead shot loophole for duck shooters
Saturday 7 May will herald another season of death for hundreds of thousands of ducks, swans and geese—including native wildfowl—as the duck shooting season opens. Not only will around a million birds be killed by shooters, but tens of thousands will be left maimed and crippled. An untold number will succumb to lead poisoning, due to the government’s continued inaction on a loophole in the law.
“The massacre that is duck shooting has been going on for many years despite plenty of evidence of the suffering it causes,” says SAFE Executive director Hans Kriek. “The nature of shotgun shooting means that many birds are not killed outright but are wounded and left to die a lingering death.”
To make matters worse, many birds, including protected native waterfowl, are slowly poisoned to death after ingesting lead shot they mistake for grit. To stop this cruel poisoning, the Government banned the use of lead shot in 2005 but in an exemption, foolishly allowed lead shot to be used in lighter shotguns.
The Department of Conservation acknowledges that lead shot entering the environment and food chains causes contamination but says that the historical exemption is considered justified to ensure that younger hunters can enter the sport of waterfowl hunting through the use of lighter guns, for which only lead shot is available at an affordable price.
“This exemption is being used by many hunters who have switched to lighter guns so they can avoid the lead shot ban,” says Mr Kriek. “The time has come for the Government to close this loophole once and for all so that hunters can no longer poison our environment. Given the carnage already caused by duck shooting, banning all lead shot is the least the Government can do to lessen the damage to our wildlife and environment.”