On Monday the 3rd of June, a Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) landed at Salina Bay in the north of Malta. This unexpected arrival sent a shockwave through the hunting community, where the rogue offenders quickly went to polish their shotguns, stock their ammunition and devise a battle plan. On Tuesday the 4th of June, despite being under police protection, this lone flamingo was gunned down.
We have been hearing about such incidents for some time now, but why is the public so irritated over this one? There are two things which I think stand out in this case:
- From something out of a Michael Bay/Steven Spielberg movie, the hunters staged a quick getaway with the dead flamingo – seriously, this had to be the most comical stashing of the goods in Maltese hunting history (see video)
- The offenders were caught this time, and as a society we do love a public lynching – similar to how people used to make a family event out of a public hanging/decapitation in medieval times.
Despite the public outcry, numerous social media posts, online petitions and all that jazz, people are seriously deluded if they think that this government will curb this abuse. There are two very, very clear indications of this:
The secret pact/deal/whatever it is that the Malta Labour Party signed with hunters prior to the recent general election – if that is not a clear indication of being unconcerned about hunting, I do not know what is.
The fact that Roderick Galdes, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights feels he is in the right to speak about this issue. For F*** Sake, this is NOT an animal rights issue, but an environmental one!! Hunting can never be an animal rights issue (which this government fails to see), as hunting is a worldwide exercised food collection mechanism/sport recognised and monitored by every single agreement under the sun. If wild animals were governed by animal rights laws, then there would be no fishing, game, bush meat, snail platters at Maltese dinners or any other form of food from wild species. The reason why it is such a contentious issue in Malta is that PROTECTED birds are being gunned down – hence, consequently, thus, therefore it is a conservation/environmental issue.
Dr. Leo Brincat should be addressing this issue, so anyone with half a brain can digest that something is clearly amiss here.
While I absolutely love Malta, there is no way that this current or any Maltese government can ever find a solution for controlling illegal hunting – they are too afraid of losing votes to take a stand. The only solution is for the European Commission to step in, and I sincerely hope that this happens in the near future. I have always advocated for the protection of Maltese hunters’ rights on a European level, but if they themselves do not start to name these offenders and cooperate with the authorities, then the sun will soon be setting on their treasured hobby.