Letter to Commissioner Vella - Protecting Migratory Birds


On the 11th of April Malta held a referendum on whether to end the tradition of shooting migratory birds at spring. A narrow margin (51%-49%) voted against the ban. In light of this I have written to the Commissioner for Environment, Karmenu Vella (himself a native of Malta), asking what action the European Commission is taking to protect migratory birds in Malta and across Europe.  The text of this letter is below:

Dear Commissioner Vella,

Malta Spring Hunting Referendum

I am writing regarding the recent referendum in Malta where proposals to ban controversial spring hunting, during which the migrating birds quail and turtle doves are shot before they can breed, were defeated by 51% to 49%.

As you will know, over the last 25 years there has been an 85% decline in both quail and turtle doves, and in 2009 the European Court of Justice ordered Malta to ban spring hunting of migratory birds to prevent further irreversible damage to the species.

Since the referendum took place on the 11th of April 2015, a number of my constituents have written to me with their concerns about the result and the continued derogations that exist within the Birds Directive, which afford Malta the right to hunt turtle doves and quail during the spring.

I am writing to ask what action you as Commissioner are going to take in light of the referendum result, and through reform of the Birds Directive to ensure that declining migratory species such as quail and turtle doves are duly protected throughout the European Union member states including your own.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Kind regards,

Dr Ian Duncan MEP

Conservative MEP for Scotland