Referendum on Hunting?
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From The Malta Independent June 27, 2001

Referendum about hunting and trapping in Malta and Gozo?

"You and your like should be considered personae non gratae in Malta and Gozo" wrote Mr C. L. Farrugia, secretary of the Federation for Hunting and Conservation, in his letter to The Malta Independent on 22 June.

Recommending the expulsion of fellow Maltese with a different opinion shows a lack of democratic spirit on the Hunters' Federation's part.

But history has shown what happens to groups that try to suppress truth and progress, and discredit those with opposing viewpoints with slander and half-truths. These groups do not survive forever. To use personal attacks and the strategy to paint opponents as "anti Maltese" instead of reasonable arguments is a battle of retreat, and it is the only defence the Hunters' Federation has.

Indeed the FKNK has no other excuse for their hunting than to call it euphemistically "the traditional local sport". "Traditions" are not necessarily a good and eternal thing. Or should we still worship the goddesses of our prehistoric temples because it was once the tradition on our islands?

To declare my efforts against hunting and trapping birds in Malta as "anti-hunting eccentricity" is out of step with the modern world. Ninety-nine per cent of Europeans do not agree with keeping wild birds in total darkness for months, tethering birds by their legs or chests as a lure to trap other birds or shooting at everything that flies. The huge majority of Europeans consider this treatment of living beings as cruel and selfish.

But thousands of these Europeans can be attracted to Malta to watch birds migrate across the Mediterranean. Valuable, high quality tourism, especially when it is not the high season and when most hotels and flats are empty, can be achieved if there are birds to watch. Unfortunately, many tourists have encountered the hunters and feel threatened by their behaviour.

Because the Hunters' Federation is not willing to face its bad impact on tourism. They want to have us believe that I, who am fighting for the birds as well as for the establishment of sustainable tourism, am a law-breaker "in public and also in the presence of police officials".

Yes, it was I who got arrested after the TV talk show on Xarabank last year because of displaying a protected bird of prey, which I found shot by the "law-abiding Maltese and Gozitan hunters". But this part of the story, like others, was not mentioned in the actual letter by the secretary of the Hunters' Federation.

But their half-truths, lies, misquoting, insults and euphemisms won't be able to stop the anti-hunting actions for the sake of the birds and the boom in our tourism!

Let us be fair and let us go ahead in the already started discussion about a referendum for a two-year moratorium in which there will be no form of hunting and trapping, followed by a referendum to decide about the future of hunting and trapping.

Now that is democracy!

David Camilleri
New York City, USA


Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001