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High wounding rates means thousands of birds will die slow

The duck shooting season starts today, and hundreds of thousands of birds will die slow, painful deaths as a result.

SAFE wants duck shooting banned in New Zealand due to the high numbers of birds, including natives that are wounded and maimed, and die slow and painful deaths. When a shot is fired, birds flying alongside the target bird can be hit by the hundreds of fragments spread from the shotgun shell. These birds fall to the ground where they can lie in agony for hours, sometimes days, until they finally die.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says as a country of animal lovers, duck shooting is completely unacceptable in New Zealand.

"Imagine taking your children to the pond to feed the ducks, and to find maimed birds, slowly dying, who have been shot by duck shooters. If you did this to a cat or dog you would be charged with animal cruelty," says Ms Ashton.

"Overseas studies have shown wounding rates of between 10 and 30 per cent. That’s an estimated 200,000 birds, including natives, that could die slowly and painfully in New Zealand this season."

Australia has already banned duck shooting in three states due to the cruelty involved. SAFE has been asking the Government and Fish and Game, who represent all duck shooters, to commission an independent study into the wounding rates of birds. However, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage told SAFE late last year that a study would be too difficult.

"The Minister appears to not be taking this issue seriously, which is unacceptable. Fish and Game and the Government need to take responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of birds who will be needlessly maimed this duck shooting season," says Ms Ashton.

"New Zealand needs to take Australia’s lead on this issue. It’s time for the Government to act and ban duck shooting."

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