We have received a response from Commissioner Verheugen concerning our campaign against the exceptions granted
to Malta for spring hunting in the EU accession negotiations. Please see
for the original letter. We have replied to Mr. Verheugen (his letter and our response at
but wish to enlist your personal support as an MEP for further clarification of the matter; and an assurance
of positive action to ensure that, in future, Malta complies in full with the relevant EU legislation.
The fact that trapping and caging of finches on Malta will continue over the next seven years is a sad reflection
on the modern social ethic and respect for nature which the European Union, and its parliament, represent. The continuing
perversion of breeding captive strains of naturally occurring species to the same end is unacceptable. It is inconceivable
that such practices, with EU concurrence, should be encouraged after 2011. Please help in revising the EU's position on this
Commissioner Verheugen has also stated that the derogation for spring hunting of turtle doves and quail is
subject to "strict conditions". These species are on the Red List in several European countries; why exactly should Malta
be granted a derogation? Just because they ask for one? And what are the strict conditions? What concession is Malta obliged
to give for such a derogation?
Mr Verheugen also assured us that the Commission will avail itself of all the means at its disposal in order
to monitor closely Malta's respect of its commitments in this area. We are very sceptical about this assurance for the following
Up to now, the Maltese government has proved incapable of monitoring its own hunting population. Visiting
tourists and conservationists have witnessed this slaughter at first hand regularly. The hunters go about their bloody business
openly, even arrogantly; and are abusive and threatening to those they perceive as opponents. They massacre, twice a year,
large numbers of protected bird species, across the whole countryside as well as in the few nature reserves. How does the
EU plan to combat the apathy of the local government and their patent lack of control resources? As active European environmentalists,
who have followed events on Malta over many years, we do not believe that the Maltese hunters will stop slaughtering migrating
birds just because Malta is in the EU. Nor do we believe that the Maltese government alone has either the will or resources
to ensure that this barbaric and illegal spectacle becomes a thing of the past.. Skilled, independent and dedicated individuals
could help to redress this balance. There should be no problem in finding quqlified and willing volunteers.
We had hoped, that by banning ALL hunting during spring migration, the EU would send a strong signal to Malta
and other European states. Instead, we fear that exactly the opposite will occur and that other current and prospective member
states will seek similar exceptions. This will inevitably lead to the watering down of the EU Bird and Habitat Directives.
Terms that are often bandied about in EU committee circles such as 'small numbers' and 'sustainable exploitation' are disingenuous,
dangerous and a capitulation to the strident hunting minority.
The state of our European environment, with its dwindling natural resources, cannot tolerate any further inroads.
Hunting for sustenance or livelihood in our climes and society has long been a thing of the past. Hunting for sport or pleasure
does not fit in with today's modern global ethic and is potentially disastrous for the survival of our planet as other than
a cultivated or industrialised desert.
We hope that you, as a - hopefully - environmentally sensitive MEP, show a more positive reaction to
our concerns for the conservation of the European environmental heritage: for all European citizens - and for our descendants.
[Name and address]