Stop Being ‘Twits’ and Save some instead!

Stop Being ‘Twits’ and Save some instead!

I’ve omitted expressions, jokes and metaphors (save for the title above) in this week’s blog, to write about an issue which ‘some’ tend to conveniently ignore on our island. It’s something I feel very strongly about and should not be ignored.

Last Saturday “Birdlife Malta” kicked off a new action within their “Stop Illegal Spring Hunting” Campaign, raising awareness about the disgraceful issue which has also resulted in us being taken to court by the EU, because of our country’s alleged infringement of the Birds Directive.

I DO have a problem with people breaking the law and I am in no way amused that due to 4% of the population who have done so since 2004, I together with YOU have to bear the consequence!

Let’s forget about the law breaking scenario for one second though, and lay down some basic facts. It is even more interesting to see WHY spring hunting is illegal in the E.U. As we all know, spring is breeding season, so yeah…that’s right! Birds migrate to a location and multiply. Sounds logical no?

No sooner do these birds swoop over our island, shotguns point to the sky and the flutter of blood stained feathers can be heard in a distance. Killing these birds as soon as they fly over our island is severing any chance of the reproduction of certain species. The Maltese islands lie on one of the main flyways of wild bird migration. This makes Malta one of the few places where people can experience a variety of species.

A total of 384 bird species have been recorded in Malta. Of these, 170 occur regularly during spring and autumn migration periods; including herons, eagles, flamingos, harriers, falcons, ospreys and many more! This gives Malta the potential to attract further more cultured tourists who enjoy birdwatching, which is steadily becoming an added attraction to the thriving tourism industry in the world.

In any argument there are pros and cons. I’m known to be very diplomatic during my interviews and elsewhere, but when I am faced with facts as crystal clear as these above, I have no other choice but to write about such a matter. Wouldn’t it be wiser for hunters to think it through and realise that they ain’t gonna shoot anymore twit when it happens to be legal if they keep killing them before they reproduce? Not even during the autumn season which happens to be legal. Many hunters have argued that during the autumn hunting season, there were not enough Turtle Doves and Quail to hunt. Scientific evidence shows otherwise!

The E.U. Law has also taken into consideration varying aspects and made very controlled and assertive allowances for specific cases. Certain birds can be killed in spring if, for example, they are shown to be causing serious damage to crops, are creating a public health and safety hazard, are affecting airport safety or are causing conservation problems. In these cases, lethal control is warranted, but only under specific licence and only in affected areas. None of these is the case in Malta.

This blog is simply about raising awareness. It is about an issue which has been ignored for too long. Ikarus saw an untimely death because his over confidence urged him to soar towards the sweltering sun. Unfortunately our feathered friends will see the same untimely death, as they frolic in the Spring sun for a very different reason…. Unless these laws be abided!

Please visit BirdLife Malta’s website for more information on the case of spring hunting and the latest action within their Stop Illegal Spring Hunting campaign

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