That was close – but no cigar!

Malta-CIA_WFB_MapThe Maltese people have voted by a very small margin, 51:49, to keep spring hunting.

That’s very, very close but it’s a result.

I wonder what the next step is. Maybe our wildlife NGOs really should think of a campaign to boycott Malta now. The accepted wisdom has been that too hard a campaign from outside Malta would be counter-productive and the decision should be left to the Maltese people. Well, that might have been the right thing to do but it hasn’t delivered yet. And I mean that it might have been the right thing to do – perhaps the ‘Yes’ majority would have been higher if there had been lots of shouting and threats from outside Malta. I’m not in a position to judge.

My thoughts and sympathy go out to BirdLife Malta and those from the UK (including LACS, Bill Oddie and Chris Packham (and friends)) who have put so much effort into raising the issue over the last year and for much longer.

But it is the birds, Europe’s birds, our birds, German birds, Italian birds, all of our birds, that suffer the most from this democratic decision.




13 Replies to “That was close – but no cigar!”

  1. Sadly, I feel boycotting Malta is now my only option. This is a tough indeed heartbreaking decision for me as my mother lives on Gozo, my fathers ashes are there and my husband does a significant amount of business with Maltese industry. I wish there was another way, but I don’t think I can continue to visit and give money to an economy where the majority of the people think it is ok to shoot wild birds.

  2. Need to get together a letter for the major tour operators who would be affected by a boycott to sign, addressed to Malta PM Joseph Muscat. Along the lines of ‘if you don’t deal with this we will all suffer’.

    A travel boycott, if it comes to it, would be very effective with demos targeted at local high street travel agents. (If there are any left.) They are suffering anyway so are vulnerable. Also would make local papers. Nothing personal, just tactics!

    1. What a disappointing margin, so near yet so far ….

      What a wonderfully principled stance Annette has taken despite the distress not visiting will cause her.

      We need more people to let the Maltese authorities know that despite giving the people the opportunity to end the murder, other people will now decide not to visit a gun toting country who find such practice acceptable. We should have sympathies for the Maltese people who tried to secure an end to the massacre and we should continue to try to work with them and help them achieve safe air space for our summer migrants.

      It will be interesting to see if their ‘grousing’ cousins will celebrate the Maltese victory?

      It looks like it’s time to dust down our series of campaign t-shirts &c…..

  3. I once visited Gozo. In a week I saw 10 species of birds, yet our hosts insisted the Maltese loved birds. It seems they only love them shot, stuffed or caged. If we just do things because we always have we would still have slavery and public hanging! Sometimes you stop doing something because it’s wrong.

  4. I went to malta and Gozo about 8 years ago.I had no idea about the cruelty to animals there, until i witnessed it first hand in the markets, and the lack of wildlife! After a day or two it was apparent there was a silence , no birdsong! I soon enquired and was told they shoot them all!
    I will not be going back! As an animal lover i was shocked and disgusted at what i witnessed!

  5. I have always believed that as long as they hunted in spring and shot protected species in autumn that Malta should never have been allowed to join the EU. Given this vote yes we should boycott all that is Maltese and make it quite clear why. I have no problem with sustainable hunting for the pot but this slaughter is and always has been totally out of order.
    Perhaps we should be campaigning for the suspension of Malta from the EU with all monies frozen until this is resolved.

  6. The only surprise in the vote is that it was so close. Clearly the hunters have very powerful friends and that makes it difficult for those against the hunt to stand up and be counted.
    My understanding of it is that the EU has banned this hunting. So quite simply the answer is not to go to the Maltese people, those that felt they could speak out have done so( and very well done for that in the circumstances) I think it’s time to attack this from above, start to focus the energy on the EU. Boycotting Malta may help but if there can be enough pressure applied from Brussels then perhaps those in power would be more scared of losing those privileges than of losing the favour of the hunt fraternity.
    Don’t really know how to do any of that but just a thought.

      1. Hi Mark, thanks for all the info and updates.
        It must by sickening for those who put so much effort into the campaign but I hope the effort continues. When can another referendum be called?
        All this boycotting to make folk feel better isn’t going to stop the bad culture there, here, wherever. It’s support for Birdlife Malta, Birdlife Cyprus, CABS Italia etc that’s still needed and especially educating the young in sowing the seeds for a culture change and aiding head-on efforts in government and on the ground by those organisations.

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