10,000 rabbits shot during Easter hunting in New Zealand

10,000 rabbits shot during Easter hunting in New Zealand
The annual tradition takes place in the district of Central Otago on the South Island, where many regard rabbits as a pest.

Over 300 hunters on 27 teams participated in this year's Easter hunt, which began on Good Friday and lasted for 24 hours.

The death toll ended at 10,000 animals, said organizer Eugene Ferreira to Reuters on Easter Saturday.

He is president of Alexandra Lions Club and says that the tradition started 25 years ago when the rabbits, which are an alien species there, became immune to poison.

- It is a great and fun event. The hunters are out and awake all night, he said.

He argues that the rabbits are a huge problem for farmers because they cause erosion and eat up crops, especially carrots and cauliflower.

Hans Kriek in the animal rights organization SAFE, believes that rabbit hunting is necessary, but it should be performed by professional hunters.

- It's inhumane. It's just a bunch of amateurs who are looking for excitement, he says about the rabbit hunt.

The majority of the victims of this year's hunt will be used as fertilizer, as participants' interest in rabbit for dinner is not very big.

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