Ornis Committee recommends autumn bird trapping season

15 May 2017

Key points about this news item Ornis Committee recommends autumn bird trapping season

Finch trapping has been recommended for this autumn by the Ornis Committee in Malta


Ornis Committee recommends Finch Trapping in autumn

Yet again, the Ornis Committee has recommended that the Finch trapping season should be opened again this autumn, despite opposition from BirdLife Malta and while Malta is being taken to the European Court of Justice over the matter.


BirdLife Malta was outvoted at the committee meeting by the hunters federation - FKNK, three independent members the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and the committee Chairman. With a committee so biased in favour of trapping and also spring hunting, BirdLife Malta does not believe there is any realistic chance of proactive and effective enforcement of the law.


The spring hunting season closed on 14th April, but Maltese hunters continue to shoot birds illegally, seemingly with impunity and in at least one case, aided by a police officer. This spring twenty birds were illegally shot, including Stone Curlew, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe and Honey Buzzards to name just four.



The real worrying fact is that this year has seen the lowest level of enforcement, along with an increase in illegal activity over the past three years and when you look just a little deeper, you can see why.


Police presence in the field has been poor, according to BirdLife Malta and the Wild Birds Regulation Unit just as bad. To compound this, in two cases, police officers involved have themselves been hunters. In one case, a police officer was videoed assisting a hunter in bird spotting during the closed season. In another more high profile case, the police officer that aggressively threatened Chris Packham was a hunter.


Luckily, during the Chris Packham incident, the video camera was recording throughout and as soon as the Magistrate saw the evidence the case was thrown out, criticising the police and suggesting the footage should be sent to “an Italian comedy channel” because the behaviour of the police was so farcical.


Of all the illegal hunting taking place across the Maltese Islands and with all the video and witness evidence, it is sad that only two cases have so far made it to court.


In the face of increasing illegal activity and reduced enforcement, BirdLife Malta and the Campaign Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) is facing an uphill battle. We can only hope that the European Court of Justice comes down very hard and provides a wakeup call to the politicians that are happy to let the situation continue so long as they get the hunters vote.





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