$200 Per Metre: Toy Cops Turn Out In Force To Shield Armed Duck Hunters From Folks Wishing To Document Their Harm


This weekend marks the opening of ‘duck season’ in Victoria. That is, people with guns flock to game reserves around the state, to blow the heads off unsuspecting native wildlife.

New Matilda regular Geoff Russell – who files predominantly on the environment and animal rights – travelled from Adelaide to Victoria to document the slaughter, as part of the group South Aussies for Animals (SAFA). A short time ago, Geoff was fined and ordered to leave. He filed this brief report earlier this afternoon (and you can read his report a fortnight ago here, which he filed from the opening of duck season in South Australia).

The Victorian Game Management Authority (GMA) officer’s technology failed him. A laser measuring device so that he could correctly assess how far I was from the water; from ‘damp ground’ as he was careful to tell me. He paced 18 meters to the edge of the reeds. I paced 20. But let’s not quibble. The legislation said I needed to be 25 metres from the water, or be fined.

I was fined.

My buddy was suddenly on the ground in handcuffs. I didn’t see the precise cause of the take-down, my back was turned. But I gather he hadn’t mastered the kind of obsequious compliance required when dealing the people with badges and handcuffs. He was soon released.

On the other side of the reeds, probably 500 meters away were 4 duck shooters.

The GMA officer could have been watching them. He could have been making sure they killed what they downed. He could have made sure they didn’t shoot into flocks of ducks; that they were handling their firearms properly; that they weren’t drinking alcohol, like the two Victorian shooters that were filmed in South Australia on the opening weekend of our duck season.

I say “Our”? That’s right I’m from South Australia, but this weekend I’m visiting Victoria to attempt to film duck shooters breaking the law and/or inflicting cruelty to native wildlife. To ducks.

Having been fined, I was ordered to leave immediately. Which I couldn’t do; or at least, I thought I couldn’t do. There was a cluster of police and GMA vehicles blocking the road I came in on. And so I waited and watched as more fines were issued.

The only appropriate description of this operation was “overkill”.

Judging by the heavy police and GMA presence, somebody, possibly even the Victorian Premier herself, ordered the release of the hounds, to protect the rights of men with guns to treat wildlife with extreme prejudice.

You can support the work of SAFA by visiting their website here. And you can support New Matilda’s work by making a one-off contribution here. Or by subscribing here.

Geoff Russell is a regular contributor to New Matilda. He has qualifications in mathematics and has written software all of his working life, but in the past decade has devoted increasing time to writing non-fiction with a simple goal... make the world a better place. A three-decade vegan and member of the Animal Justice Party, his first book in 2009 was 'CSIRO Perfidy', a critique of the high-red-meat CSIRO 'Total Wellbeing diet'; the most environmentally destructive diet on the planet. His concerns about climate change and the ineffectiveness of renewables led to a re-examination of his lifelong opposition to nuclear power. After considerable research he realised that the reasons people fear nuclear are built on obsolete knowledge about DNA and cancer. Geoff's second book 'GreenJacked! Derailing environmental action on climate change' is an e-book available on Amazon. He has been a regular contributor to BraveNewClimate.com since 2008 and has had pieces published in The Monthly, Australasian Science and a number of Australian newspapers.