Inquiry into Native Bird Shooting - have your say
In line with the State Government’s election commitment, on 9 March 2023 the Legislative Council formed a Committee to inquire into the hunting of native waterbirds.
The Committee is now calling for submissions. Submissions close Friday 19 May 2023.
Submissions play a critical role in the Committee recommending a permanent ban of waterbird shooting, and the Government then following this recommendation and legislating the ban in Parliament.
The Committee will consider a range of issues related to the shooting of waterbirds, with particular reference to:
- Community values and perspective;
- Cultural, social and recreational aspects;
- Sustainability, environmental and animal welfare aspects of native bird hunting;
- Economic considerations;
- Perspectives of First Nations;
- How native bird hunting is managed in other jurisdictions; and
- Any other relevant matter
Any individual or organisation wishing to make a written submission to the Committee, or register an interest in presenting oral evidence to the Committee, is invited to do so by Friday, 19 May 2023.
Written submissions and expressions of interest should be addressed to the Secretary to the Committee, C/- Parliament House, GPO Box 572, Adelaide 5001, or emailed to [email protected]
Submission Training and Q&A Session
If you weren't able to attend our training session, please find a link to the recording below.
It can feel daunting writing a submission, but remember a submission is enormously better than no submission.
It doesn't need to be long, and it doesn't need to be perfect.
It just needs to come from the heart, and for you to share the reasons why you so passionately believe duck shooting needs to stop.
Our Guide to Making a Submission
- 1-2 paragraphs in your own words is adequate to make your point (although longer, detailed submissions, with attached evidence, are encouraged).
- Identify yourself, and make it clear who the submission is from (you as an individual or on behalf of an organisation)
- Identify the terms of reference you’re addressing and stay within them
- Identify the issue/s that are important to you
- Explain why it is important to you and others
- Describe your experience: What happened? How did you feel? Why do you care? Why should the committee care?
- Why is this issue important to the broader community?
- Include additional material if appropriate (articles, letters, photos, videos)
- Structure your submission into these three sections:
1) Beginning: describe the problem and its causes
2) Middle: explain the long-term effects of the problem, describe wider implications for other groups/stakeholders
3) End: outline the steps to fix the problem
- Sign your submission and provide your name, address, email and phone number
Below are dot points relating to the terms of reference to provide a starting point for you to write to and address in your submission.
Please note that it is extremely important to write submissions that are unique and personal - if the Committee feels that the same submission has been submitted multiple times, it will be treated like a petition and will significantly reduce the impact of your submission. Using a tool like ChatGPT can be helpful to repurpose/rewrite information you may have sourced elsewhere. Use commands like “rephrase this sentence/paragraph,” “can you come up with a new way of saying this,” "can you help me avoid plagiarism by rewording this,” “can you source research/evidence to support this argument.”
Please also note the importance of addressing a wide variety of issues that relate to waterbird shooting. The suffering inflicted on waterbirds is of course a significant issue, but the greater the diversity of issues raised, addressed, demonstrated and supported by evidence, the more likely the committee will see no other option but to vote for a permanent ban of waterbird shooting. Addressing even just one of these issues will be extremely helpful, there is no need to address all of them unless you want to.
- Approximately 1 in every 4 birds will not be killed instantly by gunshot. This number is referring to "downed ducks." Many ducks which shooters think they missed aren't missed and are flying wounded.
- Many birds suffer broken wings and legs as well as injuries to eyes and major organs.
- Due to the indiscriminate nature of shooting and the ‘scattergun’ trajectory of pellets fired from shotguns, protected and even endangered species are also killed and wounded each year.
- Prolonged suffering is commonplace, and injured birds may eventually succumb to infection, predation, starvation or drowning.
- Shooters are required to retrieve wounded birds and ‘dispatch’ them immediately; however, wounded birds often continue to fly or fall from the sky into dense reeds where they are difficult or impossible to locate.
- ‘Windmilling’ (swinging the duck by the neck around in an arc/circle) is frequently observed on the wetlands despite resulting in a slow and painful death. If this fails to kill the wounded bird, they are often shoved into a shooter’s belt or box, still alive.
- Throughout Eastern Australia, water bird abundance and breeding pairs have shown significant decline. Researchers estimate numbers to have fallen by as much as 90 per cent in the last four decades. Six out of eight ‘game’ species – those listed for shooting - show long-term decline. A seventh ‘game’ species has collapsed in this last decade. Two ‘game’ species are already listed as threatened. Some species risk being shot to extinction. If you have research that shows a similar decline in waterbirds here in South Australia please include it.
- Wetlands where duck shooting takes place are increasingly impacted by the presence of chemicals such as Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) and contamination such as blue-green algae making them unsafe to enter or harvest meat from.
- Lead shot was used in duck hunting until 2002 and is still used in quail hunting (which often occurs on land surrounding wetlands). Toxic levels of lead have still been found present in ducks in recent years, presenting a health and safety risk to the birds themselves, as well as humans and prey animals who consume these birds.
- Wetlands are ceremonial and initiation sites, traditional grounds and boundary markers for Indigenous Australians. Evidence of the damage to Indigenous land caused by recreational shooting is well documented – for example, scar trees cut down and removed for use as firewood, cooking mounds destroyed, and litter and human excrement left behind.
- The Australia Institute’s 2012 Out for a Duck report is the only economic study to consider the effect of a ban on duck shooting. That report found no economic impact in the real-world situation when other states have banned it. The expenditure is likely to shift to other activities (e.g. camping, 4WD, kayaking etc). Supporters of duck shooting often quote the supposed economic benefits from all types of hunting to confuse the issue and bolster their argument.
- If shooter claims of their expenditure in 2019 (reported in taxpayer-funded surveys) were correct, each duck would cost them $266 to ‘harvest’.
- Urban areas close to game reserves and other areas where duck shooting occurs make the safety of residents a huge concern.
- No cost-benefit study has ever been conducted to include the negative impact of duck shooting on regional communities. Locals complain of lost sleep, inability to work from home, lost tourism, distressed children and terrified animals.
- Each season rescuers find protected duck species who have been shot and abandoned by shooters. Target ‘game’ species are also left behind, allowing hunters to continue shooting while not exceeding their ‘bag limit’.
- Each season duck shooters start shooting before and continue shooting after the legal times, often in total darkness. This increases the chance of shooting a protected species, wounding rather than killing, and makes it near impossible to retrieve birds.
- Common breaches of hunting laws by duck shooters include allowing dogs to harass and torture wounded ducks, shooting without a licence, walking with a locked and loaded gun, theft of timber, shooting whilst intoxicated, and failing to retrieve wounded birds before firing again.
- There are no random breath tests for duck shooters. Concerns have also been raised by leading gun control groups with regard to the legal use of guns by children as young as 12 years old, in breach of the National Firearms Agreement. Juniors (under 18) are given free hunting licences to encourage them to become long-term duck shooters.
- SA, alongside Victoria and TAS, are the last states to put an end to duck shooting, lagging behind NSW by 20 years, and WA by a full three decades.
- Nature-based recreational activities on our lakes and rivers are put on hold, and revenue that could be made through these industries suffers.