Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika calls for harsher hunt­ing in­fringe­ment penal­ties

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

AD Chair­per­son Carmel Ca­co­pardo has called for an in­crease in penal­ties for hunt­ing in­fringe­ments.

Dur­ing a Bus­kett visit or­gan­ised by Birdlife Malta, Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika Chair­per­son Carmel Ca­co­pardo thanked Birdlife for its work on the conservation of wild birds and bio­di­ver­sity.

“Public aware­ness for more na­ture pro­tec­tion has in­creased ex­po­nen­tially over the years,” he said.

“Ir­re­spon­si­ble hunters are a threat to conservation ef­forts. It is for this rea­son that fines and other penal­ties for hunt­ing in­fringe­ments should be made harsher rather than be­ing re­duced as is be­ing sug­gested by gov­ern­ment spokesper­sons. Ad­vo­cat­ing the re­duc­tion of fines and penal­ties sends the wrong mes­sages. Peo­ple act­ing re­spon­si­bly and who abide by the law should not have any is- sues with a crack­down on il­le­gal­i­ties,“he said

Si­mon Galea, spokesper­son for Agri­cul­ture and An­i­mal Wel­fare said: “The present sce­nario does not au­gur well. In­ci­dences of il­le­gal hunt­ing con­tinue to rise. Pro­tected birds, such as birds of prey, are killed in­dis­crim­i­nately, deny­ing the public the right to en­joy such nat­u­ral her­itage. The gen­eral public are not the only vic­tims, but so are law-abid­ing hunters who have to carry the blame for their ir­re­spon­si­ble coun­ter­parts.”

“Apart from the need to beef up en­force­ment – com­ple­mented by hefty fines – it is about time that hunters shoul­der re­spon­si­bil­ity. It is un­ac­cept­able that after years of con­tin­u­ous ram­pant il­le­gal hunt­ing oc­cur­rences, nearly no­body from the hunt­ing com­mu­nity has stepped for­ward to re­port such il­le­gal­i­ties. Hunt­ing as­so­ci­a­tions come up with all kinds of imag­in­able ex­cuses to de­fend such in­fringe­ments. If hunters are of good­will, then both their as­so­ci­a­tions and individuals need to em­bark on a self-reg­u­lat­ing ex­er­cise where il­le­gal­i­ties are re­ported and cul­prits are named and shamed. In the ab­sence of such, the gov­ern­ment should close the hunt­ing season in­def­i­nitely, a prom­ise which was never kept by Prime Min­is­ter Mus­cat.“

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