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Duck shooting: Killing and poisoning for fun

May 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.”

 

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