Federal MP Kelvin Thomson is calling on the Victorian government to cancel the 2016 duck-hunting season amid fears bird populations will struggle to recover.
Mr Thomson, citing a study, says the severe El Nino drought is having a significant impact on bird numbers.
That’s prompted him to pen a letter to the government calling for an end to the “animal cruelty”.
‘Give the ducks and waterbirds a chance to get through what is a particularly tough year in our wetlands without the pressure of being shot at,’ he wrote in the letter to Victoria’s Environment Minister Lisa Neville.
Mr Thomson said an aerial survey from the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Ecosystem Science showed numbers of breeding waterbirds in eastern Australia were at the lowest number recorded.
He said it was time Victoria followed other states in Australia and put an end to duck hunting, which often resulted in the inadvertent death of birds that were protected or endangered.
The Coalition Against Duck Shooting last year dumped 100 birds that were killed in the opening weekend of the 2015 season in March in front of the premier’s office, including the protected black swan, and the freckled duck and blue-billed duck, both threatened species.
A spokesperson for Ms Neville said each year the government received independent advice regarding modifications to the duck season, which took in account drought and environmental factors.
‘The Minister for Environment is yet to receive that advice.’