Press Release 12 May 2009

BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien Ghall-Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Gaia Foundation and Nature Trust Malta today called on all the MEP candidates from all political parties to refrain from making promises to the hunting lobby on the issue of spring hunting and trapping which they cannot keep after the European Parliament elections in June.

The NGOs reminded the MEP candidates that the EU Birds Directive strictly forbids spring hunting in all member states and drew attention to the European Commission’s statement of March 2009 regarding the EU guide to the sustainable hunting of wild birds.

In its statement the Commission said: “Although there is a general ban on the killing of wild birds, certain species can be hunted outside breeding and prenuptial (or spring) migration periods. These closed periods are critical and allow wild birds to renew their numbers.”

The NGOs said that they expected all the candidates who wish to represent Malta at the European Parliament to respect the EU nature conservation directives. They reminded the MEP candidates that the overwhelming majority in Malta is against spring hunting and the Maltese people expected their representatives in Brussels to work towards the protection of Europe’s common natural heritage.

Malta did not negotiate an exemption for spring hunting during the Accession Treaty negotiations as clearly explained by the Environment Commission Stavros Dimas on several occasions. The only agreement Malta negotiated was the five year transition period to phase out the trapping of seven finch species until the end of 2008, a deadline which has now passed.

By making ludicrous statements in favour of spring hunting of Turtle Dove and Quail, when Malta is at the European Court of Justice for allowing this very practice, certain politicians in Malta are still relying on the same old cheap tactics to gain a few votes. Instead we expect them to lead by example by respecting international law and conservation science concluded the NGOs.