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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has joined the RSPCA’s call for both the Tasmanian Liberal and Labor parties to commit to a ban on duck shooting in Tasmania.

“From tomorrow, the Tasmanian duck hunting season will commence which will result in the indiscriminate killing and maiming of thousands of ducks,” Mr Wilkie said. “How anyone can take pleasure from this barbaric and cruel sport is beyond me. Indeed, there’s no way to conduct duck shooting in a humane way because there will always be a significant margin of error. Moreover there is always the risk of hunters hitting the wrong bird, including protective species, and there will always be wounded creatures dying in agony.

“New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia banned duck shooting years ago, and a recent Victorian inquiry also recommended to ban the practice. Yet there are few regulations in Tasmania and a succession of state governments have turned a blind eye while our native ducks are being gunned down.

“Alarmingly, duck shooting is still occurring in the majority of Moulting Lagoon, an internationally recognised Ramsar wetland that is known for its value as a habitat for many vulnerable species. Our native ducks in particular should have the right to live in their native habitats without the fear of being shot and killed for sport. I will raise this issue personally with Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and impress upon her the importance of the Federal Government enforcing the requirements of the Ramsar Convention.

“This slaughter has little community support and has gone on for far too long. It’s time for duck shooting to be banned. While I would like this barbaric blood sport ended immediately, both parties must come out and commit to making this the last duck shooting season in Tasmania, or at least commit to a three-year phase-out period that implements restrictions and protects the welfare of these animals.”