‘Absurd’ – government’s plan to challenge ruling on trapping, BirdLife says

BirdLife Malta

The government’s decision to challenge the ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice is absurd, BirdLife Malta said in a statement.

The ECJ had found Malta guilty of opening finch trapping seasons in breach of the EU Birds Directive.

This would allow finch trapping “with the excuse that it will be done for scientific research purposes,” it said.

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said that it was absurd and irresponsible for the government to take this route. Sultana accused the government of weakening and amending laws to create a smokescreen for the illegal killing of birds. He added that now the government wanted to create another smokescreen for “tens of thousands” of songbirds to be trapped by creatively classifying it as a scientific study.

Sultana said that various changes to laws were made in the past ten years to appease the hunting and trapping lobby. These included the removal of curfews during raptor migration to allow hunting at Majjistral Park and the opening of rabbit hunting seasons without any restrictions.

“This is a record that only a hunter minister could be proud of while it shames the rest of the country,” he said.

The NGO said that it was a “massive” mistake to hand over the conservation of wild birds to a hunter in reference to Minister for Gozo, Clint Camilleri.

“In a country were enforcement leaves a lot to be desired or even non-existent at times, we are certain that there will be rampant abuse of this system as is the case with all other instances when the Government changed laws purely to appease a lobby that gives nothing to the country but takes a lot from the rest of its citizens,” the NGO said.

It added that it will be asking a lot of questions during the ORNIS Committee meeting scheduled for next week.