For PL and PN, nobody else matters except for hunters and trappers

March 15, 2022 4:17 pm

To win votes, they are ready to risk Malta being taken back to the European Court of Justice

BirdLife Malta is highly disappointed at the way the two main political parties are focused only on making sure hunters and trappers cast their votes for them. They are doing this to the detriment of the common good, risking Malta being taken once again to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on spring hunting, bird trapping and the illegal killing of protected birds in this country.

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana addressing the media (All photos by Nathaniel Attard)

For the two main political parties, those persons that do not have a hunting or trapping licence are irrelevant. The Labour Party and the Nationalist Party both seem alienated from the fact that nobody enjoys the countryside when there are 10,000 hunters with loaded shotguns in our limited natural spaces.

Apart from electoral manifestos without any proper direction on how any future government will concretely secure the safety and conservation of our depleted natural footprint, the main political parties make sure not to step on the almighty sensitive toes of the hunting and trapping lobby, to the detriment of all the rest. The lack of courage and spine to stand up and bring forward solutions to control the rampant illegal hunting in Malta is clear. To the contrary PN and PL are both eager to see another spring hunting season, the most unsustainable practice, that goes against the EU Birds Directive.

BirdLife Malta President, CEO, Council members and officials

In a Valletta press conference held in front of Castille, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: “This evening the ORNIS Committee will be meeting to discuss various topics. As always none are related to the conservation of wild birds but rather a way of weakening laws and trying to find excuses to open a spring hunting season on the vulnerable Turtle-dove.

While all of Europe is protecting this bird from extinction, Malta wants to hunt it down a few days before it reaches its breeding grounds. While European countries stop hunting seasons on this bird even in autumn, Malta wants to kill it during spring. It is unthinkable, unethical, immoral and also illegal for our country to do this and BirdLife Malta will be doing all it can today to stop this.

If this goes through and the moratorium on Turtle-dove hunting is withdrawn, then we can only expect the full force of the European Commission to stop this slaughter at the earliest. Malta has no justification for the spring hunting derogation, and neither does it for the trapping derogations. The political will and political gain of such derogations are not a justification and only show how our political parties have the lowest credentials in bird and nature conservation in the history of our country.”

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana during this morning’s press conference in Valletta
BirdLife Malta press briefing

The people of Malta deserve better when it comes to nature conservation and protection. Why aren’t political parties promising to tackle illegal killing of protected birds by creating a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Police Force that handles only the enforcement of nature protection laws? Why aren’t political parties promising the creation of no hunting zones in public land within Natura 2000 sites? Why aren’t political parties willing to accept that birds are part of biodiversity, and all environment laws and policies should all fall within the Environment & Resources Authority (ERA)? Why aren’t political parties willing to find solutions to end the horrendous and illegal use of electronic bird callers? Why aren’t they promising that they will invest in having the stuffed protected birds that acquired amnesties in the past, to be fully vetted once and for all?

The answer is because we have spineless politicians who work only for the votes of those who care about anything else but their enjoyment of killing birds. That is why the hunters get away with everything they wish for. The symptom of this is when four Flamingos were shot down at Qawra Point and we were promised the islet will become a no hunting zone, only for this to be withdrawn and never materialize.

In view of this scenario, BirdLife Malta and many other eNGOs remain relevant more than ever in this country and we urge all those with a conscience towards nature and biodiversity to join and follow the environmental NGOs. We urge the people of Malta to voice their concerns on the loss of our natural footprint and the reality of hunting and trapping in Malta.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.