A Victorian online poll on duck hunting has gone ballistic, attracting more than 40,000 votes as pro- and anti-hunting groups rally around it.
The Weekly Times poll simply asks whether duck hunting should be banned, and it is not the first of its kind the newspaper has conducted, but it has become the biggest poll the title has ever conducted.
[Update: as of 30 January, it appears the poll has been closed.]
Weekly Times online editor Fiona Mitchell said they could not tell where the votes came from, so it was not possible to known how much of it was Victorian, Australian and international.
The pro-hunting vote was ahead before the weekend, but Weekly Times senior reporter Chris McLennan said a campaign by animal welfare groups had turned the vote around.
There were questions about the validity of the anti-hunt vote, though, after pro-hunting observer Hans Witteveen reported that about 16,000 votes against duck hunting came in over just a few hours. It is possible a robot was casting the votes.
Almost 14,000 hunting supporters have voted, but the poll is currently weighted about two-thirds against duck hunting. [Around the time the poll closed, hunters had rallied to swing the vote just in our favour, at 52% to 48%, according to Mr Witteveen.]
The result is, of course, largely academic as it will not alter the Victorian government’s current support for duck hunting, which was emphasised by Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh, who said: “The Victorian Coalition Government encourages hunters to make the most of the opportunities to hunt, fish and enjoy these recreational activities, which form part of our heritage.”
However, winning any popularity contest is regarded as a small victory by hunters and their opponents, and now hunters are spreading the word to try to overtake the anti-hunt votes.
Meanwhile, another poll in being run on Fairfax websites asks whether allowing conservation hunting in national parks would stop people visiting the parks.
As we uploaded this tory, just over three-quarter of respondents said it would not stop them.