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Duck Shooters Warned Against Cruelty

6 May 2005

Duck Shooters Warned Against Cruelty

New Zealand's estimated forty thousand duck shooters descending on waterways and wetlands around the country from 6.30am tomorrow are being warned to not take shots that deliberately cripple or maim ducks, geese, swans and other birds.

National animal advocacy organisation SAFE has vigorously challenged the annual duck shooting season since 1990. SAFE claims duck shooting is a cruel bloodsport that perpetuates violence and irresponsible gun use, particularly in children. Each year SAFE rescue teams scout waterways in search of injured birds.

"Each year thousands of water birds are shot and left crippled or wounded. SAFE's bird rescue teams have regularly observed duck shooters firing at birds that are out of range for an effective instant kill. This results in birds being hit but not killed outright causing unnecessary suffering and a slow and painful death," says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek.

At dawn this morning SAFE activists staged a successful mock duck shoot on Christchurch¹s Avon River involving children and their parents dressed as shooters in camouflage gear carrying shotguns.

"Children as young as 4 years of age can legally fire a shotgun at animals with the intent to kill. Today¹s mock duck shoot, which involved children aged between 4 to 12 years of age demonstrated that New Zealand firearms legislation is grossly inadequate and ridiculous. Who in their right mind would hand a loaded firearm to a 4 year old child and tell them to point and kill?"

SAFE has called on the Police Minister George Hawkins to amend the Arms Act to prohibit children from using firearms.

SAFE duck rescue teams in Christchurch will scout Lake Ellesmere over the weekend in search of injured birds that would otherwise be left to die a slow death.

ENDS

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