Sielmann Attack
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From The Malta Independent October 29, 2001


FKNK slams EU member state's interference

A German businessman's (sic) intention to set up a bird protection camp in Malta has provoked a strong reaction from the Federation of Hunting and Conservation Malta (FKNK).

The hunters' lobby group warned the government that "hypocritical and deceitful interference" from an EU member state will "certainly not go down well with the thousands of local hunters and trappers".

It was recently reported that a Prof. Hans Sielmann, through his German foundation Heinz Sielmann Stiftung, intends collecting funds from German households to help finance a project to set up a bird protection camp in Malta.

The federation accused Prof. Sielmann of using lies and misinformation against unsuspecting people to fund this project, which it claims is an "anti-hunting plot".

FKNK secretary Lino Farrugia condemned Prof. Sielmann's use of emotionally-charged words such as 'barbaric', 'brutal behaviour', 'shocking', 'detestable', 'misery' and 'cruel activity' in his commercial efforts, saying that "one could much better adapt such adjectives and worse to describe much more serious events such as wars!"

He added: "The professor even reverts to lies, obviously believing that this would attract more money for his foundation. He speaks of heaps of spent cartridges, maimed decoy birds, netted birds which die agonisingly and he uses a poster depicting a robin squashed by means of a leg trap! We are sure German citizens would not fork out money for this cause, since they would certainly not believe nor accept such insults directed at their intelligence by a co-national."

"FKNK assures the professor that what is the norm in his back yard is in fact non-existent in other countries the greater majority of local sportsmen have only seen such traps, used for the capture of mammals, in photographs or on television."

The federation secretary said FKNK's warning to the government and to "certain local media sources who persist in reporting such atrocities" was "in no way to be interpreted as a threat but only as a matter of fact when one is faced, time after time, with pseudo anti-hunting lobbyists who are prepared to use outright lies and conjectures to rob the innocent of their monies under false pretences."

One aim of the project, to "instruct local policemen with regard to the performance of their duties" was also ridiculed by FKNK, who remarked: "As if these are some sort of boy scout unit!"

The hunters' lobby attacked the professor, claiming that although he may be running a business venture, he is certainly no 'professor' in ornithology and knows very little about bird migration patterns and trends. "He calls all birds flying over the Maltese Islands which breed in Germany his German birds. Birds have no nationality, and just as much as being his birds they are our birds, besides the fact that very few of the birds which turn up in Malta in autumn or return to Germany in spring, are one and the same bird. The north-western and return migration route of birds which visit our islands has been proved scientifically over and over again," explained the FKNK secretary.

The professor's continuous use of "illegal hunting and hunters" was also criticised by the federation. "Just as much as the FKNK is all in favour of curbing any activity carried out in the name of the traditional sports, and this with facts, the federation is able to detect deja vu anti-hunting plots through foreign interference."

In conclusion, the FKNK warned Prof. Sielmann "and any local aiding and inviting such activities to Malta" that although a similar camp in Calabria proved to be a huge success, his introduction to his cause in Malta "has already invited the unequivocal disgust and mistrust of not only the hunting fraternity but also of all those independent citizens who have a minimal basic knowledge of nature conservation and the local fauna."


Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001