Hunters seek urgent meeting with Police following criminal complaint

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Federation for Hunting and Conservation – Malta (FKNK) has requested an urgent meeting with the Acting Police Commissioner after BirdLife Malta filed a criminal complaint over what it claimed the illegally issued hunting licenses. The hunters’ federation pointed out that over 6,000 such special licenses were granted to individuals in order to be able to hunt quails after the spring hunting season was officially opened by the government.

In a statement on Wednesday, the FKNK noted that the hunting licenses were issue according to law by the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU). The federation said it could not understand Birdlife’s attitude or why the NGO was claiming that the licenses were illegal.

BirdLife Malta had earlier on filed a judicial protest after then newly appointed Prime Minister Robert Abela placed the WBRU under the Ministry for Gozo headed by Minister Clint Camilleri an avid hunter himself. The NGO said that it felt the need to file a criminal complaint since under Maltese environmental law it was the Ministry of the Environment that is responsible for the issuing of hunting licenses.

The federation said that while it requested an urgent meeting to present its position against the allegations made in BirdLife’s baseless report to safeguard the interests of the hunters.

The federation said that while BirdLife had come out against the opening of the season citing that there would be undue pressure on the police force to ensure that hunters were abiding by the regulations, it had now requested the police to investigate around 6,000 individuals.

The hunters’ lobby said that these 6,000 individuals may be arraigned in court and prosecuted and face a fine of €10,000 and/or two years imprisonment in addition to the suspension or revocation of one’s hunting licence.

The federation said that it would cooperate fully with the police but was reserving the right to take all necessary steps according to law, including to take action, if needed against Birdlife, Daryl Grima and Mark Sultana personally and in their position at Birdlife, for slander as a result of their unfounded allegations which, in its opinion, were only aimed at abolishing hunting.

“Vile criminal complaint”

Kaċċaturi San Ubertu KSU said that according to the legal advice it had received on the “vile” criminal complaint on spring hunting licenses, this is pointing to baseless allegations that were also deceitful and a waste of precious time for the law enforcement authorities.

KSU cited legal notice 140 of 2020 which states that the Environment Minister in conjunction with the Minister for Gozo after consultation with the Environment and Resources Authority has issued all spring hunting licenses according to the relevant legal notice.

The KSU described BirdLife Malta’s statements as “lies” and said that it was “more hatred towards hunters”. It remarked that it was another “vile and arrogant” attempt to stop hunting.

KSU called upon the authorities to take action against such extremism which, it said, only served to tarnish Malta’s reputation, create more animosity and attempts to obstruct the legal activities of a substantial sector of Maltese citizens.