As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Malta referred to EU court over spring bird hunt

Critics say island custom of hunting birds migrating across Mediterranean is cruel because they are killed before they can breed

Agence France-Presse

Thursday 24 September 2015 17.05 BSTLast modified on Friday 25 September 201500.01 BST

The European commission has referred Malta to the EU’s top court over the controversial tradition of hunting birds migrating across the Mediterranean every spring, officials have said.

Malta has been at odds with Brussels for years over the issue. Critics of the practice say it is cruel as birds are killed before they can breed, but supporters defend it as a longstanding custom.

“The European commission is referring Malta to the court of justice of theEuropean Union over its decision to allow finch trapping on its territory as of 2014,” the commission, the executive body of the 28-member EU, said.

The European court of justice found Malta guilty in 2009 of permitting the hunting of birds during their return from Africa to breeding grounds in Europe, before they had a chance to reproduce.

But while spring hunting is outlawed by the EU birds directive, Malta applies yearly for a short period of exemption. Maltese voters also narrowly approved the continuation of the hunts in a referendum in April.

The European commission said the yearly exemptions should be used “judiciously, with small numbers and strict supervision” but added that “these conditions have not been met in this case”.

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