Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks

Dear Sir,

I wrote the email below about a month ago in response to your article in the Veterinarian, thinking, ever so stupidly that it might just go away …. and so never sent it on!

As you can see by these links my worst fears are coming to light…

Dear Sir,

I could not believe that anyone who calls themselves a veterinarian could support the hunting of animals in any form or shape. Hunting is a sport where the intention is to kill. Before their eventual death animals affected by hunting endure varying and unpredictable levels of fear, pain and suffering, no matter how careful, accurate or proficient the hunter. This is not my opinion – it is a fact.

This is a considerably different issue if we were talking about professional killers – however, even then the opportunities for welfare issues are still enormous, as the kangaroo industry has demonstrated for years.

As far as I can see there can be no situation where hunting by amateurs anywhere, will not result in fear, pain and suffering in the animals that are targeted, whether they be noxious pests, feral menaces or accidental victims of a trigger happy hunter “having a blast of a weekend”.  The Parks personnel would agree – that is why they are striking and rallying against such stupid legislation.

Whilst I know there are some hunters out there who really do appreciate wildlife and are passionate about removing feral animals from natural environments (as am I) in general the hoi polloi who own guns and want to go hunting are not that responsible. Remember this is the same group of people lobbying to have 12-year-old children running around our parks with bows and arrows and hunting knives.

Clearly the President of the AVA’s Conservation Group is merely playing politics. It’s nice to be seen as the “voice of reason” and it makes you appear to be sound and thoughtful. I have been a veterinarian for over 27 years, and have also looked after thousands of wildlife in that period. I have seen the pain and suffering that mankind inflicts on wildlife (both native and introduced) just through carrying out their normal activities (e.g. driving along the road in cars and trucks fitted with penis-enhancing bull bars, tearing down the bush for housing, shooting at wildlife to “protect” their crops, netting platypus in fish traps, destroying fragile environments for coal, gold, and whatever other selfish object of their inane desire may be. I have attended a number of licensed “kills” designed to reduce the feral and the native population in various areas of the state and I can attest that those supposed hunters with years of experience that attended were some of the worst marksman that I have ever witnessed; needless to say their intended victims where shot about as inhumanely as one could imagine.

In this light I have thought long and hard and can see no benefit from allowing people to fulfil their sick urge to kill, and dress it up as being for the “good of the community”. Why not just join the armed forces and go overseas?

Politics is annoying enough as it is, but this sort of politics is sickening in its very nature and debases the very profession that I belong to. We are supposedly the animal welfare experts and no amount of paperwork or charging of fees is going to ensure the welfare of animals in our National Parks. I realise the argument that such proposed “culling” will reduce the suffering that our wildlife experiences at the hands of feral animals however I don’t believe the safeguards are ever going to be good enough.

Let’s act like we are welfare experts and support the ban on hunting in National Parks.

Marcus Holdsworth
Woodville NSW

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