This year, hundreds of birds won’t make it back to their European breeding grounds. Directly along their migration path lays Malta – the only EU country with a hunting season during Spring.
10,500 hunters will congregate in Malta’s countryside from the 12th of April for three weeks of recreational hunting. This means the participants are hunting for fun with no plans to use any part of the carcass. Although it is only legal to hunt two species, over 170 different species use the pathway regularly and thus are in danger from hunters who defy a law which can do very little against them – even when they hunt protected birds. In 2013 known illegal kills included Kestrels, Herons, Ospreys and Barn Sparrows, whose call signals the beginning of summer. Many of the hunters will not seek to retrieve a shot bird or ensure it is dead.
From the 21st of April, Chris Packham will broadcast a video diary of the hunt on YouTube as British stations have refused his request to cover it on multiple occasions. Not suitable for young children or those easily upset, the diary promises to expose the extent of this so called ‘tradition’ and the brutality of the hunters towards their prey. Click here
to find out more from him about this issue.
A glimmer of hope does exist for a safe Maltese journey. Recently, 44,000 Maltese people signed a petition for a public referendum on the matter. If this comes to a vote it may signal an end to the massacre and our wild birds will be free once more. Only a public vote has the chance to stop the hunters as they have too much political sway for an in-government vote to stand a chance.
Until that happens please spread the message and encourage people to watch the video diary. The more voices raised, the more pressure there is on Malta to stop this violence.