Amidst worldwide lockdowns and constantly escalating Coronavirus fears, Malta’s hunters have called for the opening of the spring hunting season… spurring the island’s largest environmental NGO to hit out at the “absurd” proposal and the government’s “spineless” attitude towards it.
Thousands of people might be stuck indoors on mandatory quarantine – with a further lockdown being imposed on the island’s 118,000 most vulnerable just yesterday – but earlier today, the hunters’ federation presented its proposals to Minister Clint Camilleri.
The FKNK’s chief proposal stated that, since the ruling Ornis Committee had not been appointed on time this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister – a hunter himself – should enact a derogation (a relaxed or exempt version of the current law) in the absence of the Ornis recommendations.
A few hours later, BirdLife released a scathing statement in reply, decrying the proposal.
“While Malta is doing its best to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, the Prime Minister should understand that hunters are not a privileged section of Maltese society,” BirdLife Malta began.
“It is absurd that at this delicate moment the Government even considers opening a spring hunting season for this year – this would be highly irresponsible.”
The statement goes on to recount that, in the past weeks, BirdLife Malta had observed several episodes of hunting illegalities, from illegally shot birds of prey to two birds being illegally shot “in just 24 hours yesterday”.
“It is clear hunters are abusing the lack of public and police presence in the countryside and taking advantage of the situation to literally do what they want.”
“Hunting organisations have lost control over their members and, without any shame whatsoever, are even going as far as insisting with the Government to open a spring hunting season despite the situation out there, and the delicate moment we’re all in,” BirdLife finished, attaching a photo of a highly-protected Osprey (Arpa) which was illegally shot and recovered in Gozo.
Last year, the quail hunting season opened between the 10th and 30th April.