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Vegetarian's war on duck terror

99 Comments
Sarah McKenzie |  10 February 2010

Dead Duck, Flickr image by brandi666We're all sick of the duck shooting argument aren't we? Year after year we see the same old television footage — a misty lake at the crack of dawn, tough men with beards and John Deere caps living out their Rambo fantasies on one side, and crusty-looking agitators with beards and hemp trousers on the other; one small group of extremists versus another.

This would all be fine except that in reality the people opposing duck hunting aren't the radicals that the media would have us believe. The people opposed to duck hunting are you and me and most of the people you know — in fact, according to a 2007 Roy Morgan poll, it's 87 per cent of Victorians, a figure spread fairly evenly among supporters of all political parties.

Putting aside for a moment the arguments of cruelty and conservation, it seems simply like a bad political move for the Victorian government to announce that the duck hunting season in 2010 will not only be longer than in 2009, but the daily bag limit will increase from three to eight.

Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia Labor governments have all banned recreational duck shooting, so there is a precedent to ban this activity on both animal welfare and environmental grounds. With less than 20,000 duck shooters registered in Victoria, why does the Victorian government pander to the shooting lobby at the expense of the vast majority?

Along with expected scenes of the limp and pathetic bodies of swans and freckled duck being laid out on the steps of Parliament House, we can also anticipate the same old argument from shooters — a bizarre and counter-intuitive claim that they are actually the most passionate of conservationists.

Their argument goes something like this — 'We rely on high duck populations in order to shoot them out of the skies for our own pleasure, hence we actually care the most about preserving their numbers'. They claim, maybe truthfully, to do some good work funding wetland conservation. But any such positive contribution is more than outweighed by the harm they cause.

There is also the old chestnut about hunters 'controlling' duck numbers. One could assume that without their important knowledge of 'game management' we would be dangerously overrun by out-of-control duck populations. When a family of mountain duck has moved into your garage, don't say you weren't warned!

You can only feel sorry for Professor Richard Kingsford, the scientist responsible for surveying bird numbers since 1983, whose work has unwittingly become the justification for the government's decision. Professor Kingsford's research has shown that duck populations have declined by 70 per cent in the past 25 years. Between 2007 and 2008 alone, he found a dramatic 60 per cent decrease in numbers.

Professor Kingsford has pointed out that, although his most recent surveys of Eastern Australia might have shown a slight increase in overall bird populations across Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Queensland combined, Victorian numbers have not necessarily increased at all during the past year.

He is also at pains to point out that only half of the duck species targeted by Victorian hunters migrate. We cannot rely on higher populations in other states conveniently flying in to repopulate our own diminishing stock.

Although some of the reduction in numbers can be attributed to factors such as drought and habitat loss, those gun-toting conservationists only add further to the pressure by killing not only target duck species but other endangered and non-target species as well.

Sure, this is not the intention of the shooters. Field and Game Australia (FGA) openly 'deplore' the killing of protected species and attribute such mistakes to mistaken identity and vandalism. In 1990 in an attempt to reduce the kill of non-target species, the Waterfowl Identification Test was introduced. In 1993, half the freckled duck population in Victoria was shot and killed. This is just part and parcel of the game. To accept duck shooting is to accept the needless deaths of protected species, no matter how unintentional they are.

FGA literature also claims that the ducks they shoot might actually die a less painful death than those who die at the 'cruel hand' of nature. I am sure that deep down most hunters do not want birds to unduly suffer. But studies of hit rates have shown that it takes the average shooter six shots to bring down a bird, and that for every 100 birds bagged, between 60 and 120 are wounded.

No matter how good a marksman an individual might be, the reality of duck shooting is that there are as many birds painfully crippled and wounded as there are birds that are killed and retrieved.

Perhaps the most compelling argument though is a basic one of need. Do we really need to shoot and kill wild ducks? These birds aren't needed for food (although some are eaten). Unlike other environmental debates, unemployment figures will barely be influenced by the demise of the recreational hunting industry.

In the end it comes down to the simple desire of a small number of mainly men who get a thrill from the kill. And while they do so, we are all paying the price for those few hours of bloodlust — humans and animals alike.


Sarah McKenzieSarah McKenzie is a freelance writer and vegetarian.

 

 



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Submitted comments

I'm neither a radical or a greenie, just an everyday person who thinks duck shooting is barbaric & would urge the Victorian government to rethink its current stance & ban duck shooting NOW.

John Fowler 10 February 2010

Perhaps this issue suffers because the focus is too short-sighted, seasonal and too much fixed on the birds themselves. Vast strides have been made in the US and Canada by focussing instead on the conservation of waterbird habitat. The North American Waterfowl Management Plan has seen public and private interests invest $4.5 billion since 1985 to restore or conserve more than 6 million hectares of wetlands. Sport and susbistence hunting has been part and parcel of that. All parties now recognise that sustaining waterbird populations for human recreations (whether hunting or bird-watching) means sustaining wetlands - with that comes conservation gains for many other species of plants and animals as well.

Animal welfare is important but water supply and wetlands issues are far more fundamental to resolving this debate - we need good wetlands plan and the patience to wait the necessarily long time to reap the rewards.

Bob Beale 10 February 2010

Duck shooters are killing for entertainment. It is a blood sport that is irrelevant and inappropriate these days considering the decline in wetlands and water bird numbers. "Sustainable" shooting is an oxymoron, and the only reason it continues is politics and the rural votes. Mr Brumby is out of his depth and totally disinterested in the bush or our wildlife. Even the shooters should know that killing the survivors trying to breed is idiocy!

Milly 10 February 2010

Every year the same old garbage. Ban duck hunting, ban 4WDs, ban guns, ban fishing, ban porn. Once everything is banned we will have nothing.

If you are sick of the arguments don't get involved in them. People have been hunting ducks & eating them since the dawn of time.

The laws are made on scientific fact, not emotional stories from those like the greens & animal libo mobs, who hate any form of hunting. Duck hunting is part of australian heritage, like camping, fishing & many other outdoor activities.

My husband & i, go duck & deer hunting, we eat what we shoot. Nobody should be deprived of legal harvesting for food, because of these emotional stories from those who have never seen, nor been hunting to experience the facts behind the lies.

Nicky Reed 10 February 2010

There were many facts left out of this story. The survey done in Victoria was done by groups against duck shooting and used loaded questions designed to get the answers they wanted. That survey also gave so called facts, which were not true, to influence the outcome. The RSPCA did its own poll which returned a result of about 70% in favor of duck shooting. This poll was more recent, so why is it not mentioned.

The habitat protection work done by duck shooters was mentioned, but the significance was understated. Many wetlands which were to be drained were purchased by duck shooters and given to the government as reserves. These areas are vital for duck breeding and would not exist except for duck shooters. The building of thousands of nest boxes by hunters and the fox control to protect ducks was also not mentioned.

The point that ducks do migrate is important. The last 10 years have been very dry in the south and many ducks have moved to other areas. In better years those ducks will come back and just because counts have been down does not show they will not return.
Feed for ducks is limited and high numbers will result in thinner ducks and high death rates. Duck shooting does keep numbers sustainable, and means ducks not shot have more feed, are fatter and healthier and will produce more ducklings. Therefore shooting does help keep the population healthy.

the claims of ducks being painfully crippled and wounded are also unsubstantiated with rescue tents at last years duck opening receiving no ducks.

Wild ducks are almost always eaten and are organic free range meat. Why would we want to eat intensively raised fatty feedlot ducks when we can eat wild healthy ones. Wild meats are much more environmentally friendly and do not contribute to global warming like intensive agriculture does.

The final paragraph about the thrill of the kills show a total lack of understanding of hunting. Hunters kill to have hunted, not hunt to kill there is a huge difference which the author knows nothing of.

Chris 10 February 2010

Good Greif! It has been years since I have read such biased, unsubstantiated rubbish. Let me give refute just one aspect of your argument - economics. You offer that “unemployment figures will barely be influenced by the demise of the recreational hunting industry”. The NSW government's own data shows that “the total economic benefit of the (NSW) Game Council is estimated at $7,093,000”.

That’s just one of many active hunting organisations (which incidentally are growing in number and strength as the radical green arguments are seen for what they are, and the truth about conservation hunting becomes more widely known).

Every dollar that hunters spend results in a 5:1 benefit to the community. Tell the bloke at the one pump rural service station that every dollar doesn’t count.

DHV 10 February 2010

You quote figures that have no meaning and you quote a Morgan poll conducted with demographic bias. Why did you not quote the RSPCA's own pole that gave a very accurate indication of the overwhelming yes vote to duck hunting.
I am very happy to continue my conservation efforts and reap the harvest of game meat that my family has enjoyed since the early 1800s. Please put aside your bias and report real facts not the rubbish touted about by a very small minority that call themselves animal liberationists.

Peter O 10 February 2010

Chris - I'm not sure where you got your supposed research about the RSPCA poll and the implication that they support duck shooting. According to their website (http://www.rspcavic.org/campaigns_news/campaigns_duck_hunting.htm) they are staunchly against duck shooting and they themselves refer to the 2007 survey mentioned in Sarah's story.

As for the supposed argument about the economic benefits of the hunting industry, couldn't we justify any other damaging practice in a similar way. Couldn't we equally argue that many Asian countries get an economic benefit from the child prostitution industry and hence such practices should be allowed to continue? This is nonsense. The rural towns that benefit from the hunting dollar could equally promote themselves as eco-tourism hotspots - most of these towns are situated near wetlands of international significance.

Duck shooting is an outdated, unpopular and cruel 'sport'. You don't have to be a 'greenie' or a radical to realise that it has to stop!

Philip Long 10 February 2010

Ducks die. They typically die a slow painful death from predation or starvation. Those are biological facts.

Opponents of duck shooting focus on individual animals so as to personalise the debate and draw in the uninformed. For that reason they do not hold much influence amongst government decision makers.

Hunters take a more holistic view and are interested in the long term sustainable use of nature’s excess populations. The fact that there are still 20,000 licensed duck shooters in Victoria after a number of poor seasons and cancelled duck seasons (not to mention those from other states who spend a significant amount to visit Victoria when seasons are declared) speaks volumes of the quiet resilience of these true conservationists.

David V 10 February 2010

Philip Long, I never said the RSPCA supported duck shooting, but a poll they did gave overwhelming support for duck shooting even when they did not want that result. Unfortunately their animal liberation beliefs and supporters will not allow them to use that poll or actually look at facts instead of emotional rhetoric.

Chris 10 February 2010

It is interesting to note that based on Richard Kingsford waterfowl abundance surveys, today’s waterfowl abundance levels are 350% higher than the lowest point in 1998. What the anti-hunting organisations fail to tell the public is that the highest abundance recorded in 1983-84 followed 2 years of widespread flooding over the whole survey area. This is something that could be classified as a 'rare' breeding event. Two years of dry conditions followed in 84 & 85 which reduced the abundance down to levels seen today. The widespread flooding that has occurred in the past few months in NSW, Qld & SA will again boost waterfowl abundance above the long term average.

It is accepted that less than 1% of the total wild duck population will ever experience hunting pressure. The simple fact is managed duck hunting seasons have no affect on the overall duck population. Government Scientific committees have investigated this issue and have come to the conclusion.

Hunting like fishing is an outdoor recreation that rewards those to participate with fresh organic free-rang food.
The average punter out there when provided with the facts, not the emotion, will generally support managed hunting. I know this because I have had many conversations around a BBQ where this issue has been raised and discussed logically at length.

MattG 10 February 2010

Very impressive use of flawed figures and nice attempt to distract the fundamental issue with emotional bias.

The Morgan poll mentioned was commissioned by anti hunting bodies with a biased demographic selection, its validity is dubious at best. I note Sarah doesn't quote the RSPCA online survey where the result was 80% in favour of hunting.

The fact that you personally don't eat meat or agree with hunting does not give you some form of moral superiority, nor an entitlement to interfere with a traditional and lawful pursuit. I am as entitled to hunt as you are to be a vegetarian.

In an age of childhood obesity, broken families and disintegrating social fabric, isn't an activity that is traditionally a family one, one that binds fathers, sons and grandfathers a good thing? Game meat cannot be taken sitting on your backside in front of the PS3 or the Wii you actually have to go outside and exercise. Game meat is lean meat, and its healthy. Hunting teaches young people to be self reliant, self sufficient and responsible in handling firearms.

Hunting is not barbaric; it's honest, John Fowler should not keep clinging to the delusion that his cling wrapped steak came from a supermarket so no animals were harmed in its preparation.

Greg Benton 10 February 2010

Philip Long
How can you compare child prostitution with duck hunting? Hunters who go to country towns buy food, fuel, stay in accommodation etc, thus makes money for some these little unknown towns, without the towns spending a cent to attract city dwellers with adverts etc.
"You don't have to be a 'greenie' or a radical to realise that it has to stop!"
This is a very emotional statement, but you cant let emotion get in the way of the facts,
Don't forget we eat what we shoot, just like the abattoirs, we eat what they kill.

John Fowler, you don't bann something just cos YOU dont like it. The majority of australians don't like duck hunting, so they say 'ban it'!
Yet most Australians like swimming pools, yet they don't say ban them when they kill dozens of innocent children every year!

Nicky Reed 10 February 2010

We do enjoy the work of Sarah McKenzie including her recent article on that dreadful practice of shooting ducks. So much suffering in the name of a supposed sport.
Maybe if the ducks were trying to kill innocent people then there could be some justification.

However, the reverse is true the hunters are killing innocent ducks.
Regards, Reg and Lorraine Hogan (yes two old vegetarians).

Reg and Lorraine Hogan. 10 February 2010

Why are people so interested in stopping activities that others enjoy. Do I a meat eater and hunter have to adopt someone else's lifestyle because they think I should. Not a chance. More people should adopt my lifestyle and spend more time in the country and less time in front of the TV but I would not try to force that on others as others try to do to me. I do enjoy hunting and so does my wife and children who are also keen hunters. It seems funny that for all the years people have been trying to ban duck hunting because they will be wiped out yet the numbers are still there and the hunting continues. Writing with emotions and not facts always gets a good response doesn't it. Wasn't it proven that plants feel pain, please research and do an article on that.

Ian 10 February 2010

Allow me to borrow a little:
"This would all be fine except that in reality the people into duck hunting aren't the rednecks and vandals that the media and eco-fundamentalists would have us believe. The people into duck hunting are you and me and people you know — in fact ... it's a diverse cross section of Victorians, a figure spread fairly evenly among supporters of all political parties."

Their motivations are many and varied. They hunt for food, to be a responsible, contributing part of the food chain, to accept total moral responsibility for the food they eat etc.

Robert G 11 February 2010

Last year 2009, the RSPCA put up a poll on their website regarding duck hunting, but this poll was taken down, and the reason given was that there was site difficulties, but the real reason was the poll was running in favour of duck hunting, at one stage nearly 70% in favour, then there was a surge from the greenies to try a bolster the numbers, but still the poll was showing over 55% in favour of duck hunting, and then the poll was pulled from the RSPCA website, with the reason given- "site problems", but we all know that the only reason this happened is that the RSPCA could no manipulate the figures for their own use...So instead of using a poll from Morgans, how about showing the one from the RSPCA website...

Rick O'Neill 11 February 2010

This piece of writing would be suitable for a high school clear thinking exercise. For instance, students could be asked to analyse the assumptions behind the statement: "With less than 20,000 duck shooters registered in Victoria, why does the Victorian government pander to the shooting lobby at the expense of the vast majority?" Should government always pander to the vast majority? Does this apply to all issues?

Alternatively, they could consider the "most compelling argument" of need. For instance, do we really need to spend millions of dollars on the winter Olympics when people in the world are living in poverty? What is the greater need?

Lastly, the expression "get a thrill from the kill" maybe a catchy phrase but has the author any evidence to verify that this is in fact the desire of shooters? Judging from the other submitted comments from some of those almost 20,000 registered shooters it completely misses the mark. Good research involves actually talking (and listening) to people on both sides of the argument.

Anne 11 February 2010

I think that controlled duck shooting is fine and should continue, provided that the ducks are consumed at the dining table and not wasted for the sport of it!

What is more important is the real need for the culling of some bird species that are reaching plague proportions, destroying all vegetation, fruit and nut crops etc in their path, eg cockatoos

andy 11 February 2010

Since europeans first came to Australia we have had an impact on native animals. In regards ducks we have cleared land to grow crops creating an abundance of food, put in thousands of dams to create more breeding sites which has removed the natural balances to the population growth and now you want to abandon our responsibility to manage our impact on them. Ask any rice farmer what impact they have on agriculture. Currently in NSW ducks are shot under pest mitigation. No season to protect them when they are breeding and have dependent young. No bag limits to regulate the harvest, No supervision to determine what is shot. Anyone who argues this system over a regulated season simply does not have a grasp on the reality of the situation.

John 11 February 2010

I would have thought that the Morgan poll, Rick O'Neill, is much more likely to be free from bias (either way) than the RSPCA poll.

You mention the 'surge from the greenies to bolster numbers'. If indeed, this was the case, I would think that it might only be an attempt to correct a poll already distorted by the powerful gun lobby.

Doug McKenzie 11 February 2010

Great article Sarah. I also am a vegetarian. It seems the so called Victorian Labor Government is really in disguise.

Julie Kmet 11 February 2010

On election day when given the choice to vote for the duck-killing party or the party that supports animal protection, it's a no-brainer.

Ward 11 February 2010

It is so frustrating that the unneccessary and cruel disgrace that is 'duck shooting/hunting' has still not been banned in Victoria. This is despite the number of letters written to the relevant government departments, the majority of Australians (and internationals) opposing it, and the facts regarding the atrocities that occur every year out on the wetlands. I think it's about time the corruption is uncovered and made public.

Alison 11 February 2010

Labor: Inaction on Japanese Whaling
Labor: The massacre of horses in Jumps racing
Labor: Recreational Duck shooting

I'll vote Green next time.

Roy Taylor 11 February 2010

Absolutely fantastic article. I could not agree more with every word you wrote. Thank you so much!!!

Amela 11 February 2010

I'm not an extremist, and I think duck shooting should be banned. Half the endangered freckled duck population killed in 1993 after the introduction of the species identification test? Shooting seasons declared after 60-70% declines in populations? I don't see how anyone could be expected to equate shooting native waterbirds with conservation.

Sarah 11 February 2010

Super article Sarah! Really well written. I am also a vegetarian and live near some wetlands in Croydon (Victoria). Ducks often cross the road, and unfortunately at times pay a price due to the red-neck motorists on the road. Duck signs have been in place, but have been taken down recently. I emailed Council yesterday about the issue. Thrill-seekers are everywhere and what can you do about such non-sentient idiots? I have seen local youths throw missiles at ducks in the pond. It is everywhere. If only the human race was an endangered species.

Louise Guthrie 11 February 2010

Only on the day that ducks are given guns to shoot back and defend themselves will this become a "sport"! We don't live in caves any more where man has to go out and hunt for food - it really is time this barbaric and cruel act was stopped. I am appalled at the Victorian Government to allow it to continue - shame on them!

Janet 11 February 2010

Congratulations Ms McKenzie for writing such an intelligent, well researched and enlightened article. Reporters who expose the truth behind such archaic acts of clandestine bloodlust to, what is for the most part, a highly uninformed general public, deserve the highest applause. If only Brumby had your compassion and clarity we may all live in a kinder Victoria. How can we, as human animals, ever expect to treat each other with respect, nor hope to end violence and prejudice against one another, if our governments still hand out legal licenses to kill and maim non-human animals.

Aisha Reynolds 11 February 2010

Great article! Very honest. I drove from Coffs Harbour to join and support Laurie Levy and others to ban duck shooting. Our family will not visit Victoria for a holiday until duck shooting is banned. I urge all my friends to boycott victoria until duck shooting is banned!

Vanessa Scott 11 February 2010

Duck shooting is a travesty on so many levels!

To kill sentient beings for pure pleasure is unjustifiable. The argument that duck hunters kill native water-birds to obtain food is an utterly specious one. Besides the fact birds are often wounded and continue flying only to later fall into the wetlands where they cannot be found by the hunters or their dogs (and thus cannot be eaten), many hunters do not even bother to eat the birds they have slaughtered. Even more pertinent is the undeniable fact that no-one needs to incorporate meat or other animal products into their diet. If hunting is about food, surely all the hunters out there will be open to the suggestion that heading down to the local health-food shop to buy some legumes is a much more time and energy-effecient means to obtain sustenance than standing in cold water for long periods of time...

Eliza W 11 February 2010

I find the above article factual and educational. In my opinion duck shooting is a no brainer - it should not occur. However Bob Beale' comments are interesting because as the article points out; animal lovers on one side and recreational hunters on the other. It seems then that neither party can actually come to any agreement. Why is the Victorian government happy to support the hunters? mmhmm.

Kate Lingard 11 February 2010

Thank you for highlighting the arguments for and against duck shooting. I had high hopes that the 21st century would be one of intelligence, where mankind would reflect carefully on all things natural. I am sadly disappointed that this state government is pandering to a minority who still believe that proving one's virility needs to be done with a gun.

Gun versus Duck: an equal footing? I think not.

Shame on the duck shooters... I will be there to witness and protest.

Rosemary Lavin 11 February 2010

When people like Nicky Reed and co. say we mustn't bring emotions into this - I wonder if they really give a damn about anyone in the world humans/non-humans alike. Seriously, don't talk about peace among humans while holding a shotgun in your hands.

JOHN 11 February 2010

Here here Sarah McKenzie, well said. Recreational duck shooting can no longer be considered an acceptable "sport" in Victoria or anywhere else for that matter. While, as Sarah points out, there are only 20,000 registered duck shooters in Victoria, the number who are active is considerably lower (somehere between 2-3 thousand). This means that many thousands of Victorians are licenced to own a shotgun under false pretenses. Given that domestic violence in particular and violence in general, is of grave concern to the Government and citizens alike, it is hard to explain why the Victorian Government would continue to support a small group, such as FGA which gives rise to their members or anyone else using an ivalid reason to keep a firearm.

The time for a permanent ban on this brutal activity is well and truely here.

Lorie Werner 11 February 2010

Great article. You have to love all the hunting rhetoric coming through the comments. With biased polls aside use some commonsense. Duck hunting has been proven to be cruel to animals. Why should you have the right to inflict pain and cruelty on Australian native wildlife for FUN? It's a blood sport. Ducks are not killed outright. Many are wounded and die slow deaths. Hunting has been around for as long as humans - so has bullfighting and bear-baiting. Animal cruelty is not acceptable in Australian society.

Get one thing clear Field and Game is NOT a conservation organisation. They have been convicted of stealing public water to fill their wetlands. They were only caught once – how many times does this happen and go unseen? They only breed ducks to kill them. That's called Farming by anyone's definition. It's not conservation if you are only saving an animal to blow it's brains out! How many shooters are members of true conservation organisations? I’d bet not many. It’s all lies.

After a recent discussion with Victorian duck shooters it was perfectly clear that hunting fulfils one single purpose - for a hunter to prove his manliness and power over nature. That's it. Cruelty and conservation take a back seat when these ignorant Neanderthals want to kill something. "Look how tough I am killing defenceless animals". "Feeding my family" and "bonding with my children" - are you kidding? Duck hunting equals cruelty, the same as starving or beating a pet dog. These men need guns to show how manly they are – nothing more.

Then you get the hunters accusing the antis of being "emotional" or using inaccurate figures yet I haven't spoken to one single hunter yet that can provide any evidence of the benefits to the Australian nation that duck hunting gives. All you get from hunters are the same old tired reasons – it’s part of our culture, it’s our freedom, we’re putting up nestboxes, we eat the ducks we shoot – what even the Freckled Ducks and Black Swans. Don’t be fooled by shooters as they deserve no quarter on this issue. They have one purpose and that is to take fun at killing animals.

Jack Airey 11 February 2010

Congratulations Ms McKenzie for writing such an intelligent, well researched and enlightened article. Reporters who expose the truth behind such archaic acts of clandestine bloodlust to, what is for the most part, a higly uninformed general public, deserve the highest applause. If only Brumby had your compassion and clarity we may all live in a kinder Victoria. How can we, as human animals, ever expect to treat each other with respect, nor hope to end violence and prejudice against one another, if our governments still hand out legal licenses to kill and maim non-human animals.

Aisha Reynolds 11 February 2010

Water was 'stolen' last season to attract water birds, only to be shot. Brumby and Holding keep harping on about being 'water wise'.

Ron Prasad 11 February 2010

John

You talk about pest mitigation. As this requires a permit it should be carried out by a professional shooter who can tell the difference between a Wood Duck and a Freckled Duck, which most shooters can't. The problem is that in Gippsland the pest control permits are handed out by the local DSE...who's boss out there is a duck hunter! That's called the fox running the chicken coop. Blaming poor management on the anti lobby is a ridiculous stretch.

Jack Airey 11 February 2010

Great article. A ban on duck hunting is long overdue.

Galena Debney 11 February 2010

what a fantastic article - I've never considered myself an extremist, but then again, what is an extremist? In terror terms we call an extremist someone who kills or harms the defenceless to make their point. Sounds like an accurate description of duck shooters to me...this and Jumps racing have pushed me over the line - once a labor voter - now I'm looking for a party who represents my ethics and the interests of our environment.

Katherine 11 February 2010

Regardless of numbers-duck shooting is cruel and should be banned.

Phoenix 11 February 2010

How pathetic is our government...corrupt, weak, and pathetic.

The fact they allow Duck shooting to continue in Victoria is an absolute joke.

Not to mention all of the other issues that public majority oppose and continually voice, which the government so conveniently turn a blind eye to.

Great article Sarah. Thanks and well done.

Melissa 11 February 2010

I have had a look at the comments preceding mine. I have to say I was born in the country, and have very vivid memories of the ethos surrounding hunting. An apology to those hunters who espouse sustainability and a free-range naturalism. I recall that people hunted for fun. I have very vivid memories of also going to a stockyard once (only once) and that image has stayed with me for the rest of my life. I also am vegetarian. We all have choices in life. We may be at the top of the food chain, but nowhere within any summit of a moral food-chain.

Louise Guthrie 11 February 2010

I do not understand the need to slaughter for pleasure. By increasing the bag, Mr Brumby is condoning this barbaric "sport". He is clearly out of touch with what the voters think. Ban it once and for all.

Theresa 11 February 2010

Just as arsonists pose as firefighters, shooters pose as environmentalists but in reality are environmental vandals.

An unbiased, reputable Morgan Research Poll in 2007 clearly shows 87% of Victorians want duck shooting banned once those surveyed were made aware of the high wounding rates, the serious drop in waterbird numbers and that WA, NSW and Queensland have now banned the activity.

Even on the duck shooting issue the Brumby Labor government wouldn't want to face a Crime Commission because with the elections coming up, the 2010 duck shooting season was called purely as an attempt to sweeten shootin' country folk, angry at the pipeline and desalination plant.

By calling a season in 2010, the Brumby government is jeopardising the survival of our native waterbirds. Professor Kingsford publicly stated that his 2009 aerial survey statistics should not have been used by the government to justify a shooting season.

It’s time for the Victorian Labor Government to actually start protecting native wildlife instead of pandering to a small minority of red-necked shooters.

corale suter 11 February 2010

a lucid and powerful essay that should be a clarion `wake up` call to those who should know better - well done sarah mc.

lawrence pope president vic advocates for animals 11 February 2010

In a way, I find it peculiar and a little saddening that most Victorians are against duck shooting, since many of these same people eat chickens, pigs and cows (and some probably even ducks) that are forced to endure far worse suffering than most of these wild ducks are.

The average chicken bred for meat spends its life in huge sheds crammed in so tightly with thousands of others that each chicken gets a space smaller than an A4 sheet of paper. These birds never meet their parents, and rarely if ever see the sun. The hellhole they live in is made worse by the centimetres-thick pile of excrement they live on, which creates ammonia fumes that burn the birds' skin, lungs and eyes (sometimes to the point of blindness). When they've grown to slaughter weight, they get thrown into trucks as if they were bags of sand and transported to the slaughterhouse; the trip is so traumatic that many die on the way. When they arrive, many of them are not stunned properly and go into the scalding tanks fully alive and conscious, where they thrash so violently that when they emerge their bones are often broken. The lives of most pigs and cows are comparatively miserable. For example, many pigs spend their entire pregnancies in cages so small that they cannot turn around. Unsurprisingly, many become insane.

By comparison, the average wild duck leads an idyllic life: it has the freedom to do all the things its instinct makes it long for: it can fly, it can explore, it can find mates, have children, and so on. Even the ducks who spend their final days in agony after being wounded and abandoned arguably have a much better life overall. From an environmental point of view, eating meat does far more damage than duck shooting ever could, whether in terms of land degradation, water use, pollution, or greenhouse gas emissions.

Personally, I consider duck shooting sad and barbaric. To enjoy it as a "sport" requires either sadism or a cold heart, neither of which is a desirable attribute. Though it seems unfair when shooters are singled out and condemned by people who will eat chicken, beef or pork for dinner tonight without thinking twice.

Of course, no one's perfect, and for most of us, the decision to lead a more compassionate and sustainable life is not an easy one to make. Maybe the fact that most Victorians are against duck shooting is a good thing, and shows that people are becoming ever more compassionate. But maybe it just shows that the visceral and immediate nature of a man shooting a duck has become incomprehensible to a population that prefers its violence to be committed far away behind closed doors, out of sight, out of mind.

David B 11 February 2010

If this Government no longer wants me, and the many others I talk to against barbaric duck shooting, to ever vote for them again, then fine, go ahead and be stupid and ignorant and allow duck shooting to go ahead in Victoria.

However, if this Government actually cares about the environment and the welfare of our endangered species, then why not ban this ludicrous and barbaric past time once and for all.

I think it is high time Governments and society in general take a stand and listen to our concerns: those of us who care about our planet and co-occupants.

Take a positive step for the planet and the animal rights groups: BAN DUCK SHOOTING AND ALL OTHER FORMS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY NOW!

Penny Russell 11 February 2010

I am so pleased to hear that there are people writing about those who oppose duck hunting, in a positive light.

I'm sure your words are much appreciated by many. Thank you.

Claire Dunkley 11 February 2010

Most Australian animal and bird populations tend to 'boom and bust'. In these days of climate change and retreating wetlands, the busts are bigger and more frequent than the booms - definitely no time to be increasing the bag limit. The environment has changed, and so must we. On environmental grounds, this is a sport that has reached its use-by date.

John Ross 11 February 2010

You have just written what most of us think and believe about duck shooting season.

The Government is just ignoring what we all want to see banned----but how do we get them to do something about it?

carmen thurley 11 February 2010

This barbaric practice needs to stop today. It should not matter how many years people have been shooting ducks for. This is 2010. We do NOT need to shoot ducks for food, do not try to argue that point. It is invalid.
Duck shooting is purely recreational. This recreation however costs dear lives.

Kimberley Gorrie 11 February 2010

Duck numbers are so diminished and yet we keep shooting them? This 'sport' really does need to be banned.

Tamara Griffiths 11 February 2010

"People have been hunting ducks & eating them since the dawn of time."

Nicky Reed; I'm going to assume you know that duck hunting hasn't been around since the dawn of time and for the sake of this I'm going to assume that you don't know that just because something is normal and accepted as a social convention doesn't make it in the least bit right.

I could on forever about this but the fact of the matter is; nothing deserves to die for your gain. It's completely beyond me that any hunters could justify this debasement by saying they are in some way 'helping' a greater cause.

Nicky Reed; at the dawn of man, they used to throw crap at each other. Simply put, somethings are made to leave behind us, because an objective view of reality shows us that there is no need for such barbarianism.

Mitch 11 February 2010

Now I don't hunt ducks and I have little wish too, but I have spoken to workmates that do.

They look forward to each duck season and plan there holidays around it, that seems like a lot of effort to get a feed to me but they live for it.
It seems to be a very social outing with old friends and new friends coming together. I just can't see anything wrong with it. All this talk of declining duck numbers and such seems to contradict the plagues that you see getting around everywhere.
At the end of the day if some people want to spend a lot of money to go out and gather there own meat then more power to them I say, ducks aren't in any danger of extension and the vast majority of people that want to stop people hunting them also want to stop me from eating a Big Mack or eating a steak.

If you don't like duck shooting or think that these pests are endangered then why don't you all chip in together and buy some habitat, the hunters have and then build up some breeding numbers like they did.

Robert 11 February 2010

Animal Shooting of any kind is just as wrong as the shooting of humans, if not more so.

We take their habitats, we cull them off as if we are more important, we destroy the worlds balance.

Ducks need nothing from humans, they only need what was theirs before we came and destroyed the planet. They need vegetation, lakes and clean skies free from bullets and blood thirsty murderous shooters and hunters.

The Victorian Government is a "LAUGHING JOKE".

BAN DUCK SHOOTING - ITS SIMPLE.

Animal Angel Rescue 11 February 2010

Duck shooting has been going on in victoria for too long, and we see the same cries for it to stop every year. But does it? Of course not. Great article, Sarah.

Emily Busch 11 February 2010

I don't agree with shooting animals, but that is my personal opinion. What really upsets me about shooting is the number of maimed birds and protected species killed. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of the suffering the animals have to endure.

Lashay Cartledge 11 February 2010

With Labor making irresponsible decisions on Japanese whaling, horse jumps racing and now recreational duck shooting, I know whom not to vote for.

Nicole Reed 11 February 2010

1 in 4 ducks shot at by duck shooters fly away wounded is a fact, l have been to 4 duck shooting season openings and seen it for my self. some shooters say shooting ducks does not affect the duck population ?????

gary 11 February 2010

Sarah McKenzie thanks. I find duck shooting deplorable and barbaric.
I was appalled to hear that the State Government has allowed a duck shooting season to go ahead this year.
I cannot believe that this Government has ignored not only the fact that the majority of Victorians are opposed to this shameful, cruel, 'fun' activity but that with climate change the numbers of our precious, precious waterbirds are so low!

It is about time for the Victorian Government to come out of the 'Dark Ages' and join Australia's enlightened states of NSW, Queensland and WA and ban this cruel and shameful activity once and for all.

How can the Victorian Government expect young men to behave themselves on our city streets (anti violence campain) when the State Govenment allows and condones drunk, gun happy morons to kill our precious, precious wildlife in such a cruel way? So many of these precious birds are left injured only to die utterly painful deaths.

I suppose one could say that the drunks in King Street provide an economic benefit for the state as they buy lost of booze and it also keeps police, ambulance and hospital workers in jobs!

Brumby is chasing his tail if he really wants to reduce violence on out streets yet condones and promotes such a bloodthirsty "passtime".

Elizabeth 11 February 2010

I am a vegan and am attending the duck rescue in Victoria this year, and happy to do so as this 'game' is this disgusting, and to call it a game makes it even worse! I hope this season doesn't last a second! I hope we can stop it before it even starts!

Jessica Constable 11 February 2010

Sarah McKenzie,

I couldn't have said it better myself.

May duck shooting fall off the face of the planet sooner than later.

Katrina Larsen 11 February 2010

"Labor: Inaction on Japanese Whaling
Labor: The massacre of horses in Jumps racing
Labor: Recreational Duck shooting

I'll vote Green next time."

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Matt 11 February 2010

Thank you for such a great article. One of the important points to take from it is that the opposition to duck shooting comes from a broad spectrum of Victorians. Conservationists, farmers, ex-duck shooters, city slickers and country folk all make up the 87% of Victorians who want to see a ban. Victorians are sending the message loud and clear, the government needs to start listening.

Siobhan Isherwood 11 February 2010

I am disgusted by the Victorian government's decision. Shooting birds is nothing but fun for a number of hunters who need a thrill. Their justifications of caring about animals and nature is the same lie as here in Austria.

In our western civilsaton of the 21st century hunting for fun and pleasure should be prohibited.

wilma allex 12 February 2010

There is no ethical or scientific justification for indiscriminate, unnecessary killing of native wildlife in the 21st century.

Duck shooting is not an organised, controlled cull of animals by professional shooters due to overpopulation of non-native species. It is a crude bloodsport, carried out by amateurs against native waterbirds whose numbers are low and are under threat.

Once on a single lake in Kerang, I and some friends picked up over 90 dead black swan and coot within half an hour - obviously they were masquerading as ducks. On another lake in the same area a mate and I witnessed the smouldering, abandoned camp fire of duck hunters ignite and start to spread flames through the dry grass - with a farmhouse nearby. Luckily, we had towels with us to pick up injured birds. We wet these towels in the lake to beat the flames with, and spent the better part of half an hour putting out what could have been a disastrous fire.

It is time to consign this anachronistic, bloody butchering of our precious native birds to the dustbin of history.

Thomas Perry 12 February 2010

Totally agree Sarah, very well put. Hunting for "sport" is barbaric and cruel and belongs in the dark ages.

Mary 12 February 2010

I whole heartedly agree with Sarah Mckenzie I just find the Victorian governments decision to be unbelievable and more than a bit sad. Yet this is what happens when the populace keep voting them in time and time again ... it is effectively rewarding them for their pathetic decision making.

I put it to the people of Victoria to send a loud message where it hurts most and that is voting against them in the next election. As a resident of NSW myself, my family and friends will not be visiting Victoria whilst duck hunting continues and I hope that others interstate will do likewise. Again hitting the Brumby government ( their tourism $) where it hurts is likely to have some kind of impact.

As for the "men" that do the shooting I prefer to ignore them and treat them with the contempt they richly deserve.

Sarah 12 February 2010

RARE, ENDANGERED SPECIES (Number 1)

VICTORIAN NATIVE DUCK SHOOTING HOMOSAPIENS

A life form from pre-historic times, the Duck Shooter generally hibernates for nine months of the year. During their active season, they can often be observed congregating in dwindling numbers in various Victorian swamp lands, usually early autumn. Prone to random, violent attacks on any species in flight, they tend to lack empathy for the suffering of their prey, killing purely for entertainment, and have recently been declared a protected species by the Victorian Bumbling, oops, Brumby Government.

denouden 12 February 2010

Excellent article! I'll be there front and centre (with hemp trousers - not a gun)

Kate Davey 12 February 2010

Shame on the government of Victoria for increasing the duck shooting season and for more than doubling the bag limit! This shows that the government of Victoria is backward thinking and barbaric. Nothing at all to be proud of when Queensland, NSW and W.Australia have all banned duck shooting and the results of the ban has shown that duck populations take care of themselves without the need for humans to go out and cripple and blast them from the skies!

Choo Choo Love 12 February 2010

Thanks for your great piece of work, Sarah. The unfortunate thing is that despite all of the evidence and arguements you provided,the government support duck shooters every time.

It is the true conservationists, those of us who oppose the shooting and go to the wetlands to rescue the injured and mamed birds that really know how bad things can get. Many of the hunters are only too happy to display acts of cruelty in front of the protestors. With no government support or law enforcement, what else can we do but go down there and save as many birds as possible... and keep our fingers crossed that the Greens will finally come to power.

Rana Hales 12 February 2010

I cannot believe that in this day and age, people still want to go out and maim animals for 'fun'. Duck shooting disrupts the delicate ecosystem of our wetlands, and most importantly it is terrible for the ducks themselves. I just cannot comprehend how anyone could go out and intentionally injure and kill an animal who has done them no harm. It is disgusting and I for one will be going to the wetlands to protest the mindless slaughter of our beautiful water birds. And no, I'm not a crusty-bearded greenie either, just a young woman who cares about animals and our environment.

THANK YOU Sarah, for writing this article and bringing forward the facts and proof that duck hunting is unsustainable and cruel.

Isabella Marks 12 February 2010

If only there was as much concern for the unborn in Victoria as there is for ducks! The outrage expressed here at the suffering of animals does not seem to extend to our own species still in the womb.

I may be wrong(and would be glad to be proven so) but for all the time that I have been visiting this site, I do not recall any contributing author unreservedly condemning abortion.

Many authors, like Ms McKenzie, call for the government to draft and enforce laws that protect animals. Other authors here have called for the government to take the lead and enforce laws to save the planet from catastrophic climate change. But when it comes to banning the killing of the unborn, the authors on this site are largely silent. It is mainly from the comments submitted that a voice of protest is raised.

This is a sad reflection on the priorities of those that run and contribute articles to this site.

Patrick James 12 February 2010

It is unbelievably concerning that a duck hunting season has been allowed this year. Although some hunters do eat their kills I have been out on the wetlands and seen many more who shoot birds out of the sky, laugh then leave them flapping around to die slowly. Many do not adhere to the bag limits and often leave campsites and wetlands littered with their rubbish. Last year one of my biggest frustrations as a rescuer was that i had to walk past so much rubbish floating on the wetlands because i simply could not carry any more of the shooters discarded cartridges, beer cans, cigarettes, string etc etc. This year i plan to bring more bags!!

Natasha De Bondi 12 February 2010

Excellent article. I can't believe that we still have to have this discussion in 2010. Killing animals for sport is just plain wrong. Bonding with the kids around the bloody carcasses - priceless.

Caroline 12 February 2010

I whole heartedly agree with Sarah Mckenzie I just find the Victorian governments decision to be unbelievable and more than a bit sad. Yet this is what happens when the populace keep voting them in time and time again ... it is effectively rewarding them for their pathetic decision making.

I put it to the people of Victoria to send a loud message where it hurts most and that is voting against them in the next election. As a resident of NSW myself, my family and friends will not be visiting Victoria whilst duck hunting continues and I hope that others interstate will do likewise. Again hitting the Brumby government ( their tourism $) where it hurts is likely to have some kind of impact.

As for the "men" that do the shooting I prefer to ignore them and treat them with the contempt they richly deserve.

Sarah 12 February 2010

David B10-Feb-2010

In a way, I find it peculiar and a little saddening that most Victorians are against duck shooting, since many of these same people eat chickens, pigs and cows (and some probably even ducks) that are forced to endure far worse suffering than most of these wild ducks are.

____________________________________

I agree! As a vegan (as are the rest of my family) I find our treatment of "pets" and industrialized animals (such as pigs, ducks chickens etc) to be psychopathic ...

however let's deal with this issue and perhaps eureka street can question how humans can justifiably industrialize other animals for our consumption at another time.

Sarah 12 February 2010

David B10-Feb-2010

In a way, I find it peculiar and a little saddening that most Victorians are against duck shooting, since many of these same people eat chickens, pigs and cows (and some probably even ducks) that are forced to endure far worse suffering than most of these wild ducks are.

____________________________________

I agree! As a vegan (as are the rest of my family) I find our treatment of "pets" and industrialized animals (such as pigs, ducks chickens etc) to be psychopathic ...

however let's deal with this issue and perhaps eureka street can question how humans can justifiably industrialize other animals for our consumption at another time.

Sarah 12 February 2010

Wonderful article, thank you Sarah.

Kate Pearson 12 February 2010

David B, you make a really important point about the way domestic food-animals are often bred, kept and farmed. If people were more aware of the conditions in which they were kept (and this is gradually occurring due to organisations such as Animals Australia), they perhaps would think twice about eating animal products. It's the reason I am vegetarian - apart from the fact I could never abide the hunters I encountered.

Louise Guthrie 12 February 2010

I am a mother and an animal lover and I find it hard to believe that Duck Shooting is still permitted in this State let alone this Country of Australia. I do not believe that we are sending a positive message to our children by saying that it is o.k. to kill Ducks for fun and to make things worse; the Government is supporting this and making it possible to continue. We really need to decide what morals and values we want our future children to adapt. This should not be one of them.

D.M. 12 February 2010

Congratulations for stating the facts so succintly. Well done!

Nevil Brewer 12 February 2010

I live in a gated community in Texas. They recently sold the lakes here and opened them to duck hunting just two blocks from my house. The ducks have happily and safely lived here for a long time. The hunters dumped dead duck bodies as they left, which drew vultures and now we have a huge flock of vultures perched in trees all around. I loved hearing the wood ducks fly overhead making their happy sounds. It is so wrong to decimate their flocks for the fun of it. Duck hunting season just ended. Now I have to figure out what I am going to do to stop it before the next season starts. I have just joined the the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition. I have been vegan since 1984.

Shirley Wilkes-Johnson 13 February 2010

I don't think I have ever read so many "labels" than in both the for & against comments (vegos,animal libbers,shooters,hunters,radicals,greenies,etc). I cannot fathom what pleasure anyone could gain from maiming and/or killing a perfectly healthy native bird that was in its natural habitat, going about its own business, living its life, doing no harm to anyone or anything. Hardly a sport. Hardly a fair fight. Most would call it cowardly!
I think people who go out of their way to shoot ducks, trap rabbits, fight dogs in a pit, etc. must be mentally deficient in some way. Sustainability aside, Logic tells me that a duck shooter does not spend money on gun, gun licence, petrol, etc. & spend a weekend shooting at ducks, to then kill, retrieve, gut, pluck & cook the legally shot birds just for a meal of duck meat. That would be just ludicrious! The joy, thrill, satisfaction (or whatever they call it) of the so-called hunt and kill must be the reason for the killing. I try to live by the saying "Do unto others as you would like to be done by" & I suggest the duck shooters go and play Paintball or Skirmish on their weekends, where other humans will actually shoot back at them. Now THAT is sport!

Al 13 February 2010

"This would all be fine except that in reality the people opposing duck hunting aren't the radicals that the media would have us believe"

By that rationale, the author would have to admit that all shooters aren’t the "tough men with beards and John Deere caps living out their Rambo fantasies" that the aforementioned radicals would have everyone believe. But then again, deriding the opposition as uneducated, ill-bred antipodian white trash fits well into the dragnet marketing strategy pioneered by the Laurie and modified little since.

Contrary to claims regarding NSW ban on recreational duck shooting, while this is true to a extent, NSW allows pest destruction of ducks in Riverina farm land, regardless of species with no bag limit, so to imply that NSW has ‘banned duck shooting is a grand misnomer, when in actual fact the system they have in place is more destructive to endangered species than any regulated season could ever be.

While I respect individuals and animal rights groups right to object, (and in many regards support legitimate environmental/animal rights concerns and abhor cruelty ) I wish people would do so in an objective fashion instead of resorting to flawed statistics, (oft quoted 87% Roy Morgan poll premised on loaded questions and funded by anti hunting interest groups) emotive arguments and outright negative semiotics to achieve their/your aims.
.

James Struth 14 February 2010

Wonderful article, Sarah. We totally agree. Well done. Duck shooting has to stop NOW.

Nicole and Siggi Bergmann 14 February 2010

Any killing for sport is just inhumane.
Duck shooting is just horrible and cruel, I am sure these shooters can find another sport that doesn't include murdering innocent animals.!

nicole 15 February 2010

Thanks for a great and well researched article. It would be great if you could distribute it further.

Helen 15 February 2010

Totally unbalanced view as one grows to expect from the vocal minority that love to tell everyone else what to do so that it fits in with their unhealthily limited view of how humans should live their lives. I too am disappointed with this annual circus and the best thing that the media could do is ignore these noisy few the chance to promote their pathetic agenda.

Rod Shaw 16 February 2010

well, I have met and worked aside a lot of hunters and heard them brag about there hunting victories, and yes the majority of these 'macho' hunters will use any excuse in the book to get a chance at dressing up like a g.i. joe and stalking innocent ducks.... If the brumby government is gonna let a bunch of trigger happy redneck water thieves go out and trash our waterways yet again I just hope that all the drought stricken farmers who actually respect the water crisis (unlike F&G) go out and vote AGAINST the labor party at the next election

Justin 16 February 2010

If John Brumby can go on a photo shoot to Melbourne Zoo to rhapsodise about the baby elephant (and I don't deride him for this) could he not also go on a nature trip out to the wetlands for the start of duck-hunting season? Each environment is subsidised by the govt. Only one is counter-productive, archaic and violent.

Louise 19 February 2010

This is an obvious act of barbarism and should of been banned years ago. unnecessary killing is unnecessary.

oliver perry 20 February 2010

I see the same tired old names posting here crying "ban hunting, it is beastly and barbaric".

Yet on a supposedly religious based forum, has everyone forgotten Genesis? I rather suspect that 'dominion' means eat, as well.

Hunting is not cruel. It is a valid means of obtaining food.

What is cruel are the lies and half truths posing as facts that the anti hunting campaigners continually spew forth in an attempt to impose their world view on us all.

I don't see much in the way of tolerance for others in their posting, merely a lot of venomous hate language, and a desire for power over the lives of others.

Sheldrake. 22 February 2010

Once again we have an article using emotion and badly researched "facts" to deride a valuable sport.

Many of the great wetlands in this country simply would not exist if not for hunters and their way of life. the best example is Bool Lagoon in Sth Australia. It was listed in the 50's to be drained for pasture. A group of hunters and conservations got together and sucessfully prevented this from happening. Bool lagoon is now a RAMSAR listed wetland of international significance (Google it!). Bool Lagoon is home to hundreds of species of birds some of whom migrate from as far away as Siberia! It is an important breeding ground several species of rare birds. it also supports a vast quantity of other wild life quite apart from the waterbirds. Of all of this life sustained by the work of hunters we are allowed to harvest only 8 species of duck, all of which are prolific in population and closely managed.This is just one example of a wetland supported by hunters and their sport. taken at face value it is hard to understand how a true "conservationist" could not see the value of the sport to the environment.

Ben Richards 13 March 2010

one of your main points was that all NSW, Western Australia and Queensland have abolished duck shooting on wetlands. Yes that may be the case but they have mitigation permits which means that they can shoot all year round on their property's. Your comment has just been floored.

Alex Moore 23 April 2012

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