ORNIS is just Robert Abela’s political tool

March 17, 2022 2:32 pm

BirdLife Malta promises a relentless campaign to halt scandalous decisions on the eve of a general election

BirdLife Malta has condemned the ORNIS Committee following yesterday’s decisions which clearly show that the ORNIS Committee is nothing but a political tool in the Government’s hands and nothing more. Above all, the Committee ignored the legal principles of the European directives and also any scientific data and arguments.

BirdLife Malta President Darryl Grima briefing journalists (All photos by Ilaria Marchiori)

BirdLife Malta would like to inform the general public that:

  • It will be taking all action needed to inform the European Commission about the details regarding how Prime Minister Robert Abela, on the eve of a general election, did everything to ignore the country’s obligations in terms of the natural environment and hunting in our country. We will also insist with the Commission to hasten the Infringement Procedures against Malta on spring hunting.
  • It will comunicate with its international partner organisations so that they give all the necessary support to put more pressure on the Government on an international level and so that BirdLife Malta is given more support.
  • It is evaluating all legal action which can be taken so that the Government’s decisions are contested in the local Courts.
  • It will work to immediately reopen the discussion about an abrogative referendum on hunting.

Yesterday’s ORNIS Committee meeting supposedly had to discuss not only the spring hunting season for Turtle-dove but also changes to the law on taxidermy. But, astoundingly, just a few hours before the meeting, the Government published a Legal Notice which practically grants an amnesty to those who possess or have received stuffed birds.

BirdLife Malta reacts to ORNIS Committee decisions on spring hunting of Turtle-dove and taxidermy

This clearly proves that the ORNIS Committee is simply a political tool, and a complete farce. Because of this, when the Committee had to discuss this point, BirdLife Malta stormed out of the meeting.

Yesterday it was clear that the decisions taken by this Committee are only political decisions which completely ignore any scientific data and arguments. In the meeting no valid argument was made which justifies the opening of a spring hunting season for the European Turtle-dove – a vulnerable species in danger of extinction – especially when in the European Union there are efforts to halt hunting for this bird even in autumn.

Yesterday’s events also clearly show that Prime Minister Robert Abela is determined to dismantle everything that was done by his predecessors in regard to hunting and trapping. The policy of this Government led by Robert Abela is only to appease hunters and win their votes with pre-electoral decisions.

All this is happening when the Government knows that the European Commission will stop Malta in this regard and also knows that the majority of the public from across the political spectrum want Malta’s natural environment to be protected and hunting to be controlled.

(from left to right), BirdLife Malta Head of Conservation Nik Barbara, President Darryl Grima & CEO Mark Sultana
BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana addressing the press conference

At a time when our country needs to be progressive, and be fair and just towards protecting the environment, PM Robert Abela is taking us back in time with his decisions on the environmental policy of our country.

With more than 60 years of experience, and as the largest environmental organisation in Malta, we commit to continue fighting with determination against these scandalous decisions in the coming weeks and months.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.