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The Hon Susan Close

Minister for Environment and Water

cc Premier Peter Malinauskas

Dear Minister,

I am deeply saddened by the prospect of a duck and quail shooting season in 2024. I strongly urge you to SUSPEND shooting for the next year, for several reasons.

1. Hunting regulations are unenforceable This year animal advocates with 5 cameras on one day in one location filmed 5 clear breaches of hunting regulations, which have since been prosecuted by DEW. Without the efforts of these volunteers, the examples of gross mistreatment of ducks would have gone unreported, as do all the other breaches across shooting locations during the 3 month season. DEW is incapable of enforcing hunting regulations, especially relating to animal welfare – it simply doesn’t have sufficient staff to monitor hunter behaviour.

2. Victoria may ban duck shooting The Victorian Inquiry into Recreational Native Bird Hunting Regulations has recommended that duck and quail shooting be banned. We do not yet know how the government will respond to that recommendation. If a ban is imposed, or a very restricted season, Victorian shooters are likely to flock across the border. There will be even more unenforced breaches of regulations and more ducks will be left suffering on our wetlands.

3. Duck numbers continue to decline We know that duck numbers are in steady decline from the annual Eastern Australian Waterbird Aerial Survey, which includes South Australia. DEW has not processed this information in the manner required by its decision making matrix, as shown in the Birds SA testimony to the Inquiry into the Hunting of Native Birds. Duck numbers will decline even further as we head into an El Nino weather pattern. Less rain means less breeding. The current El Nino promises to further challenge duck populations.

4. The public has expressed its opposition to recreational hunting In the recent review of the Animal Welfare Act, a large number of respondents called for an end to duck and quail shooting. The public is appalled by scenes such as those filmed at Lake George, where shooters were indifferent to the suffering of wounded ducks and either incompetently tried to kill them by “windmilling”, an unacceptable and inhumane technique, or didn’t bother to kill them at all; just left them flailing in pain at their feet. Yet this sort of cruelty goes on all the time, unobserved and unpunished.

For all these reasons, please SUSPEND the decision making process around the 2024 season and announce that there will be no further season until the Victorian situation has been resolved and the South Australian Select Committee report has been tabled and fully considered.

Dear Minister, Please don't declare a duck and quail season in 2024
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