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Malta To Face EU Courts Over Finch Trapping For Research Purposes

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Malta’s decision to allow the trapping of finches for research purposes will face a challenge by the European Commission within the EU’s Court of Justice. 

“The Commission considers that, even though the declared objective is ‘research’, several elements indicate that the scheme – in practice – allows for a large number of birds to be captured without being reported, contrary to the strict conditions for derogations set by the Birds Directive,” the EC said in a statement.

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. 

However in October 2021, 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. 

Following the EC’s decision, Birdlife Malta has called on the government to immediately close the ongoing finch trapping season.

“The EC has seen through the ploy by the Government to repeal last year’s Framework Law allowing for finch trapping to enact new regulations this year, and was not fooled by this attempt to buy time with the hope that a new Infringement Procedure is initiated from scratch,” Birdlife said. 

“Following the first two warnings, today’s legal action was inevitable and now the Government will have to try to defend the indefensible at the ECJ once again.”

Should the finch trapping season be closed?

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Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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