Lino's Birds
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from The Malta Independent, December 07, 2001

Shooting within the law

May I respond to Lino C. Farrugia's (FKNK secretary) comments about his hunting experiences in Great Britain (TMID, 28 November).

Firstly, we do not have migratory game birds in Britain, our game birds - grouse (two species), partridge (two species) and pheasant - are not migratory. We do have quarry species such as some duck and geese species, woodcock, snipe, etc - all of which have strictly controlled seasons (which are almost completely observed by UK hunters).

Hunters in Britain generally shoot within the law, apart from a few gamekeepers and visiting European hunters who are notorious within British hunting for shooting birds illegally. I am sure that Lino would not fall into this category, although I would be interested to know what migratory game species he shot on his visit to Britain.

Secondly, I would dispute Linos figure of one million hunters in Britain (in 1996 there were 723,000 legally held shotguns in the UK); even if this were the case, most shooters in Britain only shoot pest species, such as crows or rabbits, or abundant species such as woodpigeon.

There are very few 'sport' shooters. Compare this situation to Malta, were illegal shooting of migratory birds is widespread. I personally saw many protected species shot during my visit to Malta, most of which were migratory birds of prey.

Lino stated: "I have personally shot more heads of migratory game birds in a week in the UK, than I have shot in 30 years in Malta." Is this because migratory game birds are rarely shot in Malta and instead the Maltese prefer to shoot herons, eagles, buzzards, harriers, bee-eaters and swallows?

I sincerely hope that the Maltese people vote to join the EU, which would see hunting laws on Malta strengthened and, hopefully, rigorously enforced by a well-resourced police force. I wait for the day when migratory birds can fly safely over Malta and many birds that have been hunted to extinction on the island can return to breed.

Iain Robson

Northumberland, England



Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001