Malta’s hunting lobby has said that it is considering “legal steps” against BirdLife Malta and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, over their “insinuations” regarding the finch migration research allegedly being carried out by the country’s trappers.
The trapping of finches was meant to have been outlawed in Malta following an EU court decision which found Malta’s derogation from EU law not to have been justified.
In response, the Maltese government informed Brussels that it intended to continue to allow trappers to capture protected songbirds because, it argued, this was part of a research project collecting scientific data on the birds’ migration.
“The FKNK can never accept the arrogant persecution, through espionage, provocation, violation of private property and arbitrary exercise of alleged rights that at present are also being exercised by BirdLife Malta and CABS activists, to the serious detriment of trappers taking part in the research,” the FKNK said.
In reality, it is not just BirdLife and CABS that have raised doubts about the legitimacy of the research project, with social media awash with jokes about Malta’s trappers-turned-researchers.
It called on the Maltese government and the police to protect trappers, while also urging trappers to cooperate with the authorities at all times.
FKNK also warned trappers not to “fall victim to the malicious hassle of BirdLife Malta and CABS activists”.
Several poachers have over the years faced criminal charges after being caught red-handed by activists patrolling the countryside in the absence of an adequate police presence.
Just last week, CABS said it had filmed a poacher trapping illegally just 24 hours after he was convicted of the same crime, again after having been filmed doing so by CABS.
The FKNK also said it was “investigating” what right authorities had to release a trapper’s finches back into the wild before he had been arraigned in court. It asked what would then happen were the person to be cleared of the charges against him.
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