Ban Crossbow Killing in South Australia

Social Development Committee

In South Australia, despite being classified as prohibited weapons, crossbows can be used to kill non-native, unprotected species such as deer. All that is required for crossbow hunting is a basic hunting permit, permission from the landowner and there is no formal monitoring of compliance. Crossbow hunting is ILLEGAL in all states EXCEPT for Victoria and South Australia.

The cruel death of a brushtail possum last month in Aberfoyle Park has sparked outrage amongst the South Australian community. The possum was shot with a crossbow bolt and bled to death, as did the joey that was in her pouch. The possum was still barely alive when found clinging to the top of a garage door when she was found.

This shocking death has coincided with an inquiry in the parliament of South Australia into the use of bows and crossbows in hunting.

In Australia, only South Australia and Victoria have not yet banned crossbows. Our Member of Parliament in Victoria, Andy Meddick is also seeking a ban and raised a motion calling for a complete ban on crossbows in February 2021. In his motion, Andy Meddick said that ‘whether an animal is a native or non-native, an arrow through the body is a cruel, slow and painful way to die.’ The Animal Justice Party in South Australia will be seeking to have crossbow hunting made illegal in our upcoming submission.

The Animal Justice Party firmly believes that there is no ethical justification for killing innocent animals for sport, and this method of slaughter is particularly brutal.

Petition by
Steven Campbell
Adelaide, Australia

To: Social Development Committee
From: [Your Name]

For the Social Development Committee (SDC):

I am calling on the SDC to ban the use of bows and crossbows in the destruction of all types of animals.

Although bow and crossbow hunting of native animals is illegal, the destruction of “feral” animals by bow and crossbow remains legal, despite the illegal status of the possession of bows and crossbows when not used for the purpose of hunting.

In order to kill an animal with a bow or crossbow, the animal must first lose one third of its blood which can take up to hours depending on where the animal is wounded. Animals who sustain injuries and are not killed often die later of infection. The act of draining an animal of blood or ‘exsanguination’ has shown to cause high amounts of stress when compared to other methods of animal slaughter. Research has shown that even when carried out by a competent marksman the process of dying cannot be described as swift or humane, according to the RSPCA.

Although it is important to protect our native wildlife, it is surely the gruesome nature of the suffering caused that justifies this response rather than protecting it due to its native status. This is why the protection of the law should be extended to every animal. Although ‘feral’ animals are not regarded with the same importance as native wildlife by some Australians, it is imperative that we remember that whether it is a possum or a pigeon that is shot, they suffer equally. No innocent animal deserves to be shot unprovoked, especially by such a barbaric weapon as a bow or crossbow.

I implore the SDC to follow the lead of the rest of the nation and ban the killing of any animal by bow or crossbow.