A recent public opinion piece by World Animal Protection New Zealand condemning hunting has been roundly criticised by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ.
“The slagging of duck hunting by WAPNZ is hypocritical, poorly based and not factual,” said CORANZ chairman Andi Cockroft.
In the World Animal Protection NZ press release, campaign advisor Christine Rose described as “inexplicable” that hunting and shooting is among the priorities agreed suitable for level 3 activities.
She described hunting as high in accidents that resulted in an “overloading of the public health system” and that “it seems reckless”.
However, Andi Cockroft said WAPNZ’s claims are not borne out by statistics. ACC statistics show rugby union injuries are by far the highest of the top ten that include soccer, gym/fitness training, netball, rugby league, basketball, mountain biking, skiing, jogging and snow-boarding.
“Hunting didn’t even feature in the top ten for sports injuries,” he said. CORANZ termed the concerns of WAPNZ of birds suffering “a lingering, painful death” during duck shooting season as hypocritical.
“If Christine Rose and WAPNZ are rightfully concerned about cruelty, they would be better targeting the government’s reckless, unjustified and widespread use of slow killing poisons such as 1080 and brodifacoum,” he said. “The taxes Christine Rose and other WAPNZ people pay are financing this cruelty.”
The two poisons 1080 and Brodifacoum take days to kill a creature, be it animal, bird or insect, taking in most cases, over two days and 21 days respectively to inflict a slow, agonising death.
WAPNZ ’s Christine Rose described the “harvesting of food” from wild game as an “unconvincing” argument and said “most people had ready access to food in the supermarket and did not depend on cruel, wasteful and indiscriminate wild harvest.”
Supermarket food is very expensive for those on low incomes and many families rely on wild food to augment the dinner table fare — whether they themselves hunted or friends/whanau who did hunt, provide wild game.
Andi Cockroft said WAPNZ’s views are ignorant of game management that is calculated to harvest a crop of birds so as to avoid over-population with the potential for a lack of feed for birds resulting in disease or even death by starvation.
“Besides, wild game or fish is totally organic, healthy and without the anti-biotic and chemicals that are in much of supermarket produce, plus the cost of many supermarket foods are excessively high compared with hunting or fishing providing fare for the table at minimum cost.”
Andi Cockroft said removing the right to hunt or fish would deprive the people of healthy outdoor exercise that is recognised as also having high mental and therapeutic benefits.
“With obesity and mental stress high especially amongst young adolescents, the outdoors is a great classroom,” he added.
WPNZ seems unaware that it is hunters advocating against government’s use of cruel poisons and for better wildlife habitat such as wetlands for ducks.
WPNZ should take the Minister of Conservation and government to task for its extermination policies towards New Zealand’s big game animals where helicopter-borne shooters slaughtered tahr to leave them to rot on mountain sides. Similarly commercial helicopter venison recovery, often shoot female deer, leaving fawns to die a slow, motherless death by starvation.
“Let’s get priorities right on this issue and sort out the criminal cruelty by government,” said Andi Cockroft.
While the government has strict laws about cruelty to farm stock, there was no such statutory protection for wild animals. [However, there is the Animal Welfare Act 1999 —Eds]
“It’s double standard stuff and hypocrisy in itself. Worse still it’s condoning cruelty. A deer is a deer whether it’s farmed or wild,” he said.
Contact: Andi Cockroft 0800 622 761 or 027 204 1878