Ban Duck Shooting! – the Duck Army mobilizes at Parliament House, Sunday 14 March

Ducks and protesters line steps of Parliament House

Ducks and protesters line steps of Parliament House

With the start of the new duck killing season only a week away, opponents of the slaughter of native birds in the name of sport lined the steps of Parliament House on Sunday to condemn the Brumby Government’s decision not only to allow the season to go ahead, but even to increase the allowed catch – this in spite of overwhelming opposition from within the community and the ALP itself, not to mention the near-catastophic drop in bird populations after years of drought.

The callout was issued by the newly-formed ‘Duck Army’, an initiative of teenagers Jack Styles and Clementine Round (who joined the duck rescue team in 2009 and saw first-hand what recreational shooting entails for the birds on the receiving end), but there was a wide range of ages in the 100 or so who held placards and shouted slogans along the lines of “What do we want? Native birds. When do we want them? Forever.” and, perhaps inevitably, “”All we are saying, Is give ducks a chance…”
(On the matter of numbers – it was announced at the start that quite a few who had RSVP’d that they would be attending were held up by public transport problems …)

Protester of various ages on steps, plus dog

And in spite of the evident hostility towards Premier John Brumby, it was by no means self-evident that this was a Liberal-dominated action, as some have apparently assumed, judging from comments on the Duck Army Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melbourne-Australia/DUCK-ARM-Y/306316356363

Anti-Brumby placard

One of several variations on the theme

The callout appeared on various sites, including Animal Australia’s Unleashed site (http://www.unleashed.org.au/community/forum/topic.php?t=1415):

HI everyone
i will be running a protest in a few weeks against duck shooting

its is not with an organisation but we have support from many organisations around the state including WILDLIFE VICTORIA and ALV.

WE ARE AIMING TO HAVE 100 PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE I KNOW HIGH BUT FINGERS CROSSED SO PLEASE COME WE NEED YOU AND BRING EVERYONE YOU KNOW

THE DUCK ARMY(my new group) IS A GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO STOP THE BRUTALITY AGAINST NATIVE WATERBIRDS.
WE COME IN PEACE BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP

JOIN THE PUBLIC PROTEST!!!
11AM -12PMSUNDAY 14 MARCH 2010
STEPS OF VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT SPRING STREET MELBOURNE

A MEDIA EVENT WITH A TWIST…..
EMAIL ME OR WRITE ON MY WALL

duck.army@hotmail.com
SEARCH FOR US ON FACEBOOK : DUCK ARM-Y

THE SHOOTERS RELY ON WEAPONS THE DUCK ARMY RELY ON THE FACTS

This was from Jack, who addressed the protest via megaphone:

Jack with megaphone

and the PA:

Jack addressing the protest from the steps

His colleague Clementine also spoke, making the case from the point of view of the birds, while Jack concentrated on the environmental and political aspects (texts of the speeches should appear soon on the Duck Army website, but the gist of the arguments is already there and also on the website of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting – http://www.duck.org.au):

Clementine at the microphone

Another speaker was Elizabeth Anile from Australian Teens against Animal Cruelty:

Elizabeth Anile at the microphone, Jack and Clementine behind her

The rally was very well prepared, with placards and posters, aids to contacting Premier Brumby, and of course, rows of rubber ducks ready to line the steps:

Jack and Clementine with some of the ducks

Tear-off strips with Premier's email address

Many wore Duck Army t-shirts:

Back of t-shirt - 'Don't turn your back on the slaughter'

More placards:

Placards on the steps

Young protester with placard - stop killing our future

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting is calling as usual for volunteers to help rescue injured birds and collect evidence of illegal killing of protected species etc – see http://www.duck.org.au

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