Duck Shooting: Demand an Independent Review
Every year during duck shooting season our peaceful, beautiful wetlands are disturbed by the sounds of gunfire, accompanying the death and injury of huge numbers of birds.
Duck shooting is indiscriminate slaughter of both native and introduced species, and it can cause severe suffering for those birds not killed outright.
The use of shotguns is known to cause high wounding rates. Birds are not always retrieved as not all duck shooters use dogs to fetch downed animals and some injured birds manage to fly out of range.
International studies illustrate that there are very high numbers of birds wounded and maimed by duck shooters, rather than being killed outright. The evidence shows that between 20 and 40 per cent of water birds that are struck by shotgun pellets are never retrieved. Many die lingering deaths.
There are no figures from New Zealand on the percentage of birds crippled, but there is no reason to think that there is a difference in ability between those who are targeting water birds here compared with those overseas. If even 20 per cent of the approximately one million birds shot in New Zealand each year are left crippled, this equates to 200,000 birds suffering in this way.
When reviews were undertaken in some Australian states, the true suffering caused by duck shooting was revealed. Duck shooting has already been banned in Western Australia (1990), New South Wales (1995) and Queensland (2005). It was never allowed in the ACT.
We have called on previous governments, numerous times, to commission an independent review of injury rates. These calls have been ignored by ministers and vigorously resisted by shooting advocates, including Fish & Game.
We want duck shooting stopped for good, and the next step to making that happen is for the Government to get New Zealand-specific data on wounding rates. We are calling for the Minister of Conservation to commission an urgent independent review into the number of birds that are wounded and maimed by duck shooters.
Ask the Minister of Conservation, Hon Eugenie Sage MP, to set up an independent New Zealand review on crippling rates from duck shooting.