March 15th, 2015
Ask anyone to identify the one single thing that gives Malta a bad name abroad and the answer will be hunting. So much misinformation has been spewed in local and foreign press about what goes on, supposedly, in the Maltese islands that there are actually people that believe that in Malta hunters really do kill millions of birds annually. I even received various ridiculous messages on my social media requesting that I lobby with the Maltese government to stop the “traditional eating” of song birds. For the record we don’t eat songbirds and the only game we really eat is quail and turtle dove. Both are eaten on the continent so nothing exotic going on here.
There is of course a degree of illegal hunting in Malta, just like in any other country in the world where hunting takes place. This is deplorable and the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law but to say that we somehow effect worldwide bird population or that millions of bird killings takes place in Malta is not only hyperbole and preposterous but it is a downright lie. Unfortunately it makes for good press and exciting television and Malta’s miniscule geographical proportions makes it an ideal location to monitor and document every single illegality, if one would really want to and some do. Of course the majority of hunters are law abiding citizens and a lot of unfair reputational damage has been done to the Maltese islands internationally by overzealous individuals and organizations who, quite frankly, should know better. Think about it. Where is one most likely to spot and film illegalities? Certainly not in countries with thousands of hectares of available hunting grounds away from it all. No question that Malta is a much easier target for those who want to document hunting whether in its legal or illegal.