Australian Private Hunting Properties Cashing in On Tourist Dollars
Over the past week, private properties running guided hunts for international tourists have been in the spotlight after one website allegedly published in Mandarin for visitor access to high-powered rifles and offering wombats and rabbits to be shot.
No evidence of this ever taking place has been witnessed however it was enough to get the Animal Justice Party and PETA out of the closet for some free publicity.
The Herald Sun revealed dozens of private operators are offering hunting tours across the state, charging up to $6500 for three-day deer hunting packages on private land in the Alpine Ranges and East Gippsland.
Shooting tours are being advertised online, including on American and Chinese websites, boasting of tourists being able to add a “down under” kill to their belt. Whilst this could be any number of game or introduced animals it has been assumed that they are offering native animals.
According to the Victorian Government, private hunting companies must have a licence and follow strict rules, but animal activists have a growing concern there is not enough industry scrutiny.
The Weekly Times reported a Murrindindi property, connected to the recent Crown Casino saga, was put under investigation by authorities.
The private shooting range allegedly advertised online in Mandarin, saying visitors could access high-powered rifles and shoot wombats and rabbits.
Victorian Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick called for the property to be shutdown and hit out at the hunting industry in
“I will never understand how hurting animals can be justified as an acceptable form of entertainment,” he said.
“Regional Victoria has a smorgasbord of nature-based tourism activities. Inflicting cruelty onto Australian wildlife should not be one of them.
“Not only are animals being severely injured and suffering enormously before being killed, powerful guns being operated by
inexperienced tourists poses a huge risk to local community members and their families.”
A government spokeswoman told the Herald Sun hunting properties operating in Victoria on private land were required to apply for a gaming licence and follow strict rules.
“Game hunting guides are required to comply with all hunting and firearms laws,” she said.
“There are heavy penalties for failing to comply with hunting, wildlife and firearms laws, including fines, loss of licence, forfeiture of equipment used in the commission of an offence and, in some cases, imprisonment.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hit out at the cruel and lucrative industry, which has been quietly growing in Victoria since 2013.
“Animals are individuals, with emotions and the ability to feel pain,” said a spokeswoman.
“They are not targets to kill, decapitate, and hang up on a wall as a trophy.”