Spring hunting expected to go ahead

Several ministers were left ‘uneasy’ with the decision, feeling it could have been avoided 

Updated at 5:00 pm with BirdLife CEO reaction 

The opening of the spring hunting season has been unanimously approved by government. 

The season will be open from the 10th to the 30th April, despite concerns on lack of enforcement due to the lack of police resources and coronavirus outbreak. 

Cabinet members who spoke to MaltaToday on the condition of anonymity said that several ministers were left uneasy with the decision, with some feeling that the decision could have been avoided. 

It is not yet clear if hunters over the age of 65 years of age will be allowed to go hunting. 

The season coincides with the passing of turtle dove and other protected species. 

The hunting of quail is carried out by having hunters walking with their dogs in fields in an effort to scare the birds out of hiding from underlying bushes. 

Hunters than proceed to shoot the quail as it tries to escape.

On the other hand, the hunting of turtle dove will not be allowed, with species numbers dwindling by almost 80% in ten years. 

‘A spineless Prime Minister’ - BirdLife CEO 

BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana called the decision as “surreal”. 

He said that while Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci called on people to remain home unless necessary, the Prime Minister tried to justify his decision by stating that people can go out while respecting social distancing. 

“This decision clearly shows that we have a spineless Prime Minister,” Sultana insisted. 

A reaction by BirdLife will be issued once the official decision is announced. 

Green party reacts 

Alternattiva Demokratika called the government’s decision to open the spring hunting season as “irresponsible”. 

“All the good measures taken to control the coronavirus pandemic in Malta are now being undermined by the Government itself. Police, usually about forty police officers, will now have to monitor hunters instead of doing vital public health duties such as monitoring those who are in quarantine." AD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said. 

Cacopardo also said that the government chose to “insult” the rest of the population by opening the season for the “favoured few”. 

“Does Government now expect people to submit to the directives issued by the health authorities? Goodwill has been betrayed."

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