Joseph Cuschieri says autumn hunting ban ‘does not make sense’

Former Labour MEP Joseph Cuschieri says ‘unjustified and unacceptable’ collective punishment against law-abiding hunters should stop

Former Labour MEP Joseph Cuschieri has insisted that the government's decision to suspend the autumn hunting season was an
Former Labour MEP Joseph Cuschieri has insisted that the government's decision to suspend the autumn hunting season was an "unfair collective punishment" against law-abiding hunters.

Former Labour MEP Joseph Cuschieri has called on the government to stop its “collective punishment” against law-abiding hunters, claiming that Joseph Muscat’s decision to suspend the autumn hunting season was “unjustified and unacceptable.”

Cuschieri – who in the run-up to the MEP elections in May was officially endorsed by hunters’ lobby FKNK – also stated that the decision does not make sense as it also punishes the law-abiding hunters.

In an opinion piece penned for the Malta Independent on Sunday, Cuschieri took umbrage at the government’s abrupt decision to temporarily close the autumn hunting season until 10 October.

The decision followed the massacre of migratory birds where at least one white stork and four other protected birds were shot dead. The hunting ban angered hunters who took the street of Valletta to voice their protest, insulting the prime minister and hurling insults at the government.

While condemning the hunter’s illegal protest, their foul language, and insults, Cuschieri stated that the hunters’ actions increased prejudice from society at large.

The former head of Labour’s MEP delegation explained that notwithstanding the government’s commitment in protecting birds, the decision was “too harsh" as it resulted into "an unjustified and unacceptable collective punishment" for all law-abiding hunters.

Consequently, Cuschieri argued, the government should retract is decision and stop the hunting ban.

“Punishing those hunters who are abiding by the law does not make any sense ... the incident happened during the ordinary hunting season and not when the season was open by derogation,” he said while complaining that it was unfair for law-abiding hunters to get the short end of the stick as a result of illegal hunting.

“Before deciding to impose such bans on hunting, the government ought to consider placing greater emphasis on enforcement.”

“The government should focus more on preventing the shooting of protected birds rather than reacting to situations where the harm would have already been done,” Cuschieri said. 

Moreover, Cuschieri argued that rather than curtail hunting – which he described as being as a “socio-cultural tradition that needs to be appreciated” -, the government should to consult hunting lobbyists regarding bio diversity, rural diversity, sustainable hunting, the migration of birds ad the re-introduction of birds into the wild.