‘If you meet a hunter, he’s bound to offer you a cup of coffee’ – Lino Farrugia

Hunters' lobby CEO: “The only hunting for the Maltese is spring hunting.”

Lino Farrugia
Lino Farrugia

The IVA movement has described hunting in Malta as being “necessary, unlike in other countries.”

The pro hunting campaign today met at the Xaqqa cliffs in Siggiewi, where youths from the IVA movement said that people had to be allowed to enjoy the countryside, irrespectively of the result of the 11 April referendum.

Malta will go to the polls to decide whether the government should keep derogating from the ban on spring hunting enshrined in the EU’s Birds Directive.

In comments to MaltaToday, Lino Farrugia claimed that both non-hunters and hunters could enjoy the countryside together. “If some hiker approaches a hunter in the countryside, he’ll probably end up being offered a cup of coffee,” the FKNK chief executive said in a bid to illustrate hunters’ ‘tolerance’.

“The only hunting for the Maltese is spring hunting. If you don’t have a passion for hunting you can’t understand it, but all we are talking about here are 20 afternoons in spring.”

Farrugia’s claims of tolerance jar with past episodes during which hunters assaulted bird monitors during the spring season, something that anti-spring hunting camp has been keen to highlight in its campaign.

Maltese hunters can hunt for five months in the autumn, but a European Court of Justice ruling upheld the concept that the migration during that season could not serve as an alternative to spring hunting, which led the government to establish quotas for both Spring and Autumn hunting seasons and daily limits on hunters’ catches. “The 16,000 quota was never reached,” Farrugia said.

“I assure you that it is sustainable, if it wasn’t, Europe would have stopped us.”

When asked whether the quotas were being under-declared, Farrugia said that “the best available data… was better than people’s imagination.”

Youths from the pro-spring hunting movement, IVA also said during the press conference that irrespective of the referendum result people must be allowed to enjoy the countryside.

Addressing a press conference at Xaqqa cliffs, near Siggiewi, the IVA campaign presented “ten reasons for youths to vote in favour of retaining the derogation allowing hunting in Spring.”

The IVA movement also announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Malta climbing association, addressing past issues about access to climbing areas on or through private land. Jeffrey Camilleri, on behalf of the association, said that any confrontation with hunters was because of “individual views”.