Duck Shooting. Sport or Slaughter

Duck Shooting. Sport or Slaughter -
Photo Credit: Castaway Lodge via Compfight cc

It’s that time of year again where shooters and animal advocates are in the midst of a war of words over the start of this year’s duck shooting season.

Animal advocates call duck shooting, “duck killing” and “slaughter” while the shooters themselves call it a “sport”, “legitimate practice” and “recreational pastime or activity”.

Both sides are intent on demonising the other, branding them with labels like “barbarian”, “bloodthirsty”, “out of touch” and “ignorant”

If we put emotion and rhetoric aside, it is a clear-cut case of one side is right while the other is wrong, or are the lines blurred a little?

What Duck Shooting Isn’t

The first thing we need to do is clarify that duck shooting ISN’T a sport. The SSAA even say as much, in this Facebook post.

Neither is it something that “provides everyday Australians access to a sustainable free-range organic food”.

To be perfectly honest here I more than a little surprised that the SSAA made that comment.

They know better than anyone else that everyday Australian’s AREN’T licensed firearms owners. Nor are they duck shooters.

I would also hazard a guess and say that what the ducks eat before they are killed couldn’t be classed as organic, no matter how loosely you want to define that term.

Now that we have knocked those claims out of the park, what about the others made by the SSAA in this post?

  • regulated and scientifically sustainable duck hunting seasons
    Yes. It is regulated though that is because firearms are used. As for scientifically sustainable, well that is questionable, to say the least.
  • passed the relevant waterfowl identification tests
    Yes, they have. How relevant it is to actually shooting at an animal is beyond me. You can take a practice test by following this link.
  • animal liberation group Animals Australia.
    This is my favourite of the demonising counter attacks by the SSAA.
    There is no way that Animals Australia could be called an animal liberation group.
    They, in fact, call themselves an “animal protection” organisation.
  • shooting has been proven as a humane method of culling pest animals by the RSPCA
    Technically they are right. Within the context of duck shooting they are wrong.
  • Is it a slaughter?
    According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, it is the act of killing animals for their meat
  • How about a cheap way to get access to organic free range animal flesh?
    If you take into account the cost of the shotgun (upward of $1,000), annual game licence $54.40, ammunition, transport, time spent ‘dressing’ the ducks killed, the cost soon skyrockets. Therefore, it is understandable that a reasonable person would say it is far cheaper and easier to spend $30.00-ish and get one delivered.

What Was That About The RSPCA?

What the SSAA won’t tell you in their propaganda pieces is that the Victoria RSPCA is actually against it.

While the RSPCA does say that hunting CAN be a humane way of killing ‘pest’ animals, there is more to it than that.

Things like:

  • it is carried out by experienced, skilled and responsible shooters
  • the animal can be clearly seen and is within range
  • the correct firearm, ammunition and shot placement is used
  • wounded animals are located and killed as quickly and humanely as possible
  • death of the target animal is confirmed before shooting another animal

None of which generally apply when duck shooting.

Can It Be Stopped?

Ultimately, the only way to stop duck hunting is for the relevant government not to allow them to be hunted, which may not be such an easy task.

Yelling and screaming won’t do it.

Writing a letter to your local member is equally pointless. Especially if it is was their party that supported it in the first place.

With duck season claimed to be of some huge economic benefit to the particular states, the one thing that will stop it is an alternative event of greater value.

I wonder what would happen if a discussion was started with those who are going shooting this season, to find out why they are participating, then offering an equally cost-effective and socially acceptable alternative?

Could that be another way to stop it?

Share your thoughts below.