At least 1000 dead ducks were found floating in a river in Sichuan, China, Chinese media reported Monday.
Like the 16,000 pigs that were recently found in a different river in Sichuan, how the ducks died and why they were in the river is a mystery. They were fished out of the Nanhe river “then buried in plastic bags three meters underground,” according to Agence Free Press.The Chinese government says that the ducks have been disinfected, and water in the area is safe to drink.
As The Guardian noted earlier this week, the hogs may be a consequence of the Chinese government attempting to better manage its livestock practices in its large-and-fast growing meat industry. Until recently, illegal butcher shops would buy dead pigs from farmers on the cheap, but after the government cracked down on the practice farmers began dumping deceased pigs in the river. Water contamination from livestock manure is also a major issue: click here
Sarah McKenzie February 10, 2010
We’re all sick of the duck shooting argument aren’t we? Year after year we see the same old television footage — a misty lake at the crack of dawn, tough men with beards and John Deere caps living out their Rambo fantasies on one side, and crusty-looking agitators with beards and hemp trousers on the other; one small group of extremists versus another.
This would all be fine except that in reality the people opposing duck hunting aren’t the radicals that the media would have us believe. The people opposed to duck hunting are you and me and most of the people you know — in fact, according to a 2007 Roy Morgan poll, it’s 87 per cent of Victorians, a figure spread fairly evenly among supporters of all political parties.
Putting aside for a moment the arguments of cruelty and conservation, it seems simply like a bad political move for the Victorian government to announce that the duck hunting season in 2010 will not only be longer than in 2009, but the daily bag limit will increase from three to eight.
Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia Labor governments have all banned recreational duck shooting, so there is a precedent to ban this activity on both animal welfare and environmental grounds. With less than 20,000 duck shooters registered in Victoria, why does the Victorian government pander to the shooting lobby at the expense of the vast majority?
Along with expected scenes of the limp and pathetic bodies of swans and freckled duck being laid out on the steps of Parliament House, we can also anticipate the same old argument from shooters — a bizarre and counter-intuitive claim that they are actually the most passionate of conservationists.
Their argument goes something like this — ‘We rely on high duck populations in order to shoot them out of the skies for our own pleasure, hence we actually care the most about preserving their numbers’. They claim, maybe truthfully, to do some good work funding wetland conservation. But any such positive contribution is more than outweighed by the harm they cause………………….
$5,000 and $6,000 fines imposed, rifles forfeited
Last Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009 | 7:49 PM CT
James Fraser shields his face from the media while leaving court with his brother, David, in Saskatoon on Monday. (Geoff Howe/Canadian Press)Three Saskatchewan men charged after a YouTube video showed ducklings being shot illegally were handed hefty fines Monday, as well as a three-year ban on acquiring hunting licences.
In Saskatoon provincial court, David Fraser, 30, James Fraser, 23, and Jeremy Rowlands of Cudworth, Sask., pleaded guilty to a total of 15 counts of violating federal and provincial wildlife protection laws.
The judge imposed fines and licence bans on all three men: the Fraser brothers must pay $5,000 each and Rowlands must pay $6,000.
“At the time that we did what we did we didn’t know it was a crime,” David Fraser told reporters after the court proceedings. “We had no idea that bullets ricocheted off water. And we made every effort at the time to make sure that there was nothing within eye view on the horizon of anywhere that we shot.”
Two rifles that had been seized in the investigation were ordered forfeited to the Crown.
‘We thought we were just having fun. Really immature, stupid fun.’—David Fraser, on illegal shooting of wildlife
Charges were laid on the weekend after a national outcry over a four-minute video that appeared on the YouTube website.
The video, which has been viewed more than 60,000 times, shows the men repeatedly firing a rifle at waterfowl swimming on ponds. Some of the shooting took place from inside a car.
Shows men laughing
In one part of the video, the carcass of one bird is repeatedly blasted by one of the men. The men laughed about their actions.
When asked why the three posted their video to the YouTube site, Fraser said they thought the material was funny.
“Why did we post it? Because at the time we thought it was funny,” he said. “And as soon as we found out it was a crime, we took it down.”
Although officials initially thought the video might have been shot in southeastern Alberta, it was later determined it was done in Saskatchewan near where the men live.
The men were seen in a YouTube video shooting at ducklings in a pond. (YouTube)“We thought we were just having fun. Really immature, stupid fun. It was silly to do,” Fraser said. “This has been really educational and I regret that it’s happened. But it’s happened and we’re trying to move forward with it.”
Outrage over the video resulted in numerous tips to the Saskatchewan Environment Ministry’s Turn in Poachers hotline, which led to the trio’s arrest on the weekend, ministry officials said.
“I’ve never seen such a response, and a rapid response, and outrage,” Gary Harrison, manager of the ministry’s special investigations unit, told CBC News on Monday.
Animal rights groups had offered rewards for information that would lead to locating the three men.
“It was, really, indiscriminate killing of migratory birds,” Harrison said.
Among the illegal activities visible in the video is the shooting of birds out of season and shooting birds swimming on the water, he said.
After being fined for illegal hunting, David Fraser told reporters his actions were ‘stupid.’ (CBC)The men were charged with violating the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act and the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.
All three were charged with hunting migratory birds out of season and using a rifle to hunt migratory birds, careless discharge of a firearm and allowing edible game to be wasted.
Rowlands was additionally charged with discharging a firearm from a vehicle.