Hunters' association Kaccaturi San Ubertu (KSU) accused Alternattiva Demokratika of making "dishonest" claims by saying that spring hunting was illegal according to EU law.
"It is a travesty of the truth directed at enticing anti-hunter voters from the two major political parties. Alternattiva Demokratika is being downright dishonest to the electorate in order to gain political advantage," spokesperson Mark Mifsud Bonnici said.
The Birds Directive allows a derogation from the ban on spring hunting where there is "no other satisfactory solution" to other hunting seasons.
The KSU said that this is an overarching condition for all derogations as laid out in the September 2009 judgment of the European Court of Justice that justified the application of a Maltese spring hunting derogation.
Mifsud Bonnici said other countries have limited catch allowances, such as Austria, Finland, Latvia, and the UK. "The data [OPENS PDF] flatly contradicts the false claims of Alternattiva Demokratika, and can be verified on the last published derogation report for all EU member states. This data pertains to 2008 and was published in 2011.
"All these derogations are being monitored by the European Commission and corrective or punitive action taken should the relative parameters of the Birds Directive be breached. Following the application of three successive spring hunting derogations after the 2009 Court case, the Commission has not acted against Malta and considers that in principle the new legislation appears to comply with the requirements of the ECJ judgment."