Hunting for an excuse

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It really bugs me when groups who use environmental concerns to sell themselves. Recently I have been made aware of another such group.

Sydney newspapers have been drowned in colour half page advertisements on a group who organise hunting throughout New South Wales. The advertisements vary very little. They all have the chairman of the group with a wolfish grin in high visibility fluro and a message that they are “first in conservation”.

They justify this position by saying they kill feral animals therefore protecting wild places in the state. “Join me and help protect our native flora and fauna.” is a quote on one of the advertisements. It is true that hunters do keep down numbers of some feral animals specifically deer and pigs. Of course, nothing is done for foxes, or cats who are directly responsible for killing wildlife or starlings and Indian Mynas who take over feeding and nesting areas. Horses have been culled with dubious results in a wasteful and inhumane attempt to protect the mountain environment, but on the whole they also are not the target of ‘sport’ hunters. Even if they could, hunters don’t want to get rid of feral animals. The whole industry is counting on there being enough viable targets in the wild for hunters to find and kill. I’d say their environmental claims are on shaky ground.

The only animals that hunters have been able to clear from the environment have been native species, the most prominent of these was the thylacine . In fact, while they say in the advertisement they kill ferals, the hunting native water fowl is a big part of the modern sport and all states allow the hunting of kangaroo and wallaby. Strike two against hunters being environmentally friendly.

And finally, no hunter can guarantee a clean kill. Even the most conscientious hunter has the one that gets away and we know that there are many hunters that aren’t all that conscientious. Four wheel vehicles plowing through wilderness areas leaving rubbish in their wake are also less than environmentally friendly. Scratch three…your out!

The environment is everyones’ concern, we all live in it and all our actions have an impact. For a group like hunters to say that they are environmentally conscious because of their killing sport is an outright lie and a belittling of the situation. I don’t want to say that feral animals aren’t a problem. Because of man’s interference with the landscape wallabies and kangaroos do get to plague proportions at times. But saying that problems is alieviated by sport hunting makes everyone out to be a fool.

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