Mark, cut and paste from here
RESPECT THE EUROPEAN BIRD DIRECTIVES - DON'T GO IT ALONE ITALY!
Dear Prime Minister Berlusconi,
Dear Parliamentary Party Groups,
Is this incredible report true?
For years millions of European citizens have campaigned and voted for the minimum necessary protection afforded to our resident and migratory bird species by the EU Bird Directives. We are appalled to learn that draft laws lie before the Italian Parliament which would permit regional authorities to circumvent EU legislation and render it worthless. This is a despicable and underhand use of the federal system to promote the barbaric wishes of a dwindling minority of hunters (the numbers of licensed hunters in Italy are only half of what they were 10 years ago) and a slap in the face for the millions of Italian and European voters who critically oppose this unnecessary slaughter.
Has it not yet penetrated the consciousness of Italian parliamentarians and legislators that the vast majority of European citizens regard the slaughter of small birds in the name of sport as a sign of lack of culture, and as an innate and frightening streak of cruelty in those few who still take part in these primitive practices? A sad label for a country otherwise so rich in the arts and sciences over the centuries!
The shooting of bird species for 'entertainment', many of them rare or from threatened populations, is a blatant but avoidable rape of our common natural resources and heritage. Resources which are gradually dwindling and which can never be completely replaced. Those who murder birds and other wildlife today are depriving subsequent generations their descendants of much of the variety of our natural world. Yes, on a planetary basis, nothing less than murder, theft and disinheritance. And the politicians who pass such legislation are their accomplices and henchmen.
It is unthinkable that the populations of wild species, which constitute an international heritage and are presently safeguarded at Community level, should be left to the tender mercy of regional politicians, many of them anxious to placate or curry favour with the small but vociferous minority which they mistakenly regard as representative of the community. Some democracy! You know full well that when the control of hunting is delegated from national level, that permits will not be restricted to the temporary 'management' of vermin; open warfare on European avifauna will once again be on the agenda.
We urge you to resist such a backward step, and to use all your influence to uphold the wishes of the majority of citizens; not only in Italy but also in the rest of the European Community, which has an equal right to protection of our common natural resources.
We remain, hopeful of your support and with eyes are ears focused on developments in this matter,
[Name and address]
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