Afraid of those who break the law

October 8, 2018 8:41 pm

Today, BirdLife Malta has called on the Government and on Members of Parliament to stop being afraid of the hunting lobby and to take seriously the damage which is being inflicted by hunting in Malta, especially illegal hunting. Actual figures to date confirm the increasing trend which will probably make 2018 the worst year in the past six years for the illegal killing of protected birds.

Not one Member of Parliament has the courage to speak out against the damage inflicted by hunting in Malta

BirdLife Malta officials with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

In an activity held in front of Parliament in Valletta, BirdLife Malta officials explained how during the 12 months of last year there were 82 known cases of protected birds which were recovered and were confirmed shot by the government vet, whilst in the first seven months of this year the amount of illegally shot protected birds has already reached 78.

Members of Parliament who were on their way to today’s parliamentary session were given information about the illegal hunting situation during this year’s autumn hunting season together with shocking figures which compare 2018’s illegal hunting casualties retrieved so far with the figures of the past five years.

A shot Honey Buzzard…one of the most recent casualties retrieved by BirdLife Malta over the past week

BirdLife Malta explained that this situation is the result of several factors including the lack of discipline amongst hunters, the fact that we still don’t have a specific section in the Malta Police Corps which deals exclusively with environmental crime, and the changes in legislation which have weakened nature protection in Malta, in particular the protection of birds.

BirdLife Malta officials with Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia

Another reason – probably the most worrying one – which is leading to an increase in illegal hunting in Malta, is that the Government does not have the courage to restrain these illegalities and is staying silent.

BirdLife Malta insists that the Maltese Parliament and its Members should keep in mind that in Malta there is a substantial amount of citizens who are in favour of the protection of nature, including birds. Members of Parliament are ignoring these citizens and the fact that the hunting lobby forms only a small part of our society.

A shot Marsh Harrier collected from Kalafrana earlier last week (Photos by BirdLife Malta)

In BirdLife Malta’s opinion, it is unacceptable that a government of a European Union state does not take this situation seriously. In this regard we are insisting that the Government commits itself to:

  • Establishing the Wildlife Crime Unit which now enjoys the support of the ORNIS Committee so that enforcement by the police authorities can focus exclusively on the natural environment, and that this new section is given the adequate resources and training it needs to function properly;
  • Addressing Malta’s environmental laws which instead of helping, are hindering their own enforcement;
  • Addressing the problem of taxidermy of protected birds;
  • Addressing the problem of hunting seasons which are only serving as smokescreens for illegal hunting in spring, and also during the first months of autumn.

Above all, BirdLife Malta insists that it is about time that Malta has a government which is not afraid of those who break the law, and seriously shows that it will not tolerate illegal hunting any more.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.

Click here to see the leaflet (in Maltese) distributed to MPs during the event and here for the list of illegal hunting casualties received so far in 2018. The pie chart below the photos shows the distribution of illegal hunting cases this year while the bar chart which can be found further down compares illegal hunting in Malta over the past six years.