Saturday, 16 June 2012

Duck rescuers claim victory in court case


Five people who rescued severely wounded ducks during last year's shooting season, have claimed victory in a landmark court case against the Victorian Government.
The three men and two women were arrested and charged after rescuing the waterbirds from wetlands near Kerang, in northern Victoria.
After 14 court appearances and a six-day trial run by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) the five people were acquitted of four charges, including harassing shooters.
A charge relating to blowing whistles was upheld.
The DPI was ordered to pay the rescuers' court costs of $18,000.
Laurie Levy from the Coalition Against Duck Shooters says it should be up to authorities, not animal-lovers, to make sure injured wildlife is cared for.
"That's another thing that the magistrate was surprised at, that it was up to duck rescuers to take vets out onto the wetlands to look after injured native waterbirds," he said.
Their lawyer, Daniel Beecher, described the trial as "malicious" and says it should never have been left to volunteers to rescue the injured birds.
"If the Government is going to authorise people to go into the wetlands and blast wildlife with shotguns then clearly the Government have a responsibility to look after the injured wildlife," he said.
By Peta Carlyon, ABC News

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