Nationalists will not abolish spring hunting

PN denounces hunting lobby’s allegations as ‘false’

Photo: Neil Carden
Photo: Neil Carden

The Nationalist Party has denied "false" allegations by hunters' lobby FKNK that the party wanted to abolish hunting and trapping in a referendum on spring hunting.

FKNK secretary-general Lino Farrugia yesterday gave the most public of indications that the hunting lobby will be pushing for a Labour vote, in a statement accusing Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi of favouring a referendum to abolish spring hunting.

"The PN is in favour of sustainable hunting and trapping within the parameters of law, and we deny the false allegation that we want to abolish hunting in a referendum.

"The Prime Minister said he respects Maltese laws on referenda which allows a minimum of 10% of eligible voters to ask that an abrogative referendum be held. This is a state of fact, whoever is prime minister, unless someone in government changes the law and removes this right," the PN said.

"The facts speak clearly: this government safeguarded the tradition of spring hunting by defending its derogation from the Birds Directive in the European Court of Justice."

Although there is no plan for a referendum on spring hunting in the PN's electoral programme, Lawrence Gonzi's honest reply to whether he would hold such a referendum when asked by Times editor Herman Grech on Tuesday, has riled the hunters' lobby FKNK and the St Hubert Hunters who claim the prime minister wants to abolish spring hunting.

"By not objecting to that possibility, Gonzi is contradicting the signed guarantees Eddie Fenech Adami, Simon Busuttil as head of the Malta-EU Information Centre, and other PN exponents gave to hunters," spokesperson Mark Mifsud Bonnici said, referring to the quick-fire 'yes or no' questions made to both party leaders during the Times debate. Joseph Muscat replied no to a referendum on spring hunting.

Under the EU's Birds Directive, spring hunting is banned but Malta has derogated from this law every year since accession in 2004.

"In just one word, Gonzi unambiguously showed he would abolish hunting and trapping because he was ready to hold a referendum to kill spring hunting," the FKNK said in another statement.

"This statement has shattered Lawrence Gonzi's mask and goes against all democratic norms and breaches the right of any minority from defending its legal rights," secretary-general Lino Farrugia said.

Farrugia claimed Gonzi's 'declaration' suggested this was the first drastic step to "deny hunters the right given unto them by the ECJ to derogate from EU law... an absolute denial to the rights of 10,000 hunters and trappers, themselves EU citizens."

Farrugia dubbed the prime minister's simple 'yes' to a question on whether he would allow a referendum as "an attack on hunters" that had been part of "the PN's policy's unilateral declaration" of what it will do once in government.

This is interesting,think about it.............. The Gozo police constable that was cought illegal hunting wearing balaclava on 26 April 2009 and later was found guilty,he is back on the job. Now this is my question...... How can I go and report illegal birds killing to this strange policeman. I need an answer please.
ohh..gonzi says on the debate of times of malta that he might held a why they are playing with this role ..they are affraid from votes ?? again they are going to trapped the hunters from their passion ...shame on you gonzi ..clinch to power
The PN is going round in circles everybody heard GonziPN direct reply on TV! We haven't forgotten the letters/guarantees/promises ect sent to the homes of hunters/trappers/dockyard workors/fishermen/AirMalta employees/Sea Malta/farmers(the famous salvagwardja clause) ect! Time to go !
Dear Gonzi, Tkomplix tigdeb!!! Ilek tigdeb u twieghed!!! Dhaqt bil-kaccaturi u n-nassaba bizejjed. Ieqaf Nitolbuk!!!
Dhakt bijja ghall darba u darbtejn, it-tielet darba nidhak bik jien