Environment and animal welfare groups have lodged a variety of complaints about the
NSW Game Council with regulatory agencies, including the ACCC.
The organisations include the Invasive Species Council (ISC), WIRES, the Nature
Conservation Council of NSW (NCC), the Humane Society International (HSI), the
Wilderness Society, the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, the National Parks Association
of NSW and the Total Environment Centre.
They have referred complaints about the Game Council to the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission, the NSW Ombudsman and the Auditor-General. They have
also called on the NSW Premier, Nathan Rees to launch an independent review of the
Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002.
The ISC's Dr Carol Booth said the Game Council is misleading the public with claims that
hunters make a major contribution to conservation by hunting on two million hectares of
public lands. This is random, ad hoc hunting which is not monitored with controlled
outcomes,” Dr Booth said.
“The State Government’s review of the Game and Feral Animal Control Act, which
recommended amendments to the Act to be decided in the next Parliamentary term,
was not independent and was based on unfounded and wrong assumptions,” she said.
“Three environment groups (ISC, NPA and NCC), have asked the ACCC to investigate
claims made by the NSW Game Council in advertising which we believe are deceptive
“The misleading statements include the use of the slogan Hunters - First in
Conservation, which ran in major metropolitan newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne.”
Dr Booth said the NSW Department of Primary Industries' guidelines say that ground
shooting of most feral animals is ineffective as a method of population control.
“And the Game Council's own figures show that the number of animals hunters kill in
NSW State forests is minuscule compared with total feral animal populations.
“To exceed the rate at which feral animals are replaced by new animals moving into an
area, and survival of young that would otherwise die, often requires more than 50% of a
population to be killed annually.
“On average over the past two years in State forests, recreational hunters have killed
just 6500 feral animals of eight different species (50% were rabbits). By contrast, one
recent professional control program in one part of NSW killed 8000 feral pigs.
“For conservation and welfare reasons, feral animal control is not a job for amateurs. At
best, skilled recreational shooters can contribute to properly run programs to
supplement other methods.
“And hunting can make things worse. Some shooters have moved pigs and deer into new
areas to create new hunting opportunities. Hunting dogs have added to the wild dog
“In the Australian Shooters' Journal, hunters admit to a proud history of maintaining
sustainable populations of game species to shoot, which is completely the wrong
motivation for feral animal control.
“Hunters are already responsible for some of Australia’s worst feral animal problems,
having introduced foxes and rabbits into Australia. These amendments would see even
more feral animals introuced, putting the lie to claims that the Game Council's aim is to
reduce feral animals,” Dr Booth said.
The hunting bill before Parliament provides for the release of a number of exotic bird
species into NSW, many of which have been assessed as a serious threat to agriculture or
“The Game Council claims that its hunting services are free. But they neglect to factor
in the $9.4 million of taxpayers' money granted to them since 2003.”
The groups' complaint to the NSW Ombudsman (from ISC, NCC, TWS, NPA, WIRES,
TEC and the Colong Foundation) also questions the Game Council's claim that
hunters are highly skilled and ethical.
“Game hunters are not tested for their skills before being issued with a licence, so there
is no basis for claiming they are all highly skilled, and there is no way of assessing
ethical standards,” Dr Booth said.
“We are calling on the NSW Government to conduct a proper assessment of the
performance of the current Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002, before
considering any amendments to it.
If passed in the next session of NSW Parliament, the amended Act could see
hunting of 26 native animal species, the establishment of private game parks, the
release of more feral animals, and the state's national parks opened up for
Public meetings to protest against the Game Amendment Bill will be held at:
* Hazelhurst Regional Arts Gallery, 782 Kingsway, Gymea on Thu 13 August at 7pm
(call 9545 3077)
* Santa Maria Centre, 253 Gt. Western Hwy, Lawson, Blue Mtns on Sat 15 August
* Ku-ring-gai Town Hall, 1186 Pacific Hwy, Pymble, near the Station, on Tue 25 August
at 7pm (call 9279 2466)
* Red Dove Hall, cnr Keen & Woodlark Streets, Lismore on Wed 26 August at 6pm
* Theatrette, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney City on Wed 9 September,
5.30-8pm (call 9261 2400)