Court relies solely on WBRU reports that conveniently ignore real status of the Vulnerable Turtle-dove

April 17, 2023 1:39 pm

BirdLife Malta is disappointed with the outcome of the Court’s conclusions and rejection of the warrant of prohibitory injunction on the spring hunting for European Turtle-dove. The ruling by Judge Giovanni Grixti was delivered this morning, also revoking the prohibitory injunction that was provisionally upheld on 3rd April. The Government can therefore now open the spring hunting season on Turtle-dove for 2023.

It seems that the Court is relying solely on the Wild Birds Regulation Unit’s reports which conveniently use only the scientific data up until 2018. The data up to 2021 shows further decline and that the species has never been in a worse position.

The European Turtle-dove, a Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Photo by CABS)

BirdLife Malta remains committed to get Malta in line with the European Birds Directive

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: “We are seeing the result of having a politically motivated unit such as the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) who despite having data that shows the real status of the Turtle-dove, opts to select specific data sets with the aim to portray a situation that is different than reality. WBRU has put its political direction prior to scientific facts. The law courts relied solely on WBRU’s report and disregarded all other scientific data from reputable institutions such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

At the same time they did not allow us to bring in expert scientific witnesses and scientific data that would have counteracted WBRU’s position.

Our mission to bring Malta in line with the European Birds Directive and end spring hunting now becomes stronger more than ever. Our other court case against the 2022 spring hunting season now also gains more relevance, and in this case we will be able to present witnesses and the latest scientific data.

We are also sharing this outcome with the European Commission in order to facilitate the way forward for a solid EU Infringement Procedure which has already been initiated in February with a Letter of Formal Notice sent by the European Commission (EC) to the Maltese Government. The Government had until 15th April to respond to this latest warning by the EC. We also request the Malta Police Force to be out in force to strictly control and supervise this spring hunting season.”

Finally BirdLife Malta wants to thank lawyers Dr Martin Farrugia and Dr Claire Bonello who did a sterling job.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.