Hunters call for intervention of European Court of Justice
Hunters' associations are calling on the European Court of Justice to intervene for their "right to a fair and equitable spring-hunting alternative to be upheld".
Short of this intervention, they said, they would take "any action necessary" to oppose any form of limitation going against the spirit of the Court's September ruling.
In a declaration, the Federation for Hunting & Conservation, Kaċċaturi San Umbertu, the Għaqda Dilettanti Senter u Gabbjun and the Moviment Kaċċaturi Nassaba Ambjentalisti said the September verdict allowed a derogation for spring hunting for all of Malta's hunters and trappers.
But the European Commission's objection to the already highly restricted three-week derogatory period proposed by the Maltese government on the advice of its experts, made it impossible for all Maltese hunters and trappers to attain the satisfactory alternative justified by the ECJ, the groups said.
The Commission, they said, had a responsibility to set aside its own assumptions and take action only after it received the government's report for the period under derogation.
"Why is the Commission, therefore, granting Malta only four weeks from the end of the derogated period to submit a report, instead of the normal autumn deadline of the succeeding year?," the pro-hunting lobby asked.
In their statement, the groups said Maltese hunters were being discriminated against, since the European Commission did not scrutinise the 4,000-odd derogations applied annually by the other member states. It questioned why was it discriminating against Malta and whether it could specify the methods it was using to "monitor things on the ground" as it was reported to be doing.