Maltese hunters kill chance of 190,000 chicks each spring – SHout Report
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Update: Moira Delia has launched the SHout report on shocking effects of spring hunting, saying that “spring never comes for the hunted.”
According to a report launched today by TV presenter and animal activist Moira Delia and bird enthusiast and BirdLife Malta Trustee Mark Sultana for the Spring Hunting Out Campaign, Maltese hunters kill the chance of 190,000 chicks being born each spring.
Speaking at a press conference in Ghadira Nature Reserve, Moira Delia made a powerful speech about the cruel effects of spring hunting on wild birds. “190,000 eggs are not laid each year because Maltese hunters shoot their parents out of the sky. The lives lost are not just those of the birds killed, but also those stolen from the next generation. This is why spring never comes for the hunted.”
Mark Sultana said that the spring hunting season “acts as a cover for the targeting of rare and protected birds, with over 38 protected species of birds being illegally shot in Malta during the last four spring hunting seasons.” These include blue rock thrush, Malta’s national bird, and pallid harriers, Europe’s rarest bird of prey, he said.
Moira Delia added that “Countless protected birds are shot in Malta each year, and many are just left to die in agony in the countryside.”
Mark Sultana explained that EU law makes it illegal to hunt birds in spring, and that “Malta is the only country to allow hunting of birds in spring purely for fun.”
He said that “the spring hunting season allows 11,000 turtle dove and 5,000 quail to be shot over three weeks, although many more are killed by Malta’s 10,000 hunters. Thousands of birds will never make it back home to breed, putting future generations of birds in danger.”
Mark Sultana stated that “turtle doves are in real danger across Europe, over 20 million of these birds have disappeared since 1980. Spring hunting is endangering their survival.”
Ms Delia urged everyone to speak up and make their voice heard “We cannot continue to steal from future generations, this is why we voters must turn out on 11 April and vote ‘no’ to end this destruction.”
Update: Response from KSU
Kaccaturi San Ubertu said in a statement this afternoon that it “deplores the false propaganda being fed to an uniformed public by the Coalition Against Spring Hunting, known as SHout, about the impact of spring hunting on Turtle Dove and Quail.”
The KSU said that quota negotiated with the European Commission for spring derogation by the previous administration is within the 1% of the species mortality rate contemplated by the European Birds Directive and is considered sustainable based on the bird’s Conservation Status and population figures.
“The global populations of these two species as calculated by Birdlife International are that of up to 100,000,000 Turtle Doves of which 25 to 40% form part of the European population. The Quail is even more numerous with up to 300,000,000 individuals of which 5 to 24% in Europe,” it said.
The KSU added, “these bird’s Conservation Status is evaluated by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature IUCN, referred to by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which states: “Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable. The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion. For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.”
“According to European Directives all game birds evaluated as Least Concern can be sustainably hunted under derogation endorsed by the European Court of Justice,” the KSU concluded.
Photograph: Holly Forsyth