Birdlife slams PL
Birdlife Malta has questioned Labour’s intentions and motifs behind recent public statements on hunting and trapping arguing that such statements by PL leader Joseph Muscat, reflected the demands presented by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK).
Following questions asked by BirdLife’s Conservation and Policy Officer Chris Debono, Dr. Muscat held that he disagreed with Malta’s “gold plating” wildlife protection legislation despite it being “beyond what is required by the EU”. Despite recognising EU obligations to protect and conserve birds, Birdlife has argued that Dr. Muscat has failed to answer questions regarding how a Labour government will deal with uncontrolled illegal hunting and trapping wild birds in Malta.
Rather than tackling this situation, Dr. Muscat resorted to using the vocabulary of the hunting lobby, stating that Labour wants Maltese and other European hunters and trappers to be treated equally within the EU, a statement issued by Birdlife read.
BirdLife Malta’s Executive Director Steve Micklewright, argued that such statements conceal the truth and reality that Maltese hunters and trappers do enjoy equal treatment when compared with their European counterparts. He continued that such prohibitions are in accordance with the EU wildlife protection regulations. Furthermore, he argued that France, as opposed to Malta, has more breeding bird species and it has a greater area with room for more hunters.
Since joining the EU, Malta has constantly opened a spring hunting season for the declining European Turtle Dove and Common Quail, despite the Birds Directive guidance. Mr. Micklewright argued that no other European country has been allowed to open regular spring reasons, especially for two endangered species. With respect to France, he held that French hunters are not allowed to shoot such species.
Mr. Micklewright concluded that with Malta’s wildlife at in the balance, the Maltese right to enjoy the countryside safety is being brought into question, and emphasised the importance for voters to become aware of what they are voting for.