Birgu council abandons pigeon cull after government intervention

Birgu's pigeons get to live another day as government convinces local council to abandon planned cull 

The planned pigeon cull in the streets of Birgu has been abandoned
The planned pigeon cull in the streets of Birgu has been abandoned

The Birgu local council has abandoned a controversial pigeon cull that had been scheduled for tomorrow, after the government pledged to help them address the pigeon problem.

Parliamentary secretary for animal rights Clint Camilleri and his counterpart for local councils Silvio Parnis met up with the Birgu local council today, during which they decided to study alternative possibilities of controlling pigeon populations.

“We understood that the pigeon situation is inconveniencing residents and we therefore pledged to directly help the Birgu local council, as well as other local councils facing similar situations, with the aim of striking a just balance,” the two parliamentary secretaries said in a joint statement.

BirdLife Malta commended the agreement reached between the government and local council and applauded the “high level of consciousness” shown by the general public towards animal welfare in this sensitive issue.

The Birgu council had insisted that the planned cull was necessary to control the town’s pigeon populations and therefore tackle the problem of bird excrement. It was the latest in a recent string of pigeon culls organised by local councils – following in the footsteps of those in Balzan, Sliema, St Julians and Bormla.

However, the news sparked outrage amongst animal lovers, some of which decided to protest against the cull and send the footage of men shooting pigeons in the street to foreign media outlets.

BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana told MaltaToday on Tuesday that the pigeon cull coud be falling foul of EU law, meaning that the government could be obliged to seek a derogation to maintain the practice.

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