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Duck Shooters Told Lay Down Your Arms

29 April 2004

Duck Shooters Told Lay Down Your Arms

Duck shooters will be told to lay down their arms by anti-duck shooting campaigners on the opening of New Zealand¹s 2004 duck-killing season on the first of May.

"Lake Ellesmere will resonate to the sounds of war combined with messages of peace and non violence blasted at duck shooters through a massive amplified 1500 watt sound system, " says Hans Kriek, Campaign Director for SAFE, New Zealand¹s largest and oldest animal rights organisation.

"SAFE¹s animal rescue team will scout the shores surrounding Lake Ellesmere for injured and dying birds. Any injured ducks retrieved will receive veterinary care and will be rehabilitated back into the wild."

"Duck shooting is inherently cruel because shotguns operate in a way that makes it impossible to ensure ducks are killed outright, even when used by a skilled marksman. International studies show that even the most competent shooters will still wound one duck for every duck they bag."

"Ducks can be horrifically injured from the broad scattering of pellets. Legs and wings can be left dangling and bills smashed. Eyes can be shot from sockets or left bulging and full of blood by a pellet blow to the head. Birds may take days or even weeks to die, suffering agonising and prolonged pain. In New Zealand it is estimated that of the one million birds shot each year at least 75,000 will be left maimed and crippled."

"It is not only ducks who suffer this senseless gun-violence. Over half the reported serious assaults¹ with firearms in 1996 were in the family violence category, indicating the impact of firearms on people in the home. New Zealand holds the largest per capita stockpile of firearms in the Pacific region, with 22 lawful guns for every 100 New Zealanders. If we are serious about addressing violence in our society, we must disarm the approximately 40,000 duck shooters to help make New Zealand a much safer place, for ducks and people alike".

SAFE's anti-duck shooting campaign will commence at 6am, Saturday 1 May, on the shores of Lake Ellesmere. SAFE's animal rescue team will arrive in a 4-wheel drive bus; the sound equipment will be operated from an ex-New Zealand army Unimog, an all-terrain vehicle able to reach even the most remote mai mai. The Unimog will also carry large anti-duck shooting banners.

ENDS

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