Maltese Sport Hunters Slaughter UK Birds

Almost 11,000 sport hunters in Malta, in the Mediterranean, shoot millions of migrating birds annually. The birds are flying north from Africa on their way to the United Kingdom. Birdlife International, which is an umbrella group for many national conservation organizations, states that four million birds are shot to death each year on Malta. The birds include: three million finches, half a million swallows and martins, and eight hundred thousand golden Orioles.

Maltese falcon
Maltese falcon. Photo by John Halsam
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Malta has an exemption from the European Union to shoot migrating birds. There has to be an exemption because the shooting of migrating birds is forbidden under European Union directives.

The official position is that the almost 11,000 registered Maltese hunters are allowed to shoot quail and turtledoves but it appears that, in truth, anything that flies gets shot.

It appears that enforcement is all but non-existent despite the fact that Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for animal rights says that Malta has some of the harshest penalties for illegal shooting and taking of wild birds in the European Union. He quotes a case of a fine of ten thousand euros for shooting a protected bird. He says that this is a fine which is higher than in the UK. What he fails to mention is how many people are caught and fined. One successful prosecution does not equate to effective enforcement.

The Maltese sport hunters are officially allowed to shoot eleven thousand turtledoves and five thousand quail. However there are almost 11,000 shooters so the numbers simply do not add up.

Apparently, a British bird enthusiast, Gavin Bennett, states that regulation has not worked and he cited the example of walking into a Maltese wood in 2011 and locating the carcasses of more than two hundred illegally shot birds. It would seem that it was quite easy to find these birds.

The Maltese shooters protect their sport hunting with passion and with bullets, it seems. Previous attempts by animal rights campaigners to keep an eye on the sport hunting of migrating birds has resulted in their cars being shot up and cameramen attacked. They are quite a violent lot, aren’t they?

Why is it relevant to cats? Well, the answer is fairly obvious really. The domestic, stray and feral cat is frequently maligned as a mass native bird killer in Western and developed countries. The figures are huge and inflated. But no matter, because anyway cat haters and bird conservationists can attack the domestic cat they will do it.

The truth is once again that the Maltese sport hunting shooters of migrating birds are yet another example of how humankind is the biggest killer of birds and it does not have to be deliberate as is the case with sport hunting. The deliberate nature of shooting birds for pleasure is unappetising but there are many other indirect ways, through which, people kill birds or prevent them from being born. We need to always remind ourselves of that and in tackling declining bird populations we need to address ourselves and our behaviour first and foremost.

10 thoughts on “Maltese Sport Hunters Slaughter UK Birds”

  1. I hate hunters too Michael. There is no excuse for it. If I had no money I would not kill animals. I would grow my food from the ground. I couldn’t kill a chicken if I tried. I’d have to be dying of hunger to do such a thing. Hunters probably dream of days gone by when you could go out and shoot your dinner like a real man (with a gun, without one he looks kinda impotent and pointless, pun intended)

    • Agreed they are unthinking cavemen really or to summarise: idiots. And they are a danger to the planet. I would have great difficulty killing even to survive. I’d do it but only out of desperation and the survival instinct.

      • i would be the same i would feel guilty for ages just killing an animal as i feel like it would just be killing inside of myself. we dont need to hurt or injury animals we not in ice age and there are other alternatives.

  2. thats just disgusting and cats get a bad name just for that reason. Such a beautiful bird i cant believe some hunters are allowed to kill birds to me thats just wrong.

    • A lot of people behave as if they are living in the world of two hundred years ago when people needed to hunt in certain parts of the world in order to survive. Now they like shooting animals for the fun of it because they cannot stop letting their caveman motivations rule their lives. They are uncivilised and unthinking people because anybody with half a brain would realise that shooting animals for the fun of it is immoral. I cannot tell you how much I hate people who hunt wildlife. I detest them.

      • me too and esp things like cats and dogs and birds there is no need for it it breaks my heart. i was very disheartened when i read in australia a man was killing cats with a cross bow as a fellow neighbour it just makes me sooooo disspointed. its just so wrong. my neighbour hunts and i dont really understand it. but i guess at least he only catches rabbits.

  3. Really unforgivable to me.
    I hate the word “sport” associated with any hunting.
    How sporting can it be to snuff out a little bird with a big rifle?
    But, as you say, it helps in proving that man is the real danger in the world and not the cat or more.

  4. This is terrible and you are quite right, humans kill many more birds than cats ever could.
    Shooting birds is calculated evil. If a cat catches a bird it’s because of the instinct inborn in them, but hunters kill for the pleasure it gives to their own twisted minds.


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