The Australian state of New South Wales’ Game Council has been disbanded due to (apparently rather huge) conflicts of interest.
The Council was established in 2002 to manage introduced species of game animals, the hunting of those game animals on public and private land and of certain pest animals on public land.
It’s been embroiled in controversy in recent times – particularly after the former acting chief executive faced multiple firearms related charges; including firing a weapon onto enclosed lands and hunting without permission. His gun license was also suspended.
If the allegations prove to be true, it would appear the running of the Game Council was a little like having a fox watch over the henhouse.
That is the conclusion the New South Wales’ Government has arrived at; for this and other reasons. In addition to the Game Council being disbanded, hunting on NSW public land will be banned for at least the next two months while the mess is being sorted out.
I’m not anti-hunter or anti-gun – some hunters are great conservationists. But I think there are too many guns legally in the hands of idiots; even in Australia where our gun laws would seem positively draconian to folks in the USA. In Australia, we do not have a right to bear arms – it’s considered a privilege.
I think hunters play a vital role in helping to keep down populations of feral animals and even in the maintenance of non-feral animal populations in some circumstances; but when I’m out on my block and can hear gunshots (and that’s quite often during the cooler months), I do wonder about the people pulling the trigger given the nature of some of the shooting and the weapons used.
A related controversy in New South Wales is concerning the opening of national parks to amateur hunters. The pro side talks about the great service that will be performed in feral control; and the anti side paints a picture of precious native animals being slain en masse.
The truth of what will happen will most likely fall somewhere in-between; and unfortunately, the alleged actions of the Council’s then-CEO lend more credibility to that scenario occurring.