Spring Hunting in Malta

There’s soon going to be a *another* referendum in my country. This time, we’re going to be asked ‘Do you agree that the provisions of the Framework for allowing a Derogation opening a Spring Hunting season for Turtle Dove and Quail Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 504.94) should continue in force?’ As an avid naturalist and conservationist I’m opposed to the idea of hunting for sport in general. As someone who’s shot a Remington 870,  I’m confused why people even call it a sport – you don’t even need to be a good shot to hit something with a pump-action shotgun.

Take note of what a real sport looks like

I could get all sentimental, ask someone to whip out the violin, and start talking about how animals feel pain or would be tired after migrating all the way from freaking Africa but that’s not what really concerns me. Turtle dove decline has been a real thing since the 70’s1). Stats like those get me edgy because I like my ecosystems stable. At lot of turtle dove habitat, food availability and nesting ground has been replaced by agricultural development. In my books, this is a slightly more necessary evil. (That being said I really look forwards to more sustainable farming and food culture).

Hunting and trapping were described in ‘the management plan for turtle dove’ 2007 –2009 by the European Commission, Directive 79/409/EEC, as an ‘aggravating factor’ of this problem. Hunting is not synonymous with food any more and so not as important either. Side note; the EC bothered to organise a management plan for this problem, so you can’t really stick your head in the ground and say that there isn’t one. So, dear hunters, please stop shooting during the time of year when the birds are trying to reproduce. At the end of the day if you continue at this rate, there’s not going to be much to hunt throughout the rest of the year either! You could also find another hobby, or go hunt some species that is considered a pest, or detrimental to an ecosystem (if you really must).

Here are the emails of the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights and the Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, respectively.

Rick Galdes: roderick.galdes@gov.mt
Leo Brincat: leo.brincat@parlament.mt

Also, here’s some free text you could paste in order to bug them.

“Please represent me by publicly voicing concern over the sustainability of turtle dove hunting in a spring hunting season.”

Also, here’s a link to birdlife’s facebook page – give them a like cos they’re cool. Oh yeah, in case you didn’t realise, I’m voting ‘No’ come April 11th.

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1. Burfield, I & van Bommel, F (2004). Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, ISBN 0-946888-53-1