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PO Box 439 AVALON NSW 2107
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Please don't let them shoot us anymore      


Please don't let them shoot us anymore

The New South Wales (NSW) Government issues licenses for over a thousand grey-headed flying-foxes to be killed every year, this despite the species being classified as threatened under NSW and Australian Commonwealth law. Humane Society International (HSI) is one of 60 organisations campaigning to stop the shooting.

The licenses are issued to farmers who think shooting flying-foxes helps protect their fruit crops. The fact is, shooting is an ineffective method of crop protection so the flying-foxes are dying needlessly and in a great deal of pain.

Very often, the flying-foxes are not killed outright and are left hanging in the trees to die painful slow deaths from their injuries. Worse, they will often be carrying young, also left to die slowly and cruelly.

Scientists are warning the grey-headed flying-fox population in NSW is in serious decline and the mortality rate from shootings is a contributing factor. Flying-foxes are currently experiencing a protracted food crisis, resulting from higher than average rainfalls along the eastern coastal areas since 2010, and compounded by recent floods.  As a result, many bats are turning up in areas where they have not historically been found, such as in Orange, NSW.  They are then taking advantage of readily available food sources such as those provided by orchardists due to the food crisis.  This has led to a renewed call by NSW's Minister for Primary Industries to control the bats.  It is clear that the grey-headed flying-fox cannot cope with the additional pressure of shooting at this time of great stress. 

Timeline: Campaign to end shooting​

  • In 2008, the Queensland Government stopped issuing licences to shoot flying-foxes to their fruit growers after an investigation by the Queensland Animal Welfare Advisory Committee found shooting flying-foxes to be inhumane.
  • In August 2009, the NSW Flying-Fox Licensing Review Panel published a report of their findings, concluding that the animal welfare issues arising from the shooting of flying-foxes are 'unacceptable ethically and legally'. Despite this conclusion, the NSW Government continued to licence shooting.
  • In 2011, following a successful campaign by HSI, the NSW Government made a commitment to end shooting of flying-foxes by 30 June 2014. HSI asked the NSW Government to follow the lead of Queensland and stop issuing licences.
  • In March 2011, HSI welcomed the then NSW Government announcement that farmers in the Sydney basin area would be given more than $5 million in financial assistance towards the installation of full exclusion netting around orchards, accompanied by phase-out over a three year period, of the licensed shooting of flying-foxes.  HSI further welcomed the news that the NSW Liberals and Nationals committed to the same financial assistance, but with a phasing out of shooting within two years. 
  • In March 2011 the NSW Liberals and Nationals formed the new NSW Government and to ensure the delivery of the election commitment, HSI wrote to the NSW Minister for Primary Industries in April calling for implementation of this policy. 
  • In June 2011, the NSW Environment Minister, the Hon Robyn Parker MP, announced $5 million in funding to assist orchardists with the installation of exclusion netting in the Sydney Basin and Central Coast. Grants will be provided over the next three years, until 30 June 2014 and eligible farmers will be able to apply for subsidies of up to 50% of netting costs, capped at $20,000 per hectare. This announcement was welcomed by HSI and conservation and animal welfare groups, noting that this is the result of farmers and conservationists working together to end shooting.  Unfortunately, the NSW Government confirmed that they would continue to issue licenses for shooting for those farmers who have not installed netting up until 30 June 2014. After this date, across NSW, licenses will only be issued in special circumstance
  • In June 2011 HSI was invited to take up a position on the Flying-fox Netting Program sub-committee which we accepted
  • In 2012 the first draft definition of Special Circumstance provisions to apply after licensed shooting ends was published and HSI submitted its detailed comments. Consultation on this issue continued into 2013.  
  • In 2012 the netting program was also extended from its original end date of 30 June 2014 to 30 June 2016 after slow uptake.
  • In September 2012 the Queensland Government announced the resumption of the cruel shooting of native flying-fox species. An amended regulation exempting flying-foxes from humaneness requirements under Queensland' s Nature Conservation Act 1992. HSI and other groups spoke out strongly against this change and continues to monitor this issue.
  • From 2012 to 2014 HSI advocated strongly for the NSW Government to meet their commitment to end licensed shooting by 30 June 2014 and expressed its disappointment to Government when this deadline passed with no finalisation of the special circumstances definition which is a vital element.
  • On 19th August 2014 it was announced that the program would be extended and the remaining $4 million in funding would be made available to all NSW orchardists experiencing damage from flying-foxes and would also be extended to cover throw-over netting. Sadly there is still no confirmation of when licensed shooting will end unless  under special circumstances as this policy is still yet to be finalised. HSI is advocating for licensed shooting to end by 30 September 2014 at the latest.
  • In November 2014 the NSW Government announced a new Flying-fox management strategy to allow active management of camps. HSI has responded with our concerns over the new draft camp management policy.
  • The new strategy also confirmed that the NSW Government was delaying its commitment to end licenced shooting of flying-foxes until 30 June 2015. 
  • From 1 July 2015 shooting of flying-foxes will only be permitted under ‘special circumstances’ as outlined by the NSW Government. This policy permits the issuance of licences for some orchardists until 1 July 2020.  Whilst this delay to the end of shooting is extremely disappointing, HSI has welcomed the Government commitment to end shooting and intends to ensure that this new commitment is met with no further delays.
  • HSI is continuing to work closely with Government and orchardists to ensure not only the best but also the fastest possible outcome is achieved for the flying-foxes. We will continue to call for shooting to end as soon as possible both in NSW and Queensland.
  • Bat carers are telling HSI they cannot face another flying-fox killing season. Whilst the shooting of bats continues, so will the cruelty.


Latest news



3rd November, 2014 click here 


24th October 2014 click here 

flying-fox netting program welcomed, but no excuse for continued cruelty

19th August, 2014 click here


September 7th, 2012 click here

Government scheme benefits crops, farmers and flying-foxes

June 27, 2011 download PDF (189.9 kB)

Botanic Gardens delay bat dispersal - a temporary reprieve for bats

May 16, 2011 download PDF (93.4 kB)

Botanic Gardens dispersal will be no win for bats

April 15, 2011 download PDF (88 kB)

Ask the NSW Government to protect bats, not shoot them

April 7, 2011 click here

Groups call on Industry Minister to implement el​ection promise on flying-foxes.

April 7, 2011. Download PDF (185.2 kB)

Flying foxes get a last minute reprieve from NSW government

March 7, 2011 click here


March 7th, 2012 download PDF (349.1 kB)


March 7th, 2012 download PDF (529.2 kB)


June 27, 2011 download PDF 

Another season of animal cruelty begins today

October 28 2009 Click here

NSW Government licenses extreme animal cruelty

March 18, 2009. Click here

Will Verity Firth allow another season of animal cruelty?

July 10, 2008 Click here.


Further information

  1. Read the report Why NSW Should Ban the Shooting of Flying-foxes endorsed by 55 conservation, animals welfare and wildlife rescue organisations. Download PDF (1074 kB)
  2. Read the report Report on deaths and injuries to Grey-headed Flying-foxes, Pteropus poliocephalus shot in an orchard near Sydney, NSW revealing evidence of extreme cruelty to shot flying-foxes. Download PDF (901.5 kB)
  3. Read statements of support from fruit growers opposed to the shootings. Download PDF (140.5 kB)
For more information about HSI's work on flying-foxes click here


Web: AndreasLustig.com