German airlines urged to help stop 'barbaric' hunting practices

Subject: German airlines urged to help stop 'barbaric' hunting practices
From: "david camilleri" <>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 18:11:30 -0400
Monday, May 20, 2002

< German airlines urged to help stop 'barbaric' hunting practices >
by Herman Grech

International environment organisation Proact International has written to two top German airlines highlighting what it described as the "desperate" hunting situation in Malta. It urged the airlines to use their influence so that Malta
could curb hunting.

Proact said it had written its letters on behalf of over 500 environmentalists all over the world who had expressed outrage following the recent slaughter of honey buzzards in Malta.

The letters were addressed to German national airline Lufthansa and Condor, both of which have close links with Malta's tourism sector. It urged them to use their business influence to stop the barbaric hunting practices in Malta,
co-ordinator David Conlin said.

Condor, a leading global leisure airline, recently announced plans to lure about 50,000 tourists to Malta from Germany this summer and next winter after a break of four years. Condor is owned by Lufthansa.

Both Lufthansa and Condor have a close association with bird and environmental protection, Mr Conlin said.

Lufthansa's emblem is the Common Crane and the company is involved in crane protection schemes in Germany and Spain.

The airline works in cooperation with the Nature Protection Association NABU, WWF-Germany, and the European Natural Heritage Foundation.

Condor, as its name implies, has the world's largest bird of prey, the Andean Condor, as its emblem.

The letter sent to the airlines does not give any suggestions as to what line of action they could take though it clearly puts pressure on them to adhere to
their environment commitments

"Malta is singularly dependent on tourism and your companies can, if you live up to your declared environmental principles, use your considerable influence with the Malta Tourism Authority and other government departments to express your abhorrence of the bi-annual bird massacres.

"Every year in November flocks of cranes fly over Malta. Many of these get shot. One rest area they prefer is actually the airfield itself - a 'no shooting' area due to the danger posed to planes - but nevertheless cranes resting there still get shot."

"We hope that you, and your environmental partners, make a determined effort to assist in preventing such senseless brutality in a modern Europe."

Proact International's message to its members, posted on its website, does not beat about the bush either.

"These airline companies, with their public commitment to the protection of birds and the environment, cannot turn a blind eye to the massacre of migrant birds on the Maltese islands.

"They not only profit from the tourist trade; they also have influence with the Maltese authorities as the islands are singularly dependent on the tourist industry from Germany and Britain.

"It is time that they were made aware of their moral commitments; and put their influence to use."

Mr Conlin said he was aware that several bird-lovers had in the past week written to the two airlines in their own capacity.

He made reference to comments made by the MTA which recently said that the contribution by both Lufthansa and Condor was a much needed boost to the MTA's efforts to make up for a drop in German tourists.

With something like 200,000 German visitors a year, the market is the second most important for Malta, after the UK.

Mr Conlin vowed to unstintingly lobby the European Union and the European Parliament to ensure that no exceptions were made for Maltese hunters on accession.

"The Maltese hunters have exceeded all reasonable limits and deserve no further tolerance of their minority behaviour."

In the wake of the swan massacre last January, Proact International had written to the country's leaders to act against the slaughter of birds if it did not want to retain the title of the "killing fields of Europe".

Proact is a non-political, independent organisation committed to coordinating and monitoring support for selected environmental campaigns in Europe.


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Monday, May 20, 2002

< Day of shame >
by K. Briffa, Qormi.

Allow me to address this letter to President Guido de Marco, Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami, Leader of the Opposition Alfred Sant and George Pullicino,
Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

May 8 will be forever indelibly imprinted in my memory and that of many others, who feel and are proud to be called Maltese, as a day of shame.

In the evening I witnessed an awe-inspiring mass migration of hundreds of honey buzzards, and their immediate massacre! These birds came to seek a temporary refuge for the night but instead met an untimely end, as they had to fly through a deadly curtain of lead in their way over Marsa, Wied il-Kbir, Ta' Kandja and on towards Girgenti and Buskett.

Similar incidents have occurred all over Malta and Gozo and have, unfortunately, become the order of the day.

If the island's leaders do not condone these despicable acts, they should speak up and act, as there are persons bent on making a mockery of our laws, our institutions and our country.


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david camilleri

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