COALITION Against Duck Shooting’s campaign director Laurie Levy’s representation of RSPCA Victoria’s position and action on duck shooting is inaccurate.
RSPCA Victoria understands that the current situation is that rescuers are not legally permitted on the wetland until 10am (when the majority of duck shooting occurs), and that shooters who find an injured bird in the water are obliged under law to kill it immediately.
Regardless of personal views on their appropriateness, these are the current laws.
RSPCA Victoria is an organisation that enforces the law, and cannot be an accessory to unlawful behaviour.
Neither the Andrews Government nor the Game Management Authority are preventing RSPCA Victoria from campaigning on duck shooting.
RSPCA Victoria commissioned an independent review last year that concluded that some of our previous campaigning activity was counterproductive to upholding the laws of the state.
That review recommended that “RSPCA Victoria, while continuing its legitimate advocacy role, discontinue its public campaigning against the existing laws of the state”.
The RSPCA Victoria board considered this recommendation at great length and ultimately determined to accept the recommendation.
That decision did not reflect any intervention from any external parties, whatsoever.
There are many organisations that work towards animal welfare outcomes, using a range of different means.
As Victoria’s longest standing and most highly regarded animal welfare organisation, we do not tell others how to achieve their ends, and RSPCA Victoria makes its own decisions on how to best achieve animal welfare outcomes.
We are focusing on achieving improvements in animal welfare by using trust-based advocacy approaches.
We believe that in the current context, where up to 84,000 birds may be injured by poor shooting practices every season, advocating for the introduction of skills testing and education among shooters has the potential to save many animals from pain, fear and distress.
Dr Liz Walker,
RSPCA Victoria CEO
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