BLM calls on the Government to “stop being afraid of the hunting lobby”
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BirdLife Malta said that in view of the increasing trend in illegal hunting incidents this autumn hunting season, this evening it held an event in front of Parliament in Valletta.
BirdLife Malta 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.”
BLM members and activists, together with representatives from other NGOs, met MPs as they entered the Parliament building for the day’s sitting.
BirdLife said that even though every Mp was given a fact sheet with a list of this season’s known illegally shot protected birds so far, “not one Member of Parliament has the courage to speak out against the damage inflicted by hunting in Malta.”
It added that the members of the public that were entering through City Gate could also see striking images of the season’s casualties so far, which BirdLife added, “showed the devastating impact of illegal hunting,” together with a big banner with the words `Tibzghu minn min jikser il-lig.’
According to BirdLife the “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.”BirdLife Malta officials this evening 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.
BLM stated that this situation is the result of several factors “including the lack of discipline among 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.”
“Another reason – probably the most worrying one – which is leading to an increase in illegal hunting in Malta,” BirdLife said, is that the Government does not have the courage to restrain these illegalities and is staying silent.”
BirdLife Malta insisted 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,” it added.
“It is unacceptable that a government of a European Union state does not take this situation seriously,” said BLM.
BirdLife said that it is “insisting” that the Government commits itself to:
1) “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;
2) Addressing Malta’s environmental laws which instead of helping, are hindering their own enforcement;
3) Addressing the problem of taxidermy of protected birds;
4) 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.”
BirdLife Malta concluded by saying, that “above all it 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.”
Photos by Eleni Karatzia and Nathaniel Attard – BirdLife Malta