Malta Massacre discussed in Parliament thanks to Sir John Randall

Sir_John_RandallThis blog is a fan of Sir John Randall, Conservative MP for Uxbridge.  John is a birder and understands the environment better than most. He’s also a really nice guy.

Last week, whilst I was away trying, without much success, to see some Hen Harriers, John organised a Westminster Hall debate on the terrible state of affairs regarding illegal killing of birds in Malta.

It’s worth reading the full transcript and seeing which MPs of which parties spoke.

As expected John spoke well, with accuracy and with passion.  I told you this blog is a fan!

I note that Jim Shannon, DUP, turned up at the debate, as he did at the last Westminster Hall debate secured by John.  Mr Shannon’s only contribution is to talk up BASC and the Countryside Alliance and shooting. Since Mr Shannon brought up the subject, I have missed the condemnation of the behaviour of Maltese hunters by BASC and the Countryside Alliance.  Can anyone point me in its direction, please?  In fact, Mr Shannon states that BASC and the Countryside Alliance have direct contacts with hunting bodies (maybe organisations would be a better word) in Malta so maybe we should expect to hear of their heartfelt pleas to Maltese shooters to stick to the law.  Put ‘Malta’ into the search engine on the BASC website and you don’t find anything and nor will you on the Countryside Alliance website either.

It would make it easier to keep this an issue of legality/illegality if shooting organisations in the UK condemned the illegal behaviour of fellow shooters (with whom they have direct contacts) in Malta.  Their apparent silence persuades some that they find it more important to stand side by side with other shooters, even those shooters breaking the law, than side by side with those who expect shooters to stick to the law.

It was good to see that British minister, George Eustice, had taken the opportunity to discuss these matters with his Maltese counterpart in the margins of a meeting in Athens last week. Would that discussion have taken place without Chris Packham’s campaign?  No, it wouldn’t. And this sort of debate in the UK Parliament, when backed up by your letters to MEPs and MPS, and tweets and anything else you can do to publicise matters, keeps up the pressure.

Thank you to everyone who has copied me emails to and from their MEPs – I’ll come back to that later in the week.

Here is Chris Packham’s account of the day.

Did you see that Malta’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest was called ‘Coming Home‘ – shouldn’t that be ‘Coming Home to the sound of gunfire as birds are killed illegally on migration’?

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Samantha Farrell

    I read the full transcript over the weekend. It's amazing to think that just a week after Chris Packham, Ruth Peacey, Luke Massey and Jez Toogood returned home Chris Packham received the invitation to attend Parliament. Which just goes to prove, never underestimate a naturalist with such passion !
    I hope the end to the spring hunt is in sight.
    Please continue with the updates.

    Thank you

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  2. Massive kudos to Sir John Randall for getting this debate on the table. I have know doubt that this was spurred by the recent visits by Bill Oddie & laterally Chris Packham to Malta & the media publicity attached to these events. What frustrates me is why it has taken so long. I have been trying to get people to take heed and act on the hunting situation in Malta for many years to know avail. I even contacted the BBC and Chris Packham on many occasions asking them when they would cover illegal hunting on Springwatch and got pretty muck no response.
    Whilst it is great that these TV naturalist have finally got there act together to get this situation in the public consciousness it is a sad reflection on society that it takes a 'celeb' to get people listening!

    On the subject of the Eurovision Song Contest; I was saddened to see the amount of anti-Malta comments. Some of which were bordering on racism in my opinion. Whilst I would not oppose those directing their hate at Maltese hunters I think it is important to note that a large proportion of Maltese citizens oppose the hunting in their countryside.

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  3. Mud Lark

    Is it just me or were others not too impressed with the Minister, George Eustice's response? Sadly I felt it was lack lustre and no sign of initiating anything proactive on offer?

    But, as ever, an agnostic ....

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  4. Roderick leslie

    I think Mr Eustice was saying 'I'm going to do my best to do absolutely nothing if I can get away with it'.

    I don't think he will - think forest sales - and it is a tremendous example of the inflated celebrity created by TV being put to fantastic uses - well done to Bill Oddie and Chris Packham, two real conservation heroes - and the many others who have supported them this year.

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  5. John Stone

    Just as an update to lobbying my WM MEPs over Malta, I received a further supportive Reply from Phil Bennion (LibDem). Content highlighted the way the issue has been raised in Euro Parliament and expressing support for campaign. So reasonable responses from the Tories and Lib Dems but silence from Labour and the two ex-ukippers Nattrass and Sinclaire.

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