Will Verity Firth allow another season of animal cruelty?
NSW Environment Minister, Verity Firth, has written to Humane Society International to tell us her Department is conducting a review of its policy to allow up to 2432 threatened flying foxes to die a cruel death every summer.
The NSW review follows a decision by the Queensland Government that they will no longer issue licences for fruit growers to shoot flying foxes because of the unacceptable cruelty involved.
Unfortunately, Minister Firth’s letter admits that the review will not be completed until the start of the 2009 flying fox shooting season. While welcoming the review, HSI is extremely concerned that the Minister will allow another flying fox shooting season to take place over the 2008/9 summer while the review takes place.
“Shooting flying foxes rarely kills them outright. The shooters leave them hanging in the trees with horrific injuries that lead to a slow and painful death. It is no way to treat any animal, let alone one of the State’s threatened species,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Senior Program Manager.
The NSW Government ‘protected’ the grey-headed flying fox as a threatened species in 2001 and this is the principal species shot by the farmers.
Queensland Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew McNamara, told the Queensland Parliament that his decision to stop issuing licences to shoot flying foxes responded to a finding from the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee that shooting flying foxes is inhumane.
“Queensland flying foxes are no more sensitive to gun shot wounds than NSW flying foxes. The cruelty suffered is exactly the same in NSW as it is in Queensland. Minister Firth ought to heed the advice from the Queensland Animal Welfare Advisory Committee that shooting flying foxes is inhumane and cease issuing licences immediately,” said Ms Beynon.
Not only is shooting flying foxes cruel, it is completely ineffective as more flying foxes come in to replace those that are shot. The only effective means to protect fruit crops is to net them.
“Wildlife carers in NSW who witness the cruelty first hand have told HSI they cannot face another flying fox shooting season. HSI is calling on the NSW Government to make sure they don’t have to,” said Ms Beynon.
*The NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change set a quota of 2432 flying foxes to be shot annually. From that quota the Department licences the shooting of approximately a 1000 flying foxes a year.