Shooters and Fishers Party: ‘wildlife is vermin’

This article was initially published by Tigerquoll 20090622 onCanDoBetter.net under the article title ‘Rees’ ‘red hot go’ hunting in our National Parks‘.  It has been modified somewhat.

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New South Wales Premier Rees is set to pass into law a ‘Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009‘ to permit recreational hunters shooting everything and anything in protected National Parks across NSW, including native wildlife.

Controlling feral animals is a science, not a sport. Rees’ passion for sport is compromised by influential cronies and naivety. Problem is: Rees has no knowledge, experience in or aptitude for science. His inaugural “red hot go” says it all and threatens to be his legacy.

Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)
(a native species not protected)
©Photo by Ákos Lumnitzer (with permission), ^http://www.amatteroflight.com/

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Be clear, the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009, Schedule 3, Part 2 lists the following Australian native fauna as free ‘game‘, including:

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Native Ducks:

Australian Shelduck (or Mountain Duck) (Tadorna tadornoides)
Australian Wood Duck (or Maned Duck) (Chenonetta jubata)
Black Duck (or Pacific Black Duck) (Anas superciliosa)
Blue-winged Shoveler (or Australasian Shoveler) (Anas rhynchotis)
Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
Grass Duck (or Plumed Whistling Duck) (Dendrocygna eytoni)
Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons)
Hardhead Duck (or White-eyed Duck) (Aythya australia)
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)
Water Whistling Duck (or Wandering Whistling Duck, Whistling or Wandering Tree Duck) (Dendrocygna arcuata)

Native Quails:

Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora)
Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

Native Birds:

Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Common Bronzewing Pigeon (Phaps chalcoptera)
Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)
Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Straw Necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Topknot Pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus)

Kangaroos:

Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
Euro (Macropus robustus)
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

Bennetts Wallaby (Red-Necked Wallaby) (Macropus rufogriseus)
is native to Tasmania, but is not protected
(© Photo Burrard-Lucas)  ^http://www.burrard-lucas.com/

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If the proposed legislation is genuinely and solely to control feral animals, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as delegated custodian of National Parks in New South Wales, must first answer these questions:

  1. Why are native animals included amongst the ferals?
  2. What action in fact has the NPWS undertaken over the last 20 years to control ferals in National Parks across NSW?
  3. Which measures have been successful at dealing with the target species and which have not?
  4. Which measures have caused a detrimental impact on non-target species?
  5. What interstate or overseas model/case study does NPWS rely upon to justify why shooting is the preferred method of control?
  6. What standard of identification test is imposed on would be feral shooters?
  7. What standard of marksmanship is required and what NPWS-approval system would be in place?
  8. What monitoring is to be conducted of these shooters and by whom?
  9. What happens to the carcasses to prevent disease?

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If NPWS was serious about controlling feral animals in National Parks, it would have a permanent programme to specifically deal with the key threatening processes that involve ferals, namely to target:

  • Competition and grazing by the feral European rabbit
  • Competition and habitat degradation by feral goats
  • Environmental degradation caused by feral deer
  • Predation by feral cats
  • Predation by the European Red Fox
  • Predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by feral pigs.

SOURCE: DEC, ^http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/pas_ktp.aspx

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These feral species need to be the primary target of eradication. Professional contract shooting may be an option, but it is not for ‘weekend warrriors‘.  The solution must be science-based not sport-based.

According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy:

“Australia has the worst mammal extinction record in the world – 27 mammals have become extinct in the last 200 years. No other country or continent has such a tragic record of mammal extinctions.”

 

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In June 2009 the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill was introduced into the NSW Upper House by Shooters Party MP Robert Brown, that would pave the way for hunting in national parks, private game reserves, the hunting of native species and the growth of recreational shooting on public and private lands (Sydney Morning Herald, page 6, 12 June 2009). Lee called on the Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt to reject outright a new bill from the Shooters Party.

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The NSW Government has withdrawn its support for the bill, but it is still before the NSW Parliament!

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[Source:  Australian Greens Party Senator Lee Rhiannon, ^http://archive.leerhiannon.org.au/portfolios/firearms/firearms/atct_topic_view?b_start:int=10&-C=]

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Overview of the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009:

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The object of this Bill is to amend the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 (the Act) as follows:

  • To enable the Minister responsible for national park estate land to make that land available for the hunting of game animals by licensed game hunters
  • To expand the list of game animals that may be hunted in accordance with the Act and, in the case of any native game animals that are listed, to impose special requirements in relation to the hunting of those animals by licensed game hunters
  • To provide for the operation of private game reserves under the authority of a licence granted by the (NSW) Game Council
  • To make it an offence to approach persons who are lawfully hunting on declared public hunting land or to interfere with persons lawfully hunting game animals
  • To make a number of other amendments of an administrative, minor or consequential nature..

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[Source:  ^http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/nswbills.nsf/1d4800a7a88cc2abca256e9800121f01/6dce0470707e4f4bca2575b4001bd3f1/$FILE/b2009-031-d10-House.pdf]

 

Support from the Coalition of Law Abiding Sporting Shooters Inc (CLASS):

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‘For too long large areas of bushland has been locked away (aka protected from exploitation) as National Parks, State Forests etc. In many of those parks and forests invasive plants, such as blackberries, bracken, lantana, etc have grown unchecked, resulting in a great unbalance among local flora leading to reduced biodiversity among fauna. Permitting conservation hunting in those areas will help restore the balance, while permitting controlled harvesting of native and introduced species for food, trophies or fur/leather….the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009 will go a long way to utilising the inherent value of sustainable resources which would otherwise be wasted.’

[Source:  ^http://www.c-l-a-s-s.net/game-bill.htm]

According to CLASS, wildlife in National Parks are wasted resources

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Selected background articles at the time:

‘Government deal to open national parks to shooters’

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[Source: Erik Jensen, 20091021, Sydney Morning Herald ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/government-deal-to-open-national-parks-to-shooters-20091020-h6yt.html]

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Hunters will be allowed to shoot animals in national parks for the first time under a deal offered to the Shooters’ Party by the NSW Government.  The Herald understands the deal would modify a private member’s bill introduced by a member of the Shooters’ Party, Robert Brown, to allow hunting in 13 national parks if the Shooters’ Party removed demands for enclosed game reserves or safari parks from its draft legislation.

”We have had discussions with senior Labor people,” Mr Brown said. ”I’m not going to confirm or deny that we’re any closer to a resolution … My bottom line is the whole bill must be passed or we continue to withdraw our support for the Government.”

The Shooters’ Party has been holding the Government to ransom since introducing the bill in June and yesterday voted against the Government on all legislation in the upper house.  Negotiations on the bill had broken down with the Premier’s chief of staff, Graeme Wedderburn – who Mr Brown described as ”tits on a bull” – but resumed in September, less than a week after John Robertson took over the environment portfolio. The Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, one of Mr Robertson’s factional allies, took part in negotiations.

According to Mr Brown, the pair offered a memorandum of understanding that would allow hunting in national parks along the Queensland and South Australian borders. But he said the proposed parks were too far away.

”The closest one to Sydney was 10 hours’ drive,” he said. ”That [offer] was there to f— us, as far as I’m concerned.”

The Greens’ spokeswoman on animal welfare, Lee Rhiannon, said the deal was intended to allow free passage of Government legislation through the upper house but may cost Labor seats at the next election – including that of the former environment minister Carmel Tebbutt.

”We’re about to come into the busiest legislation time of the year. They’re going to have to pass 30 bills in a week,” she said. ”If they don’t have the Shooters’ on side, they’ll actually have to talk to other people. [But] as well as being ethically wrong and environmentally damaging, they will be inflicting enormous pain and damage to their own party … For Tebbutt and [Verity] Firth, they could well be putting an expiry date on their political careers.”

The acting executive officer of the National Parks Association of NSW, Bev Smiles, said her office had received an overwhelming amount of correspondence criticising the bill.

”We were hoping the Shooters were having some other face-saving deals with 12-year-olds and airguns,” Ms Smiles said, with reference to another bill the party is introducing.

”[But] with a new Minister for the Environment having an upper house position rather than an electorate, it’s all political. This particular deal has probably created more response from a broader cross-section of the community than any other issue I’ve been involved in.”

Neither Mr Robertson nor Ms Tebbutt would comment on the deal. Mr Brown said he would continue to frustrate government policy until his bill was passed in its entirety.

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‘Greens oppose recreational hunting in national parks’

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[Source: Marian Wilkinson, Environment Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 20090612, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/greens-oppose-recreational-hunting-in-national-parks-20090611-c508.html]

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A new bill that would open the state’s national parks and reserves to recreational hunters who could be licensed to shoot native animals and birds has been condemned by the NSW Greens, the Liberal Party and environmental groups.

The NSW Shooters Party has introduced the private members bill to Parliament. It allows for private game reserves to be set up for professional safari hunters, overturning NSW laws that prevent the enclosing of animals on land solely for hunting purposes.  A Shooters Party MP, Robert Brown, said the bill would not allow the hunting of threatened species and, in the case of native waterfowl, licensed game hunters would be required to pass an official identification test of the ducks.

But the Opposition’s environment spokeswoman, Catherine Cusack, attacked the bill, saying key elements were unacceptable. “We totally reject the idea of shooting in national parks and the concept of shooting native animals in national parks is repugnant to almost anyone.”


Among the birds and animals that could be hunted are the Australian wood duck, the chestnut teal and grey teal ducks, galahs, corellas and eastern grey, western grey and red kangaroos.  The Shooters Party hopes to gain the Government’s support for the bill but the Environment Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, is already signalling she will oppose key provisions in it, including allowing recreational hunters into national parks and the hunting of native animals.  Her spokeswoman said the Government would consider the bill’s merits but it did not support “the hunting of native animals or hunting in national parks“.

Mr Brown said the bill drew on many of the recommendations of a government-backed review of existing laws undertaken with staff from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Game Council.

He said that under his bill, the environment minister would be responsible for declaring any national park or reserve open to hunters.  He told the Herald that opening national parks to recreational hunters to shoot feral animals would save the Government significant amounts of money and the hunting of native animals and birds in parks would require ministerial approval.

The Greens leader, Lee Rhiannon, called on Ms Tebbutt to reject the entire bill, not only the provisions concerning national parks. “Opposing shooting in national parks may well be a tactic Labor is using to divert attention from the fact it will support other equally regressive changes being pushed by the Shooters Party,” Ms Rhiannon said.

The Greens are also concerned about provisions in the bill that would make it an offence to approach anyone or interfere with anyone “lawfully hunting game animals” on any land that had been declared public hunting land.

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‘Shooting in national parks dead: Macdonald’

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[Source: AAP, 20090729, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/shooting-in-national-parks-dead-macdonald-20090729-e1an.html]

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A deal with the Shooters’ Party that would allow hunting in national parks is unlikely, the NSW Government says.  The Government withdrew its support for the proposal last month, prompting the Shooters to retract their support for legislation to privatise NSW Lotteries management.  Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today the national parks proposal was all but dead in the water.

“The Government has been considering these issues for some time and has taken a policy position that they don’t want that type of shooting activity in national parks,” Mr Macdonald told reporters in Sydney.

“I wouldn’t say it is likely to change, but there again, there’s nothing in life that’s immutable.”

Kangaroos illegally shot through SE Forests National Park

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Game and Feral Animal Control Repeal Bill 2010 – lapsed

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On 23rd June 2010, then NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon introduced a private members bill to the NSW Parliament,  ‘Game and Feral Animal Control Repeal Bill 2010′, designed to repeal the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and its regulations, to abolish the Game Council and to prohibit hunting for sporting or recreational purposes on national park estate land, Crown land and State forests.  However although the Repeal Bill reached a second reading stage, the then Labor Premier Kristine Keneally suspended (proroged (suspended) the sitting of the NSW Parliament ahead of an election, and the Bill lapsed on 2nd September 201o.

It needs to be reinstated forthwith!

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Overview of Bill

The objects of this Bill are as follows:

  • To repeal the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and the regulations made under that Act
  • To expressly abolish the Game Council and provide for the transfer of its assets, rights and liabilities to the Crown
  • To prohibit hunting for sporting or recreational purposes on national park estate land, Crown land and State forests

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‘Greens’ Bill abolishes Game Council, ends hunting in State Forests, NP

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[Source:  The Australian Greens, 20100624, ^http://greens.org.au/content/greens-bill-abolishes-game-council-ends-hunting-state-forests-np]

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Greens MP Lee Rhiannon was last night given urgent leave by the NSW Upper House to introduce her private members bill to abolish the NSW Game Council and prohibit recreational hunting in national parks, state forests and public land.

The Game and Feral Animal Control Repeal Bill 2010 is now available.

Feral animals are a significant environmental problem in Australia but the Games Council, set up as a favour by the Labor Party to the Shooters Party to shore up their vote, is a bankrupt vehicle for managing invasive species,” Ms Rhiannon said.  “The more than $11 million in public funding and millions in loans spent propping up the Gaming Council since 2002 would be better spent developing an evidenced based, strategic plan using professionals to tackle invasive species.

“The Game Council was set up to be self funding, yet the Auditor General has noted its ongoing financial difficulties, with the government being forced to prop it up with loans and additional recurrent funding to manage ongoing debt problems.

 

“Former Premier Bob Carr’s establishment of the Game Council in 2002 was an act of unashamed capitulation to the gun and hunting lobbies, legitimising recreational animal cruelty while risking an increase in feral animal populations.

 

“The Greens Bill also prohibits recreational hunting in state forests, national parks and Crown Land.

 

“As part of the deal making between Labor and the Shooters Party, NSW’s state forests have been lately opened up to recreational shooters, risking public safety.  “There is still currently a Shooters Party private members bill before parliament which if passed would broaden where recreational shooters can hunt to include national parks.

 

“The NSW government has agreed to various demands by the Shooters Party for changes to gun ownership laws in recent years and there is no guarantee that shooting in national parks will not be next on the list.  “In the interests of the environment and good government NSW Labor should support the Greens’ bill to abolish the Game Council and ensure the professional and scientific management of invasive species in NSW,” Ms Rhiannon said.

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It’s 2011 and we’re still killing Tigers!

[‘Police Seize Firearms Used by Wildlife Officials to Fight Off Poachers‘ by Sarah Pappin, Bushwarriors, 20100716,
^http://bushwarriors.wordpress.com/tag/south-china-tiger/]

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In only the last eight years, the Bengal Tiger population has decreased by over 61% and is now frighteningly close to extinction with only 1,400 of the cats left.  Habitat loss and poaching are to blame for their decline.  Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is home to the highest density of these tigers in all of India, attracting a heavy and constant flow of poachers.  Forest officers tasked with protecting the National Park’s tiger population (and other wildlife) from the poachers are now impeded by a devastating combination of muddy monsoon conditions and a complete lack of defense.

Comments:

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Arvind Telkar (20100717):  “Poaching is one of the heinous crimes, which must be dealt with a very severe punishment. The law should be changed in such a manner, that he must think hundred times before aiming any wild animal.”

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Franklin Joel (20100717):   “Thank you very much for sharing,I am sharing this on my wall. Please do something to Stop Poaching, My eyes are wet seeing these pictures..The Hon. court should pronounce the highest punishment to these people….”

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Anne Maher (20100719):     “Absolute tragedy. Decisions made by idiots. They must be in on the corrupt poaching activities to leave the Wildlife rangers and the Tigers so unprotected.  Spare us from brainless individuals.”

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Amay (20100903):    “What cruel people they are the biggest criminals i hav ever seen in my life how badly these people hav cut the tigers they truly deserve a capital punishment.”

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Zachary  (20101118):    “What the hell is wrong with these people?! why don’t they do something to stop this? I don’t give a damn if they think that certain parts have special healing or good luck charms, this is wrong!  This is just digusting.”

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An effective tool against poachers

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An effective but under-resourced force against poachers

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