After the Victorian Government announced in December that it had approved a 2010 duck season, an Australian anti-hunter posted an emotional and factually inaccurate request on the Victorian premier’s website to ban duck hunting.
Premier John Brumby uses his website to solicit opinions on any topic of public importance, and visitors to the site can vote on the topic and post comments. In the first few days after the anti-hunter posted her poll about a duck hunting ban, Australian anti-hunters swung the results in their favor—until Australia’s hunting community got wind of it.
With the poll results strongly against banning duck hunting, Australian anti-hunters appealed to PETA for help. American anti-hunting groups are becoming increasingly involved in campaigns against Australian hunting rights as a way to create precedents that can be imported back to the United States. PETA posted the poll on one of its websites to drum-up support for the ban in the United States.
Australian hunters fear that votes coming in from the United States via PETA will influence future hunting policies in their country, as Brumby uses the results of these informal polls to gauge the merit of suggestions from the public. As of now, poll respondents oppose a duck hunting ban.
Victoria cancelled its duck hunt in 2008 due to drought and low duck numbers. A limited hunt was revived in 2009, and a longer season with more liberal bag limits was approved for 2010, although both the season length and bag limit are significantly smaller than normal.
“After consulting the latest scientific data on waterfowl numbers, and receiving advice from the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Hunting Advisory Committee, the government has decided to approve a restricted season of 72 days, which is two weeks shorter than the normal season,” said Victoria’s Acting Minister for Environment and Climate Change Tim Holding.
“The most recent index of population data collected across eastern Australia indicates game duck numbers have increased since the last duck season.
“And on balance the government is convinced that hunting will not adversely affect populations of ducks at the levels allowed for the 2010 season.”
To view the poll on the premier’s website, as well as the comments left by both hunters and anti-hunters, visit www.premier.vic.gov.au/share-your-ideas/item/root/ban-duck-shooting-2010.html.