Current Affairs
Malta loses its European Court of Justice case over bird trapping – Government carefully evaluating decision

Malta has lost its case in front of the European Court of Justice which the European Commission filed against Malta’s application of the derogation to trap seven species of song birds during the autumn season.

Although the decision cannot be appealed, the Government said in a statement that it was carefully evaluating the decision and that any decision it will take will be legally sound. The sentence by the European Court is more than 100 pages long.

Earlier, the Federation of Hunters, Trappers and Conservationists appealed for calm among its members who are trappers until a detailed analysis of the sentence is carried out and added that it would continue to safeguard the sustainable socio-cultural traditions of hunting and trapping of turtledoves in spring. In a short statement the Secretary of the FKNK Lino Farrugia said that this verdict shows how Europe discriminates.

Birdlife CEO Mark Sultana described today’s verdict as a step which means a lot to birds and the Maltese habitat.

The Government said that it had done everything possible to allow trapping to continue and in fact it had opened the trapping season in the last three years.  It said that it had dedicated all possible resources to defend the case in the best way possible together with organizations which represent the trappers, and together they had presented their case in front of the Court to allow this tradition to continue.

Both Birdlife as well as FKNK are expected to give their detailed reactions shortly.  The case against trapping was brought by the European Commission which said that Malta had breached the Wild Bird Directive on wild birds when it allowed the trapping of songbirds. The trapping season had been re-opened in 2014 after years of being closed.

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