Coronavirus: Health Authorities assessing decision to open spring hunting season

'We are analysing and discussing the issue, so we can draw up an assessment of the situation' - Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

The health authorities are assessing whether the spring hunting season should be opened in view of the coronavirus epidemic.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said no decision had yet been taken, when asked to clarify her position on whether the hunting season should be opened in view of the current situation.

“This is an ongoing situation, and as time passes circumstances change. We are analysing and discussing the issue, so we can draw up an assessment of the situation,” Gauci said.

On Tuesday, Cabinet requested an urgent meeting of the Ornis Committee, the consultative committee responsible for recommending whether Malta should derogate from the EU’s ban on spring hunting.

BirdLife, a bird conservation group, voiced its concern, saying any decision to open the hunting season will give hunters the run of the countryside at a time when law enforcement is occupied by the coronavirus crisis.

“Any decision by Prime Minister Robert Abela to consider opening this year’s spring hunting season for one species, the Quail, would be the most irresponsible act ever,” BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said.

“In view of the fact that the police and security forces are stretched and involved in activities related to the Covid-19 crisis, it would not only be impossible for the police to enforce the law, but also a blatant lack of responsibility on the part of the government if the season had to be opened now,” Sultana said.

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