Persuasive Techniques Essay

Submitted By chafab
Words: 1153
Pages: 5

Every year at the commencement of the Victorian ‘open season’ for duck shooting, there is much debate within the media about whether duck shooting should be banned. In his letter to the editor published in The Age (18-3-2014) titled ‘Bird calls to give way to gunshots’, Henk van Leeuwen contends in a serious tone that duck shooting needs to be banned. Similarly, Riejet van de Vusse in his letter to the editor published in The Age (18-3-14) also contends that the cruel sport must be banned however, he uses a much more aggressive and outraged tone.
Hank van Leeuwen begins this article with the use of shock value by stating that “instead of the usual calls of wetland birds, he woke…to the reverberations of gunshots”. This may cause the reader to associate duck hunting with war, allowing them to quickly oppose the idea of duck shooting and connect it with pain and suffering, therefore quickly positioning them to agree with the author’s argument that duck hunting is a cruel and inhumane sport. The author goes on to use figurative language by describing the place in which duck hunting takes place as having “natural beauty… with its Ramsar listed wetlands and diverse birdlife”, allowing the reader to picture the landscape and make an emotional connection with it. This influences the reader to want to protect this environment from the destruction that duck shooting season brings. The reader is shown the emotional connection between the author and the issue through Leeuwen’s use of an anecdote when he states that he has “wandered its trails and explored its waters by kayak”. This proves to the reader that duck shooting not only affects the wildlife but also the people in their surrounding areas and adds perspective to the author’s contention that duck hunting needs to be banned.
Leeuwen uses “Dr Jenny Lau, of BirdLife Australia” as an expert opinion in to add objective evidence to his supporting argument that Ramsar wetlands are meant to be used as protection for birdlife, not as killing grounds. An expert opinion is often seen as irrefutable by the reader and is they are therefore unable to disagree with the facts. By stating that the “Victorian government has encouraged ducks and other water birds to breed in these swamps and lakes only to allow hunters to kill them,” the author is making an attack on the Victorian government. This denigrates the opposing side’s argument and discredits their decisions which allow the reader to view them as hypocrites who are making the wrong decision for the livelihood of the environment. The reader is positioned to feel sympathetic for the birds through the authors use of emotive language when Leeuwen’s describe the wildlife as “threated species…seeking refuge”. This also evokes the reader to become angry at the government for encouraging these birds to these Ramsar wetlands only to be hunted each year. The author concludes his letter by making an appeal to the readers desire to protect animals and the environment. This strikes an emotional response within the reader, giving them an overwhelming urge to want to help the victims of this cruel sport as they are vulnerable and unable to protect themselves.
While Leeuwen uses a lot of figurative language and anecdotes to support his arguments, Vusse relies mainly on emotive language and facts to support his contention that duck hunting needs to be banned in Victoria. Vusse also uses a very attacking style in contrast to Leeuwen’s much more reasonable approach to writing. Vusse begins his article by using emotive language with a very negative connotation by describing duck hunting as a “slaughter” in order to quickly allow the reader to see the sport as cruel and inhumane and perhaps even position them to feel as though the ducks suffer and are in pain and therefore oppose duck hunting. He then goes on to mention that the season takes place in “Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh’s electorate” in order to make an attack on Peter Walsh which makes the