BirdLife questionnaire for candidates
A questionnaire was sent to general election candidates from all political parties by BirdLife Malta, asking them to state their positions on a number of key issues related to wildlife protection, law enforcement and access to the countryside.
The questionnaire forms part of BirdLife Malta’s “Your Voice Counts” campaign, which urges members of the public to use their voices to speak out against abuses in the Maltese countryside when the canvassers come calling and demand action to end the illegal occupation of public land, properly enforce wildlife protection laws and make the countryside a safe place for all Maltese people to enjoy.
The questionnaire comprises eight questions and the respondents are required to answer “yes” or “no” to each question.
Executive Directive of BirdLife Malta Steve Micklewright said; “We hope that by asking these questions and publishing the results it will be easier for members of the public to see where their candidates stand on these issues and take this into account when choosing the person they want to represent them in parliament for the next five years”.
“These are not just issues of vital importance for the future of the Maltese countryside and its birds and wildlife, they are issues that impact on the 95% of the Maltese population who have as much right to enjoy the countryside as the 5% whose interests have dominated for so many years,” said Mr Micklewright.
BirdLife has set a deadline of February 1 for the return of the completed questionnaire, after which the results will be made public on the BirdLife Malta website.
1. Do you agree that Malta has an obligation to safeguard Europe’s breeding bird populations by protecting birds on their migration through the Maltese Islands?
2. Do you agree that Malta should strictly follow and enforce the Birds Directive without the application of derogations to allow hunting in spring and trapping, two practices clearly banned by the same Birds Directive?
3. Do you support the formation of a fully resourced wildlife crime unit to ensure that relevant nature protection laws, including those affecting bird hunting and trapping are properly enforced, and that violations of these laws are properly investigated to lead to prosecutions?
4. “Public areas in the Maltese countryside belong to all Maltese people and should be safely accessible to everyone to use, enjoy and appreciate.” Do you agree with this statement?
5. Do you agree that hunting and trapping should be banned in public nature parks like Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park and Majjistral Nature and History Park?
6. Illegal structures and signs have covered and restricted access to much of the Maltese countryside for many years, uncontrolled. If you were elected to government, would you support MEPA’s enforcement unit to proactively remove such structures and signs from both public and private land during the government’s next mandate?
7. Do you agree that ‘No-Hunting’ zones around residential areas should be increased along with penalties for those who violate these rules, to ensure improved safety for the Maltese public?
8. Do you support the idea that both governing and opposition parties should join forces in order to thoroughly review and improve Malta’s current enforcement and judiciary systems dealing with hunting and trapping offences, as a commitment to improve the situation with regards to illegal hunting and trapping in Malta?