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Malta: "Much evidence of abuse"

The European Parliament Petitions Committee debate spring hunting on Malta

Brussels: An important victory of bird protection has been registered in the campaign against the unspeakable spring hunt and finch trapping on Malta. In its meeting on 20 June 2006 the European Parliament Petitions Committee comprehensively debated the petition handed over by the German Committee against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and the Royal Belgian Society for the Protection of Birds against the exceptions (derogations) for Maltese hunting practice permitted by the European Union. The Committee chair, Martin Libicki, visited Malta himself in May to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation. Here are some excerpts from his report "Draft report on the fact-finding visit to Malta":

"The migrant birds shot by hunters on the Maltese islands in spring are individuals which will never reach their original breeding territory in other European countries. The shooting of provisionally huntable species reaches such a huge extent that, in view of the losses of protected species, especially raptors, gives serious cause for concern. The exceptions granted should not be extended. There is too much concrete evidence of abuse." As far as the trapping of finches with clap nets is concerned, Mr. Libicki fears that is it impossible to guarantee that "protected species are always freed from the nets". The report goes on to state: "Reports on the numbers and species sold on the bird market in Valetta, as well as the amount of traps found by the delegation, confirm that the current derogation should not be extended."Although the publication of the report will not have any immediate consequences for Malta, CABS is confident that "we have managed to wake up the Petitions Committee and alert them to the problems on Malta", states a satisfied project leader Axel Hirschfeld. The conservationists now want to ensure, with all means at their disposal, that the European Commission passes a corresponding resolution. If the Maltese Government still permits finch trapping and spring hunting after 2008, the EU is entitled to take proceedings against the island state for ignoring the Bird Protection Guidelines.

David Conlin, Proact
On behalf of the Committee against Bird Slaughter http://www.komitee.de

4th July 2014