In defence of hunting
In support of Peter McKenzie, I would like to defend hunting and particularly duck hunting. It has been a long tradition in my family, my grandfather and father hunted together in WA. The official season there (long ago) began the Sunday before Christmas and duck was on the Christmas menu. Ever since I have endeavoured to place delicious wild duck on the family plates during and after the duck hunting season. My two sons now (when available – duck season opening coincides with cricket finals in Melbourne) hunt with me. I live in hope that my granddaughters will be able to join us when old enough.
Responsible and ethical duck hunters do not behave as described by Kerrie Allen, and I know there are a few irresponsible hunters that give all of us a bad name. The Victorian Police and Wildlife Officers will catch and make an example of these people eventually. Prosecution of wrong doing is supported by all responsible hunters.
Any killing involves cruelty to some degree, and I hope that the people that argue against hunting on cruelty grounds are all vegans and do not have animal products on their bodies. My friends who have worked in an abattoirs tell me that the pigs know what will happen to them when they are in the queue – and they have suspicions about cattle and sheep. While the highest standards are set, human error does occur. It seems to me that the surprise ending of life in one’s natural environment is preferable to standing in a queue awaiting one’s turn.
Hunting has been a long tradition in Australia, from 60,000 years before the first settlers to today. Many people outside the cities continue to supplement their diet with hunted meat. Rabbit, goat and kangaroo are prized meats by many in the country and in the cities. Kangaroo, camel, crocodile (not my favourite) and goat are served in restaurants around Australia. (Try Parachilna for the variety there). If you eat meat, you must accept the consequences of that decision in that an animal dies to provide that meal. I prefer to hunt my meat when I can, but I certainly understand when people choose to buy meat killed by someone else.
A further argument mounted by those opposing duck hunting is the threat to the population of ducks. Ducks are opportunistic breeders and will continue to breed when environmental conditions are suitable. In wet years when there are floods, duck numbers rise enormously, and in dry years they do not. Loss of environment is a greater threat to duck numbers than hunting. Draining of swamps for residential purposes also poses a problem for duck numbers. All responsible hunters appreciate the necessity of reducing quotas and shortening the hunting season when required by environmental conditions.
Hunting with guns is not everybody’s preference, but it is an activity partaken by many from both city and country. Duck hunting is legal and regulated. Ask rice farmers whether they would like duck hunting banned – and those cereal farmers with large numbers of wood ducks on their crop.
The problem many people have with duck hunters is with the irresponsible, unethical hunters who do nothing to promote the activity, do not follow the rules and leave a mess behind in hunting areas. All good hunters despise such irresponsibility and wish those people would not participate in duck hunting. I also hope that they get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
George Wyatt, Newbridge
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