BirdLife Malta is very disappointed at the lack of environmental awareness from Dr. Joseph Muscat and Dr. Simon Busuttil during the present electoral campaign. To add insult to injury, rather than focusing on who will best protect the environment, they are trying to garner votes from trappers and hunters. It seems that in 2017 both the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party, who are both hoping to govern our country, are more concerned on the pastime of killing and trapping birds than on telling us how they plan to safeguard our natural environment.
Safeguarding the environment is the backbone of the 10 electoral proposals that BirdLife Malta presented to all political parties this week and which are being made public with this statement.
BirdLife Malta’s stand on environmental matters is based on scientific facts and on present legislation with particular regard to the EU Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. BirdLife Malta’s CEO Mark Sultana stated: “Hunting and trapping in Malta is also regulated by the Birds Directive which is outside the remit and powers of local politicians. While this has to be observed, only scientific facts can justify derogations, which is why it is a blessing that we are inside the European Union! Rather than talking about a pastime of killing and trapping birds, politicians should be mature enough to talk about what can be done to benefit our country’s natural environment like reducing waste, land use and ODZ, and pollution; whilst improving habitats and natural reserves, and access to nature in schools.”
With respect to statements about reducing fines and penalties in relation to hunting and trapping, BirdLife Malta insists that this benefits only those who break the law. Only those who are willing to risk breaking the law would be happy with such a promise. Ironically this electoral promise comes in a year when there was the highest ever number of protected birds shot in the last four years.
We wish to point out that the real issue is not the size of the fines. The real issue that BirdLife Malta has been continually highlighting is the serious lack of enforcement. Without the presence of environmental NGOs such as BirdLife Malta in the countryside, very few cases are brought to justice. In view of this, it is high time Malta has a government who is willing to tackle this seriously by setting up a proper Wildlife Crime Unit within the police force.
BirdLife Malta will keep on working closely with any government that is elected for the benefit of our country’s natural environment. We would never shy away from voicing criticism when it is necessary while continuing to work consistently for the benefit of the common good of Malta and Gozo.
Read the Maltese version of the press release here. Click on the links below to read what BirdLife Malta is proposing to the political parties for the 2017 General Election.
- Working for a better future (BirdLife Malta’s 10 electoral proposals – ENG version)
- Ħidma għal futur aħjar (BirdLife Malta’s 10 electoral proposals – MLT version)