Their are many reasons why so many people felt the need to protest the continuation of this barbaric ritual, not least of which being the massive reduction in native water bird populations following the 2009 bushfires. It was heart breaking to see so few birds in the sky. The fact that the Victorian government felt it acceptable to sanction the killing of these species when their gene pools are at such critically low levels, is utterly reprehensible from any perspective.
The principle reason that compelled me to spend an 18 hour round trip in a van punctuated by severe sleep deprivation however, is the simple and firm belief that it is morally wrong to kill in order to fulfill a human need so trivial as 'recreation'. I wholeheartedly believe that every world problem of suffering, repression, fear and injustice, is at its source, a problem of violence and that its celebration has no place in our society. I believe just as strongly, that the most effective method of countering such problems is peaceful protest and non-violent civil disobedience. It was an amazing to experience how effective this could be first hand. Despite the the tens of thousands of dollars it cost the Victorian government to provide police 'protection', it was immediately apparent that our physical presence was saving lives. As soon as we came onto a wetland populated by hunters, the killing stopped. By breaking an unjust and immoral law (being in the wetlands before 10am without the 'intention to kill'), we were instantly saving the lives of ducks, and putting massive economic pressure on the state to change its laws.
Feel free to contact Victorian Premier John Brumby here and let him know you think should stop listening to the violent minority known as the Shooters Party (who give their election preferences to Labor) and start listening to more than 80% of Victorians, who want to see this practice banned.