Results of Birdlife’s ‘Your Voice Counts’ campaign
BirdLife Malta today published the results of its ‘Your Voice Counts’ campaign questionnaire, which asked political candidates to answer eight questions about their positions on wildlife and countryside issues. It was sent to a total of 165 candidates, 85 Labour, 71 Nationalist and nine from Alternativa Demokratika.
In a statement it said that “While all the AD candidates answered in the first week, and despite BirdLife sending the questionnaire twice as an online survey and then hand-delivered in individually addressed envelops to the Nationalist and Labour Party headquarters, only four Labour candidates and a single Nationalist candidate returned completed questionnaires.”
Commenting on the lack of response from PN and PL candidates, Chris Debono, Conservation and Policy Officer, said “it is worrying, as it either indicates a widespread unwillingness of to engage in public discussion about wildlife and countryside issues that affect voters, or that candidates may have been instructed by their parties not to repond.”
“If election candidates refuse to publicly state their positions on such issues, how are voters supposed to assess which candidates best represent their views?” asked Debono.
Amongst those who failed to answer the questionnaire were both party leaders, their deputies Simon Busutil and Louis Grech, Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment, Mario de Marco, and his opposite number, Leo Brincat, as well as pro-hunting MP Michael Falzon.
However, Debono said that the answers of those candidates who did respond showed “a general willingness to seek improvements on both conservation and safe public access to the countryside.”
BirdLife’s Conservation Manger, Nicholas Barbara, also added that twelve out of the fourteen respondents agreed that Malta “should strictly follow and enforce the Birds Directive without the application of derogations to allow hunting in spring and trapping”.
“The recognition that spring hunting and trapping are not sustainable or justifiable is very encouraging”, said Mr Barbara. “It is a shame that more of the candidates didn’t respond.”
Today, BirdLife also launched its “Your Voice Counts’ campaign video, in which members of the public speak out about abuses in the countryside and call on politicians to stop chasing hunters’ votes and take action to protect wildlife and safe access to Malta’s countryside for all.