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Hunters' Dictatorship

ACTION TODAY

from The Malta Independent, December 04, 2001

Hunting down unfavourable material

I would like to reply to a recent letter written around the third press release from The Federation for Hunting and Conservation in Malta.

The article said that The Federation for Hunting and Conservation stated that the anti-hunting material which seems to be distributed by foreign sources, especially by members of the European Union, will certainly influence the vote of local sportsmen at the polls. He also said the federation had already sent several messages to newspapers asking them to refrain from publishing this anti-hunting material.

Along with many thousands of other people around Europe, I spend some time reading the on-line newspapers from various parts of the world. I am interested in all forms of wildlife conservation work. The recent letters published in your newspaper about the plight of wild birds in Malta are typical of many articles published in many other countries where legislation for the protection of wild and domestic animals either does not exist or the rule of law is flouted.

There are two points that I would like to make. Wildlife in the form of migrant birds passing through Malta is a resource shared by many other countries in Europe. I spend time and money improving the habitat and trying to increase the bird numbers that have for some species fallen to the point where their continued existence is threatened. What I and many others conservationists would like to see is for the government in Malta to give additional protection to this shared resource.

My second point is that I find it disturbing that a group such as The Federation for Hunting and Conservation want to silence anyone who they perceive as being in opposition to their aims. When Mr Farrugia said the federation had already sent several messages to newspapers asking them to refrain from publishing this anti-hunting material, he was starting a dangerous precedent in asking them not to publish.

A precedent against the independence and freedom of speech of the people and press in Malta. What I find most distasteful is the veiled threat from Mr Farrugia against the politicians in Malta who will be making the much-needed legislation changes.

The Federation for Hunting and Conservation said that "the anti-hunting material which seems to be distributed by foreign sources, especially by members of the European Union, will certainly influence the vote of local sportsmen at the polls." I am sure that the politicians in Malta will see the motives of Mr Farrugia and The Federation for Hunting and Conservation for what they are.

Maybe Mr Farrugia, it is time for a name change to The Federation for Hunting, leaving out the Conservation part.

Michael Fitzgibbons


Barnsley, England

HUNTERS' CALL FOR REPRESSION OF OPINION "A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT"

Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001