Maltese logic is beyond ridiculous and frustrating when you think about it. The media and the public descend upon a mentally ill man with pitchforks and torches for crucifying a couple of already dead stray cats, but they cannot be bothered to publicly shame and berate mentally stable men who shoot protected bird species and leave them to die in agony.
Since late 2012, crucified cats were discovered in the Maltese town of Mosta in various religious places. After months of dead silence from the media and the police, a suspect was apprehended in March 2014 much to the delight of cat loving spinsters and all those people who post nothing but cat photos on their Facebook timeline.
It has since emerged that the accused is a diagnosed schizophrenic who had missed his medication. However, this did nothing to appease the public who still demanded blood for his atrocities. The situation has been quite fomented by the media portrayal of this individual as a despicable criminal – a treatment which law breaking hunters never get.
The only reason Maltese people were upset about these events that (quoting the national media) “shocked the Island”, is because cats are cute, cuddly little creatures which most people own as companion animals. As a self professed cat lover I have found these events mildly disturbing, since these cats were essentially roadkill and were not harmed by the suspect, but the mindless slaughter of thousands of protected birds is even more perverted.
The Maltese public has become too desensitized regarding the issue of bird hunting, which despite it being an environmental issue, it is also branded in Malta as being animal cruelty. These birds get shot at with lead pellets, smash into the ground after falling metres out of the sky, and if they are unlucky enough to survive the fall, they die a slow and agonizing death as a result of internal bleeding, infection from broken wings and bullet holes or starvation, dehydration and predation. Their bodies then decompose into into dust, without the public batting an eye and with their killers generally walking scot free.
The public and the media want to ‘crucify’ an individual who is schizophrenic, an individual who has a mental illness and is likely to have a bad episode despite the excellent service provided by mental health institutions in Malta. This man requires help to overcome this incident and reinsert himself into society – not to be portrayed as a CSI/Criminal Minds style weirdo that goes around the country crucifying ecologically irrelevant animals.
So while hunters get released and fined and people accept their acts as mundane (unless they are those troublesome tree hugging hippies that want to ban a Maltese traditional hobby), a public spectacle is made of a mentally ill individual.
I appeal to all animal lovers and the media to reassess and evaluate their position on the issue. Animal cruelty is never acceptable, but animal cruelty does not only apply to anthropomorphic animals that we choose as being more important than others.