Heritage or dated cruelty?

THE Victorian Government will press ahead with a full 12-week season of duck hunting in 2014 despite a tide of criticism from people in the region opposed to the controversial practice.

On Friday the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced the 2014 season would open on 15 March and end on 9 June, with a bag limit of 10 birds.

The news sparked a spirited debate on The Bendigo Advertiser website, mostly critical of duck hunting.

An online poll on the issue generated 4683 votes -  three times the number of the Advertiser's largest poll.

Votes were evenly split on the question "Should Victoria have a duck hunting season?", with 51 per cent saying 'yes' and 41 per cent 'no'

Reflective of many remarks, Michele Huthnance commented: "Why not value the diversity of the wetland that includes the duck!? 

"Shoot with a camera. Not everything is about money."

Colin Carrington wrote: "Thank goodness the current state coalition government has not kowtowed to a namby pamby minority group.

"Duck season and other hunting brings much-needed money to country areas."

Peter replied that "prostitution, illegal drugs and organised crime also generates income".

Ian wrote that many years ago he was once a duck shooter but stopped because he "could no longer ignore the cruelty of the ducks that we shot that got away to die lingering deaths".

"We still go camping but no longer shoot. 

"I am sure that cruelty-free camping brings in far more to the state than does duck shooting - and can be enjoyed by the whole family."

But "Aitch" said there was an infestation of ducks in Victoria.

Minister Walsh said game hunting was part of Victoria’s heritage, generated about $100 million a year and supported jobs.

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