Malta’s biggest hunting lobby has taken aim at a coalition of environmentalist NGOs in favour of protecting local woodland areas after uploading a video of garbage and rubbish left at a Miżieb campsite last weekend.
The video, sent to the Federazzjoni Kaccaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti by one of its members, shows the remains of a campsite covered in plastic, rubbish and other waste after a weekend of camping.
“This kind of dirt and even vandalism is practically guaranteed practically after every weekend of the year in the Miżieb and Aħrax reserves,” the FKNK said on Facebook.
“We’ve recently heard a lot about how much the public wants to enjoy the countryside and have access to open spaces. We have also seen protests from a group called Spazji Miftuħa about this,” it said.
Last month, Spazji Miftuħa organised a socially-distanced sit-down demonstration outside Castille in protest of a controversial governmental deal that handed over management of the Miżieb and Aħrax woodland areas to hunters.
Ever since the signing of the woodland deal, tensions have been high between hunting lobbies and environmental groups and the general public with some calling it a “land grab”.
“If certain entities known for their anti-hunting and trapping beliefs are not using and availing themselves of open areas to serve their agenda, the FKNK could be at the forefront, side by side with Spazji Miftuħa in their “fight”,” it continued.
“Unfortunately, there are still those who only care to speak and criticise, especially on social media, and have no respect for those around them.”
Despite public backlash, the FKNK has insisted that the woodland areas will remain open to the public, albeit during hunting season, where certain restrictions will be implemented to safeguard both hunters and the general public.
The hunting lobby has also advocated for “green wardens” who will be patrolling and monitoring the woodland areas and can even issue fines to those who are found breaking the law.
“Members of an FKNK subcommittee will be tasked with cleaning up the area after what the public left behind. If those who speak and protest about open spaces do not respect the hunter and the trapper, they should at least respect the Maltese countryside.”
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