Maltese MEP condemns 'barbaric' pigeon cull

MEP Marlene Mizzi condemns Vittoriosa pigeon cull as 'barbaric and cruel' and has called on the Police Commissioner to investigate whether the five men had the authority to use airguns in a built-up area

In June 2017, the Vittoriosa council abandoned a planned pigeon cull after government intervention
In June 2017, the Vittoriosa council abandoned a planned pigeon cull after government intervention

Maltese MEP Marlene Mizzi has condemned the culling of pigeons in broad daylight in Vittoriosa on Thursday, saying the council-sanctioned act was “barbaric and cruel”.

On Thursday, pigeons were shot down in Vittoriosa in an attempt by the council to control the rising pigeon population. The scene caused outrage amongst Maltese citizens.

The cull by around five men carrying airguns was carried out without much fanfare and despite the fact that the council was forced to back down last year following widespread criticism.

In a strongly-worded email to the authorities, Mizzi said she was writing as a private citizen but also as the European Parliament’s vice-president of the Intergroup of Animal Welfare.

Read also: Environment ministry to investigate Vittoriosa pigeon culling

She said the actions which appeared to have been sanctioned by the local council, were to eliminate pigeons in a barbaric and cruel manner, in broad daylight and in a built up area with a serious breach of public safety.

"While it is acknowledged that pigeons can cause a problem of public hygiene, it is also a fact that shooting them is only a temporary solution which causes bigger problems and produces bigger and stronger numbers," she wrote.

Mizzi called on Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar to investigate whether the perpetrators had the police authority to use guns in a built-up area.

She also asked whether the Animal Welfare Commissioner had been consulted about using this culling method to address the issue.

Mizzi said that the Environment Ministry, which condemned the incident on Friday, should clearly outline what it planned to do about future culling in the interest of the environment and animal welfare.

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