Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says YES to native waterbird slaughter

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 18 February 2020

Fires have torn through Victoria, millions of hectares have been destroyed, millions of animals are dead and help still hasn’t reached all of the survivors — yet Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has just called a ‘recreational’ native duck shooting season.

In just weeks, shooters will descend on the few remaining ‘safe zones’ for wildlife and native waterbirds, and open fire — for ‘fun’.

  • After years of drought.
  • In the wake of the country’s most devastating bushfire crisis.
  • Against the advice of wildlife experts, scientists, vets, government officials — and we’re told the environment department itself…

…it seems that Premier Daniel Andrews may have ‘pulled rank’ and authorised for a season to go ahead.

You would be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on.

In a word? Politics.

We’ve been told that this is all about politics. And that’s what makes this decision all the more outrageous.

Government sources say Premier Daniel Andrews is worried about losing a handful of Labor-held marginal seats in regional Victoria, where he perceives support for duck shooting to be strong. It may run deeper than that but media reports indicate that if this decision had been left up to the Environment Minister — as it should be — a season would not be going ahead.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

Thousands of native animals will be terrorised, brutally maimed and slaughtered for ‘fun’ — because of politics.

Locals in regional towns are still recovering from the trauma and decimation of bushfires, and now they have to contend with shooters descending on wetlands, too, because of perceived fears of losing the ‘gun vote’.

If you’re throwing your hands in the air and feeling compelled to disengage from politics all together, we get it (no really, we do). But it’s the cynical, political nature of this decision – which will have catastrophic consequences for animals — that requires us to dig deep and do the very opposite.

The Premier may think the shooters lobby is louder than us – louder than the millions of people across the world who have united in recent months in their heartbreak at seeing Australia’s precious ecosystems obliterated by fire. He may think that the voices of people who think it’s ‘fun’ to hurt and kill vulnerable native animals are more powerful than those of us who have been spending weeks and months doing everything they can to save every last life.

Above: The Premier has abandoned wildlife and the brave vets and wildlife carers who have been working tirelessly in the aftermath of the fires to save lives. Instead, he’s siding with the tiny minority who choose to hurt and kill native animals for ‘fun’.

He may think that it’s politically savvy to side with those who enter sanctuaries with deadly weapons.

We need to show him he’s picked the wrong side.

If ever the government had reason to defend suspending a duck shooting season, it was this year.

Prolonged drought has seen waterbird numbers plummet and breeding drop to record lows. Catastrophic fires have destroyed habitats and experts are warning that the full impact on ecosystems and wildlife — including native waterbirds — may not be understood for months or even years.

"There’s been around about a seventy per cent decline in waterbirds over the past thirty-odd years… if the decline of wetlands continues… the ultimate result of that is extinction of animals."
- Professor Richard Kingsford, director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW

To allow shooters into wetland sanctuaries at this time of unprecedented disaster is unconscionable.

We’re going to make sure they won’t be alone.

We’ll be there again alongside our friends at Coalition Against Duck Shooting and their team of rescuers, saving as many lives as possible, and bearing witness to the violence, the cruelty and the destruction. And as we do every year, we’ll be exploring every legal avenue available to us to protect precious wetlands and waterbirds from the violence of duck shooting.

Sometimes you can make the strongest and most compelling case on behalf of animals but the politics still wins out in the end. That’s the unfortunate situation we are facing today.

But to the many thousands of people who have spoken out on this issue, please don’t think that your efforts have been in vain. In fact, it’s because you’ve taken every opportunity to make your voice heard that the Victorian Premier is now in the minority in his apparent support for duck shooting – and he is facing mounting internal pressure to change Labor’s policy and ban this brutal ‘recreational’ slaughter of native animals.

As Australians are still recovering from the trauma of the bushfire crisis, and after the prolonged agony of years of drought, now is not the time to side with violence and destruction – we have seen enough of that to last a lifetime. Now it is the time for those with a vision to rise up and to see that vision come to pass — a vision for a future where compassion is celebrated and encouraged. A vision where bravery and courage in the face of devastation is rewarded. A vision that involves protecting the unique wildlife and precious ecosystems for future generations.

Premier Daniel Andrews may not think that’s important. But we think that’s something worth fighting for.

If you agree, please join us in speaking out:

Speak up for wildlife »