Last Updated 10 | 12 | 2013 at 13:45

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30,000 sign petition to end spring hunting referendum

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Over 30,000 people have signed the petition calling for a referendum to end spring hunting on Malta, the Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting announced today.

Coalition Spokesperson Christian Debono said, “We have been inundated with petition forms during the last week and we are now clearly in the final stages of collecting the required signatures to make the referendum happen.”

The petition is calling for an abrogative referendum to remove the legislation that allows spring hunting. The petition cannot be signed online it must be signed by hand using the petition forms that the coalition has prepared. At least 10 per cent of the Maltese electorate (that can vote in a general election) must sign the petition with details as printed on their id card for the referendum to be allowable – around 34,500 people.

The Coalition is urging everyone who has been involved in collecting signatures to collect some more in the run up to Christmas.  “The dove is a symbol of peace and it seems appropriate that we should ask people to sign the petition to protect the turtle dove, one of the species hunted in spring, at this very special time of year. If everyone who has already signed the petition collected just one more signature, we would be sure to have enough names on the petition to make this referendum happen,” Mr Debono said.

The Coalition is beginning the process of verifying the signatures that have already been collected. “We need 10 per cent of Maltese voters that can vote in a general election to have signed the petition and we are now checking all the information submitted to ensure it is correct and valid. We also plan to ensure we have more than 10% of voters signed up to the petition to be sure of success.”

Requesting a referendum calling for the abolition of spring hunting will be the first time that the legislation that allows a popular vote to remove existing laws will have been used.  Mr Debono added, “The Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting has been delighted at the response of the Maltese people to endorse our call for a referendum. The fact that we have already collected 30,000 signatures clearly demonstrates that the people want change and they want it now.”

Copies of the petition form and instructions on how to gather signatures can be downloaded from the BirdLife Malta website www.birdlifemalta.org.

The coalition members are Alternattiva Demokratika, Birdlife Malta, Coalition for Animal Rights, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Gaia Foundation, Greenhouse Malta, International Animal Rescue Malta, Malta Organic Agriculture Movement (MOAM), Moviment Graffiti, Nature Trust, Ramblers Association of Malta.

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