Fred Flintstone dons his animal skin coat, pecks Wilma on the cheek, and picking up his spear trots off to kill supper. In the evening, Fred drags supper back to the cave for Wilma to cook.

Back then, that was the only way he could feed his family since agriculture hadn’t been invented.

Fast forward to the 21st century and agriculture has been around for thousands of years.

We have evolved a system whereby we can go to a shop and trade. Fred doesn’t need to go out and hunt for food anymore; he buys it at the supermarket. So why does he hunt? Maybe he enjoys it?

Life is a funny thing. It seems that it evolved on earth some 3.5 billion years ago and we still don’t know how this happened. We still cannot create life.

Hunting, on the contrary, kills life. Hunting kills something that is rare and precious and that can’t be right.

The argument that since hunting in Malta is traditional it becomes a socio-cultural right is an overworked mantra.

A tradition is just a group of related ideas that have lasted for a long time and just because traditions may contain valuable knowledge doesn’t mean they are always right.

Hunting kills something that is rare and precious and that can’t be right

Why should entrenched cultural traditions, however humanly significant, so easily lead to extreme moral blindness?

Hunting for pleasure is morally wrong and should be consigned to history’s scrapheap.

If, like Fred, you need to hunt to survive then you would have some excuse for killing.

But nowadays if you are a carnivore you don’t even need to kill.

You can leave the killing to others and buy your dead animals neatly packed and refrigerated.

So why hunt if you don’t need to? It’s a disturbing thought but people who hunt do it because they actually enjoy it.

Maybe they hunt because the act of asserting one’s power over another creature’s life is some subconscious urge to bolster one’s insecurities.

Perhaps these wannabe Rambos in their camouflaged fatigues and FWDs are just stating that they are rough, tough alpha males wielding dangerous weapons.

Hunting in springtime is even more cruel and barbaric.

Every year, thousands of infant birds are not born because their parents have been slaughtered for pleasure while the bird population decreases because dead birds don’t reproduce.

It is not only cruel and barbaric; it is also illegal in the EU.

The law is clear: turtle dove and quail cannot be hunted in spring because, in Europe, the two species are in ‘unfavourable conservation status’. This conservation status prohibits derogations.

In 2009, the European Commission found Malta guilty of contravening the Birds’ Directive and in 2010 re-opened a new infringement procedure.

Malta runs the huge risk that if again found to be non-compliant, it would face another court case that could land it huge administrative expense and fines that will cost the taxpayer dearly.

Successive administrations have cynically sidestepped EU legislation to pander to the powerful hunting lobby.

Shockingly, hunting hours have recently been increased to satisfy the urges of these bloodthirsty voters and these measures are tragically beginning to bear fruit with the slaughter of protected birds in increasing numbers.

So, from now on, every time you hear a gunshot at sunrise think, ‘somebody is getting a buzz out of killing a bird’.

Fred Flintstone did it for food. Today he does it for fun.

Fortunately, more than 30,000 people believe that spring hunting should stop and have already signed the petition for a referendum to abolish it.

The referendum to give life a chance is a few thousand signatures away. Petition forms are available from cashmalta2013@gmail.com or phone 2122 5952.

George Camilleri is secretary general of Din l-Art ń¶elwa.

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