Europeanist youths’ ‘no’ to spring hunting but ‘yes’ to extended autumn season

JEF: ‘In no way is this referendum opening the gates or setting precedent for rights of minorities to be questioned or made subject to a vote’

Youth federalist organisation JEF has called for a no to the spring hunting derogation, saying that killing turtle doves and quail during their breeding period could not further the sustainability of the species.

“JEF will be voting against the maintenance of the derogation for hunting in spring, for quails and turtle doves. We have taken this position out of sheer belief in the basic European principle of sustainability,” Jake Azzopardi, social policy officer, said.

“Since neither quails nor turtle doves are predator species or agricultural pests, we think that killing them during their breeding period is definitely not a measure that will in any way further the sustainability of these species.”

JEF said that a mixed vote within its executive showed different viewpoints on its stand. It argued that Malta’s EU accession in 2003 included the right to derogate from the EU’s ban on spring hunting, but added that it was “repeated illegal acts which went beyond the very tolerant derogation” and a militant approach adopted by environmentalists that resulted in the referendum to abolish spring hunting on 11 April.

“It must be clear that we are not addressing a right but a pastime; we are not addressing a minority-held territory but one common public environment; and in no way is this referendum opening the gates or setting a precedent for rights of minorities to be questioned or made subject to a vote,” Azzopardi said.

JEF has proposed that if the abrogative referendum is successful, and the derogation is abolished, the government extends the autumn hunting season.

“Hunting in autumn may be accepted as a legitimate pastime for it does not endanger any species in their breeding period. Whatever the decision of the electorate, this should send a signal to the authorities, to raise enforcement, not only in hunting but in a wide array of human activities especially those affecting the natural environment, including fishing, in which sectors we should make sure not to fall behind on the standards and expectations which we have set for ourselves, as members of the European Union.”

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