Category Archives: Primary Production

WA Premier closes all Gunshops

As many of our viewers will have seen by now , the farce that is the West Australian government has implemented a total closure of all gun shops in the state. The public “servants” have enacted this under the emergency powers act, signed today at 10:50 and delivered to gunshops an hour after, to take effect at 11:59 AM today.

This action is absolutely disgraceful, at a time when general retailers (including such establishments as the absolutely essential JB Hi Fi) are still permitted to be open. The clown like political machinations of the West Australian government are on plain display.

This action has been justified by the Premier, who claims that due to the closure of firearm ranges and clubs that there is no need for the stores to  be open. Furthermore he claims that exemptions will allow farmers to purchase ammunition.

These are blatant lies, the Premier should hang his head in shame and our organisation will not forget, nor forgive, his deceitful nature. Quite plainly, there is no exemption to allow farmers or other occupational shooters to purchase ammunition, firearms and other accessories; and to say otherwise is a bold faced lie.

Furthermore, to typify the shooting community as utterly dependent upon the operation of shooting ranges and clubs is another load of absolute tripe from the Premier’s office. Indeed in these trying times, where meat is hard to source from the shops with the grotesque panic buying taking place, many hunters will keenly be resorting to harvesting their own meat from properties on which they can shoot. This activity remains totally lawful, indeed hunting being a primarily solitary pursuit on large rural properties complies with the social distancing guidelines – more so than probably any other activity. 

This action is nothing more than a gutless attack on the shooting industry and sport, and one that is totally unjustified. If general retail was closed then certainly we could understand this move, however this is not the case. The shooting industry has been singled out for special treatment by a vindictive government, who are distinctly devoid of a spine.

As wryly noted by Beaton Firearms, this move is totally counterproductive to any notions of community safety, indeed forcing gunshops to now be unattended for months at a time is now spotlighting them as prime targets for burglars. However community safety or common sense, or indeed anything that could be confused for intelligence, has clearly not crossed the mind of the dishonourable Mark McGowan.

At a time when our communities need support, and should be trying to work constructively together to help manage such a massive public health emergency, the divisive move from the McGowan government is truly deplorable. We and our followers will be aggressively targeting the McGowan Labor Government come the 2021 West Australian election. 

Queensland Police: COAG says NO to pistols for farmers

At a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing this week, we listened with interest as Police solicitors tabled a copy of the new National Firearms Agreement.  They were trying to take pistols off a man who has safely used pistols to destroy feral pests for a very long time.

Those Police solicitors bravely indicated that the Queensland Government had signed up to the new NFA. They indicated the Queensland Government intended to eliminate pistols for animal destruction in Queensland.  The Queensland Parliament hasn’t changed the law, but that doesn’t stop Police solicitors in crumpled suits from breathlessly huffing about COAG.

The decision is reserved.

 We’re the Police, we’d never be loose with the facts

Queensland has a long history of licensing farmers and pest controllers to use pistols to humanely destroy animals.  Pistols are light, compact and ready take advantage of what is sometimes a narrow window of opportunity or a dangerous, confined space where it’s hard to move a rifle.

Around 2013, Queensland Police Weapons Licensing Branch started to end this practice.  There was no change to the law.  There was a simple written plan to verbally pressure farmers and pest controllers into withdrawing perfectly legitimate license renewals, even though those people had been safely using pistols for decades.

We’ve previously described:

  • How Police frequently use pistols to destroy animals and Police tests confirm that pistols are highly suitable for the purpose,
  • How WLB has spoken and written to applicants, telling them that it is “impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kills animals” merely because some older CSIRO reports about pest destruction use the world ‘rifle’ and not ‘pistol’.

Nowadays, the CSIRO and Commonwealth and State Departments of Agriculture work together to write guidelines for humane pest destruction.  Last year, the modern version of those documents were revised to replace ‘rifle’ with ‘firearm’.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Committee, which includes academics and State and Territory representatives, receives federal funding to plan and advise on the elimination of wild dogs.  They wrote to the Queensland Police Minister in November 2016 and pointed out that, far from being “impossible to justify”, pistols could be quite useful in pest destruction:

“Firstly, the changes justify the preference for pistols over rifles when land managers seek to improve motor bike riding safety and where the location or position of a trapped animal requires the improved site picture of a pistol for a more humane kill.  Secondly, the changes justify a larger calibre firearm for a more humane kill where the location or position of a trapped animal prohibits a clear headshot.”

Please hold.  Your call is important to us.

We asked the Queensland Police Minister about the ‘rifle’ to ‘firearm’ change on 12 November 2016 and then formally applied to Queensland Police for a copy of the letter from the Wild Dog Committee.  Here’s what happened next.

When What
5 January 2017 Minister Ryan writes back and outlines the increase in rejections of pistol applications for humane pest destruction.

Year Rejections
2016 56
2015 62
2014 44
2013 30

The Minister invites us to contact Inspector Smith at Weapons Branch for further information.

6 January 2017 We write to Inspector WLB and ask:

Have you or your officers received a copy of correspondence to the Minister from the Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Committee (Invasive Species Ltd) dated on or about 3 November concerning the occupational use of pistols in animal destruction?

18 January 2017 Inspector WLB writes back:

I do recall receiving some material regarding the ‘wild dog action plan’.  However, whether that was from you or another person, I do not recall.

18 January 2017 We write back:

The correspondence wouldn’t have been from me. Given the correspondence was only issued last November, it can’t be too long lost in the mists of time.  I would find it informative to know whether your branch received it and any notice you gave it.

24 January 2017 Inspector WLB writes back:

I wish to advise that on reviewing your request, regarding the ‘wild dog action plan’ and my previous correspondence in which I acknowledged receiving some material on this topic, as it turns out it was your ‘Right to Information’ request for information on this topic.

From a quick google search of ‘wild dog action plan’ this information is readily available.

The below link should assist.

http://www.pestsmart.org.au/national-wild-dog-action-plan/

15 February 2017 The QPS release documents showing Inspector WLB and other uniformed members of the Weapons Branch were involved in preparing a response by the Police Minister to the Invasive Species correspondence in November 2016.

 

 

The Weapons Licensing Branch had knowledge of the correspondence to the Police Minister in November.  The correspondence seriously undermines their extreme position against the use of pistols by primary producers.  We received a response on this issue that appears to be misleading – almost like the Weapons Licensing Branch are going to lengths to pretend that the codes of practice agreed by Commonwealth and State representatives haven’t been updated to say that pistols are suitable.

Given that the National Firearms Agreement was recently updated with a view to ripping pistols off all farmers and primary producers, we have to ask ourselves: if the Police haven’t been completely upfront with us, would they have been upfront with politicians and policy-advisers who drafted the new NFA?  Given the recent comments of the Queensland Police Commissioner on Twitter, is the Queensland Police Service an anti-firearms lobby?

Ignoring the pest problem

The scale of the feral pest problem is huge and you need only take a couple of days a few hundred kilometres outside the major capital cities to find more dogs, deer, pigs, goats, camels than you can count.  Pests are destroying rural industries.  Particularly the sheep industry, where dogs are viciously calculating in the torment the impose on countless sheep:

“He was one horrible piece of work. He was a big, strong, wild dog capable of getting the bigger sheep down and surgically removing their kidneys, only their kidneys and then letting them go and the sheep would run off and eventually bleed to death,” Mr Ali said.

“But it took hours for the sheep to die. This is not normally how dogs kill and attack sheep.”

The Police and Policy-making class are utterly indifferent to the real needs of farmers.  They’re coming to take everything off you (one pistol or lever-action shotgun a time).

So is the Queensland Labour Government.  Email the Minister today and to let them know this is unacceptable and then let them know in 2018 at the ballot box.

Written by A. Stanway

Freedom of Disinformation: QPS WLB strike again

A few days ago, we described how the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch appears to frown on the occupational use of pistols by primary producers while the Queensland Police regularly euthanise animals with Glocks.

It isn’t just the Police that frown.  The Police Minister has described farmers using pistols to deal with pests and stock as cowboys.  How did we get here?

Fortunately, we can get some idea from documents obtained under Queensland’s Right To Information Act.

“if their proposed use isn’t supported then the applications are very unlikely to be successful”

At some point in the recent past, this document was prepared:

“I propose that all staff assessing or following up on new applications and renewals for Concealable Firearms be encouraged to speak to applicants to let them know that Cat H applications will be looked at on a case by case basis and if their proposed use isn’t supported then the applications are very unlikely to be successful.”

After assessment by the Licencing Coordinator, if the application is not supported, applicants will be offered the opportunity to withdraw prior to being rejected.

Some applications get very special attention.  The document goes on:

“There cannot be a blanket NO answer for any type of licence, each one must be judged on its merits, however some of the standards points that have been referred to are listed below.

Why would each case need a special phone call where Branch staff members ‘speak to applicants’?  Is it because some special attention is going to be delivered?

“Enjoy our new, improved, special attention

In documents that appear to be scripts for the Branch members making the ‘special attention’ phone calls, we find these gems:

“The CSIRO and other Commonwealth and State agencies, including the Queensland Government, have produced a number of ‘Model Codes of Practice’ for the destruction of livestock and feral animals.  These documents indicate that in most cases the use of rifles of sufficient calibres should be used for humane destruction of injured or sick beasts.

Publications on humane destruction of feral pest animals are not supportive of the use of handguns due to the smaller calibres used and the lack of accuracy over distance both of which can contribute to the suffering of an animal.”

It is hard to understand why pistol calibres are said to be smaller than rifle calibres.  There are plenty of pistol calibres in common use which are larger than many common rifle calibres.  Despite that, the Branch seem keen to give you the impression that there is absolutely no scientific support for using pistols to euthanise animals.  There is no mention of the joint Queensland Police and Department of Primary Industries study at Warwick 16 years ago.  That study endorsed the Police Service Glock and its .40 calibre projectile for euthanising cattle.  There is even a Police procedure for euthanising animals with Glocks.

Undeterred by these difficult facts, the apparent script continues with its helpful suggestions:

“Other methods of carrying long arm rifles have been developed in recent years for both motorbike and horseback, including scabbards, gun racks and break down ‘survival’ type rifles of smaller size. This counters an argument that on rural properties it is not practical to travel distances with long arms.”

“Any rejection will need to be declared in future dealings with Weapons Licensing”

The most telling part of this apparent script is the implied consequence for the farmer or occupational shooter receiving the special attention:

“Please keep in mind that any rejection will need to be declared in future dealings with Weapons Licensing is it [sic: it is] a question on most forms used by Weapons Licensing.”

You sent the Queensland Police a form and some money.  You’re trying to work livestock or dispatch pests in pretty difficult conditions.  A policeman phones you and says “Thanks for your time today.”  And after some waffle he indicates they won’t be “supporting” the renewal of your existing license.  Then he tells you that you can withdraw your application and dispose of your pistol(s).  Or you continue your application for renewal and very likely face formal refusal.  He tells you to keep in mind that you’ll have to deal with us again.  It sounds like they’re saying: we’re in a position of power over you and we will remember this.

Why no public release?

When documents like the apparent proposal and script above are released, they are normally put on the online Disclosure Log for anyone to access.  They don’t seem to contain anything confidential or personal.  At the time of publication, they weren’t available online in the Disclosure Log (see application RTI/18362).

Police comment invited

On Monday we invited the Queensland Police Service to comment on a draft of this post by close of business Thursday 13 October 2016.  We have received none.

Written by A. Stanway

Category H, Farmers and the Humane Euthanization of Animals

Working livestock on a large property can be a hard way to make a living.  Thick scrub, rough terrain, long distances and wandering animals (wanted and unwanted) are a reality of life.  Often enough, farmers, pest controllers and animal handlers need a compact, light, reliable repeating firearm to deal with the challenges of sick livestock and packs of feral pests.

You’re quickly dismounting from a quad, a bike or a horse.  Drawing a pistol will be quick during the narrow window of opportunity to act.  This beats trying to ready a long arm, which would take crucial additional seconds or minutes, by which time the opportunity for action has passed.

Recent reports indicate that the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch (the Branch) has decided to refuse a number of applications and renewals for primary producers to use pistols to do their job.

This has been disruptive to law-abiding shooters who already owned pistols for destroying livestock or pest animals in what are often challenging circumstances.  The Queensland Tribunal that hears appeals against Branch decisions has found pistols to be perfectly suitable where the circumstances of the farm require them (see Harm v Queensland Police Service [2010] QCAT 518).

What the ‘Firearm Police’ say

In recent correspondence, the Branch has claimed that a CSIRO-published report and recommendations on feral pest destruction does not support the use of pistols in pest destruction.  Appendix 2 to the CSIRO report lists various rifle ammunition and does not mention pistols or pistol ammunition.

Relying on the little that the CSIRO report had to say, one member of the Branch recently wrote: “[this] make[s] it virtually impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kill animals.”

This same claim was also made by the Branch a couple of years ago in a Tribunal appeal.  Tribunal Member Howard considered this and wrote (in Shaxson v Queensland Police Service, Weapons Licensing Branch [2014] QCAT 309):

“Another document [offered by the Branch] entitled Model Practice for the “Welfare of Animals Feral Livestock Animals” published by the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal and Health Committee, SCARM Report 34, provides some potentially inconsistent information about humane destruction. It variously describes shooting as the most humane method of killing and refers to use of a pistol (although it seems only for recumbent animals), but later, sets out a schedule for firearms apparently recommended for various types of feral animals (these appear to be mainly, if not all, rifles and shotguns) …

The information provided in … Report 34 is general and untested. Therefore, I am wary of placing undue weight on it. […] although it appears to have some internal inconsistency does not deal with feral dogs particularly, and generally seems to support use of rifles and shotguns in management of feral animals.”

The Report claims that “The following schedule of firearms and ammunition has been prepared after consultation with State/Territory officers experienced in feral animal control”.  It then lists ammunitions for rifles and shotguns.

On 7 July, I wrote to a long standing, PhD-qualified member of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), who I understand was involved in the preparation of these recommendations.  I asked him what this consultation involved.  I’ve received no response.

On 8 August, the CSIRO wrote back to me about my Freedom of Information (FOI) request for all documents relevant to the consultation.  They advised: “Despite an extensive search, CSIRO has been unable to locate any document relevant to your request.”

“Impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kills animals”

On 19 December 2015, the police from the Stanthorpe Station and the local RSPCA attended a wallaby who’d been hit by a car and had a smashed leg.  They weren’t taking statement from the wallaby.  The policeman, a firearms instructor, fired six times to euthanise the macropod.

Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said “it was fairly common for police to be called out to assist wildlife carers.”

The Police are well prepared.  Documents obtained under the Queensland Right To Information (RTI) Act reveal that in October 2000, the Police and the Queensland DPI tested the Police service pistol at “distances ranging from 2 to 7 meters” against “actual cattle heads obtained from a local abattoir”.  The documents tell us:

Inevitably police officers encounter situations where livestock are injured or maimed to the extent that they humanely destroyed. […]

The trial is to provide QPS with informed and tested technical information regarding humane destruction of livestock using the standard issue Glock 22 .40 Calibre. […]

You can imagine the expert heads nodding in unison at this paragraph:

“This projectile has mushroomed exceptionally well with the metal jacket peeling back to the gullet base resulting in increased diameter of the projectile on exit. This is a very desirable characteristic for a projectile for humane destruction purposes.”

It turns out that pistols are convenient tools in humanely destroying animals.  So useful, in fact, that the Queensland Police sanction the use of pistols by their members for this purpose.

Three questions for the Firearm Police

  1. Is it possible that the codes of animal welfare are really more concerned with a humane destruction of an animal than with the barrel length of the firearm used to do it?
  2. If codes of animal welfare mean it is “virtually impossible” to justify using pistols to humane destroy animals: why do the Police do it so frequently given they have modern 5.56mm rifles at their disposal?
  3. Is it possible that pistols can be very convenient and that quick, multiple shots are OK to ensure suffering animals are humanely destroyed?

 

Written by A. Stanway