[WATCH] Muscat will not close hunting season as death toll of protected birds grows

Prime Minister says changes to the law rules out his closing of the hunting season unilaterally, as he had done in the past.

One of the shot flamingos downed earlier this week
One of the shot flamingos downed earlier this week

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has condemned the recent shooting of a protected species of flamingo, but stopped short of pledging to close the hunting season, despite no less than 15 protected birds being shot so far this season.

The last season had been closed on Muscat’s orders after a protected bird species came down in a school playground after being shot. When asked if he would be doing the same this time, he said he would not because the law had changed since then.

“Since that incident the law has changed,” Muscat told the press outside the new Valletta offices of Chetcuti Cauchi, a financial services firm. “It is no longer a question of a prime minister deciding to close the hunting season, but the Ornis committee can advise the government to close the season. This advice was not given.”

“I want to say that whilst I am disgusted and condemn in the strongest terms the killing of protected birds, in particular the killing of that flamingo, on the other hand I have seen footage and pictures of protected birds including flamingos flying over rooftops and I am pleased that there have been no incidents in this regard. While we must be very firm with the criminals who did what they did, there are thousands of hunters who are good willing and undoubtedly are observing regulations.”

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