The SAFE (Stop Arms Fairs in Eurobodalla) meeting held in Dalmeny on April 30th was very well attended with a wide range of topics covered. For those who couldn't attend we offer a speech delivered by Louise Webb, a member of the RSPCA and one of the many speakers on the day. SPEECH AT MEETING OF STOP ARMS FAIRS IN EUROBODALLA (SAFE INC.)
30 APRIL 2017 - delivered by Louise Webb
I am speaking today as a member of SAFE, because I am opposed to the proliferation of guns as represented by the annual Huntfest event.
I am also a member of the RSPCA and I would like to draw your attention to the RSPCA’s policy on Recreational Hunting and Animal Welfare, because Huntfest, as well as being an arms fair, is a promotion of hunting animals for sport.
I reference the recently-updated RSPCA Australia Information Paper on this issue to bring some evidence to claims made by Huntfest proponents about their value in dealing with feral animals.
To begin with, the paper makes clear that amateur hunting is an expensive, labour intensive and ultimately ineffective method of removing feral animals.
For example, the paper cites the case of recreational hunting in NSW during 2006-2012, where the same number of feral pigs were killed by hunters over a six-year period that were removed over a matter of weeks through a coordinated and planned feral pig management program.
I believe this is an important point to be made, as hunters recently have taken to referring to themselves as “conservation hunters”. And that raises the question of why they would seek to use this term. Could it be that they would like to gloss over the grim reality of their so-called sport?
The RSPCA opposes recreational hunting, or the act of stalking or pursuing an animal and then killing it for sport due to the inherent and inevitable pain and suffering caused. Hunting has the potential to result in significant animal suffering: animals are sometimes chased to the point of exhaustion and then killed with methods that do not cause a quick and painless death. Although some hunters may have the skills, knowledge and motivation to minimise the suffering of their prey, many do not and it is inevitable that some animals will endure pain and distress.
With some hunting activities and practices the potential for significant suffering is extremely high, for example where animals are injured but are not retrieved, where dogs are used and are not controlled properly, where hunters lack technical skill, where killing methods do not cause rapid death, or where dependent young are left abandoned. Current regulations and enforcement regimes do not prevent these things from occurring: they are an inevitable consequence of recreational hunting activities.
The paper goes into further detail about the why the organisation is opposed to recreational hunting. I would like to read more of it to you but the fact is that I find it too confronting. I have copies of the paper here, and I hope that you will take one away, and perhaps find the courage to read about what we here in Eurobodalla Shire, by hosting Huntfest on public land, are encouraging children to do.
Surely today, in the 21st century, we can move beyond seeing the suffering and death of animals as anything other than abhorrent. In this beautiful part of the world, where so many people share their lives with loved pets, can we not take a stand for the animals, and thereby enrich ourselves and our community? Click HERE For more information on SAFE Stop Arms Fairs in Eurobodalla