Anti-firearms and hunting groups shamelessly use tragedies to push their agendas. These tragedies often have next to zero relevance to LAFO of Australia, yet they continue to manipulate the public with their smoke and mirror campaigns. Andy Medidick from the Animal Justice Party used the bushfire tragedies this week to push his groundless agenda against duck season.
Luke Voogt from the Geelong Independent highlighted just how far some MPs are willing to mislead the public to push through minority legislation.
Bev McArthur took aim at her fellow Member for Western Victoria, Andy Meddick, for linking bushfires destroying habitats across Australia to local duck hunting.
“This call for a year without hunting is a transparent attempt to use the bushfires to pursue an anti-hunting agenda,” she said.
“As Mr Meddick knows well, wetland habitats were not affected by the bushfires. In fact, with significant rainfall in recent weeks, there is no good reason to cancel this year’s season.
“The call to cancel the duck shooting season is an annual tradition for animal activists, and their attempt to link it to the bushfires this year is outrageously cynical.”
Mrs McArthur described duck hunting as a legitimate, safe, healthy and sustainable outdoor recreation beloved by “tens of thousands of Victorians”.
“Now, more than ever, calling off the season would be a kick in the teeth to country towns that need every penny they can get,” she said.
“The industry is worth more than $80 million per year to regional Victoria, and twelve good weeks of guaranteed income will go some way to helping areas recover.”
The criticism comes after Mr Meddick urged State Government to cancel the 2020 duck shooting season ahead of World Wetlands Day last Sunday.
He made the plea citing Birdlife Australia’s recently-released preliminary assessment that found bushfires across Australia had severely impacted the habitats of 19 bird species.
Another 58 species of birds had lost more than a third of their habitat, according to the study.
“We can’t stop the bushfires from threatening habitat – but what the Victorian Government can control is additional pressure
on natural systems,” he said.
“This compelling new bushfire assessment should be the nail in the coffin for duck shooting once and for all, but at the very least, Daniel Andrews must cancel the 2020 season.”
Aerial surveys of eastern Australia before the bushfires found native waterbird populations had dropped 90 per cent in the past 37 years, Mr Meddick said.
Climate change had dried out wet forests and no species were exempt from the threats of extreme weather, he said.
“Recreational shooting activities will only worsen the impact on their already damaged habitat.
“I’m calling on Daniel Andrews to make a compassionate and scientific decision this World Wetlands Day, and ensure our precious native birds aren’t further decimated.”
State Government is set to make a decision in coming days on the duck hunting season, scheduled to start on March 3.
Field & Game Australia chief executive Dean O’Hara has criticised misrepresentations in a recent poll on duck hunting in southern Victoria.
His comments follow reports from Gippsland Field & Game Association members saying they were questioned by pollsters reporting to be a responsible polling organisation.
A spokesperson for the organisation said the company was not polling duck hunting yesterday.
Questions included whether respondents support a decision for a duck season and whether they would support the Labor Government if it declared a duck season.
“The government has shown their support for sustainable duck hunting in past actions and words – made clear by Minister Lily D’Ambrosio in an interview withThe Weekly Timesin December 2019: ‘The Government won’t be banning duck hunting’,” Mr O’Hara said.
“FGA’s history of recreational game bird hunting and the values that uphold the organisation is a fine Australia example of conservation through sustainable use of wildlife.
“FGA stands by its choice to pursue the facts and the data to ensure the most sustainable outcome for a 2020 season – it is not the role or responsibility of the urbanised community to reject an influx of much needed money into a rural community.”
FGA chair Peter Hawker agreed with Mr O’Hara’s views and called for the use of facts and data relevant to the issue at hand.
“Regional Victoria needs a cash injection and duck hunters willingly provide that to the rural economy,” he said.
“FGA have provided a comprehensive report backed by long term scientific studies proving the sustainability of duck hunting.
“Sensible bag limits apply to represent seasonal conditions.
“Game is good to eat, game is plentiful, and people will hunt.”