The Malta Independent
You will be aware of the increasing international interest in the regular bloody flaunting of nature protection laws on the islands of Malta.
The schocking bi-annual scenes of dead and injured migrating birds have, thanks to modern means of communication, been widely publicised in Europe and beyond. Quite apart from the effect this will undoubtedly have on income from tourism, the impression is gained that the responsible authorities, out of disinterest or through lack of the proper resources, are unwilling and unable to seriously tackle the problem.
As a candidate for European Union membership, Malta is, or will be obliged to meet the of the EU directives on protection of migratory birds and their habitats. The latest annual report of the EU Delegation to Malta shows that their has been little or no progress in this direction. This is disappointing, especially as the EU provides financial and consultative support in the environmental field for prospective members.
As a country whose income is greatly dependent on tourism, it is surprising that the responsible authorities appear not to have recognised the worldwide trend to Ecotourism. As this inevitably increases, and the level of environmental sensibility among the visitors to the islands grows, the abhorrent spectacles of dying, wounded or caged birds will become even less acceptable than they are at present. A complete and immediate stop to such outdated and barbaric practices is in Malta's own economic interests, as well as to its image in Europe and the rest of the world.
We, the undersigned, as amateur and professional birdwatchers and ornithologists, can no longer sit back and let this state of affairs continue. In support of the sensible people of Malta, its natural treasures and resources and the birds of passage which migrate over your islands, we have decided to send letters and mails of protest to decision-makers and opinion-formers in Malta. These include:
The President of Malta: The Prime Minister: The Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Minister for Home Affairs: The Minister for Tourism: The Commissioner of Police: The Director of the Environmental Protection Department: The Chairman of the Malta Tourist Authority: Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Malta and the Ambassadors of EU States represented on the island.
Copies of these letters may be seen on the website at
< http://proaction.tripod.com/malta/ >
Far from wishing to isolate Malta, which would be counter-productive, we will actively encourage fellow-birders to visit Malta - during the annual Spring and Autumn migration. Perhaps such a presence will help to bring home to the authorities and hunters alike that an active rejection of the current state of affairs is spreading.
Your newspaper has been recommended to us as for it's critical reporting and as an important opinion-former onn the islands. We hope that you will find room publish our concerns; and thereby add weight to the arguments against these environmental malpractices which are against the interests of all Europeans of this and of coming generations.
and concerned Eurobirders, ornithologists and others, representing the following countries:
Austria, Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Wales
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THE MALTA INDEPENDENT
Proact/Birding in Europe © David Conlin 2001