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MEPs calling to end spring hunting of migratory birds in Malta

BRUSSELS, 23 March- Members of the European Parliament from several political groups  have urged the European Commission to open an infringement procedure against Malta for the spring hunt on migratory birds. Dutch Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp has taken the lead in the call for action to save the birds.

A round table discussion on spring hunting in Malta, held at the European Parliament in Brussels, has ended with Dutch Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp calling on the European Commission to open an infringement procedure against Malta to stop the practice of spring hunting. According to Hazekamp, the derogation from the EU Birds Directive, applied by Malta to enable spring hunting of quail, does not meet the required conditions. Hazekamp herself has witnessed several illegal hunting activities during her visit to Malta last year. According to nature organisations such as Bird Life Malta, thousands of migrating and protected birds are killed every year during Malta’s spring hunt.

Along with MEPs Keith Taylor, Klaus Buchner (Greens), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD) and Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL), Hazekamp also announced that she will be calling for a European Parliament plenary debate on spring hunting in Malta in May.

“There is concrete evidence that conditions required in the EU Birds Directive are not being fulfilled. Illegal hunting tools, such as electronic bird callers, are being used on a structural basis, and  lots of protected  birds are being gunned down illegally every hunting season. The enforcement by Maltese authorities is weak or lacking.
Furthermore, this year’s spring hunting  season  for  quail  has  been shifted  to coincide  with the migration of the turtle dove, which increases the risk of this endangered species being gunned down. All this undermines the objectives of the EU Birds Directive. Europe must step in and protect our birds,” says Hazekamp.