Ornis suspends meeting after FKNK boss assaults government official

FKNK chief executive Lino Farrugia physically assaults WBRU head Richard Lia over argument on hunting laws

FKNK CEO Lino Farrugia has dismissed the petition as a 'charade'
FKNK CEO Lino Farrugia has dismissed the petition as a 'charade'

The consultative committee on hunting had to suspend its meeting on Wednesday evening, after the CEO of Malta’s hunting lobby Lino Farrugia assaulted the Wild Birds Regulation Unit’s head Richard Lia during an argument.

The meeting was also set to discuss legal changes to Malta’s bird-ringing rules, which Farrugia’s FKNK are seeking so as to include the hunting fraternity as registered bird ringers.

BirdLife Malta, also members of the Ornis Committee, reported the assault in a statement in which it expressed shock at the aggressive attitude and physical attack by Farrugia following an argument with Lia.

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This led to the Ornis chairman having to suspend the meeting.

“While we want to show our solidarity with Mr Lia, we cannot understand how in this day and age we still have the FKNK lobby led by people who would resort to physical abuse to get what they want. This is unacceptable,” BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said.

“We have written to the ministers concerned requesting immediate action and to suspend Lino Farrugia once and for all from the ORNIS Committee.”

Sulatana called for collective support towards Lia and to send a clear message that such actions are not acceptable anymore in society, let alone in government-appointed bodies. “We ask this for the safety and serenity of all the other members of the Committee, including those of BirdLife Malta who deserve to feel safe in such meetings. One can debate arguments in a civil manner but resorting to physical abuse is not to be accepted and needs to be deplored by all.”