Inspired by Chris Packham's video diary of the illegal slaughter of migratory birds in Malta I sent an e-mail on April 22nd to my south east MEP's who are:
Sharon Bowles MEP, Marta Andreasen MEP, Nigel Farage MEP, Peter Skinner MEP, Richard Ashworth MEP, Keith Taylor MEP
I decided to tailor my e-mail to ensure that it was received by them as I had read that using a prepared e-mail script may be treated as spam.
On May 1st, I received the following response from Catherine Bearder.
Dear Mr Young,
Thank you for your email about the appalling hunting of wild birds in Malta.
As a committed animal welfare campaigner, President of the Green Lib Dems and member of the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, I share your concerns and have done so for many years.
In anticipation of the spring hunting season, I along with 32 other Euro MPs jointly lobbied the European Commission to ensure that the Commission took enforcement action against this continued breach of the European Union's Birds Directive. This supported BirdLife International's call for action.
Europe's rich diversity of over 500 wild bird species has been facing severe threats for a long time. The EU Birds Directive was adopted unanimously by the Member States as a response to increasing concern about the decline in Europe's wild bird populations resulting from pollution and loss of habitats, amongst other issues. The purpose of the Directive is to protect migratory birds from being hunted during the crucial spring stage of their life cycle.
Malta is currently the only Member State to still have a recreational spring hunting season and this is achieved by a derogation and exception from the Directive. However, it is clear Malta is not even abiding by their exception, let alone the full Directive.
This campaign has now been stepped up and is getting increased publicly in the UK thanks to BBC Radio 4 and the presenter Chris Packman. I requested an urgent meeting with the Commissioner for the Environment, and followed up that request with a letter signed by 43 other Euro MPs.
The Commission is taking action against Malta following the killing of migrating birds, particularly in defence of turtle doves and quail birds.
The magnitude of penalties possible under Maltese legislation has doubled over the past few years and they are setting up a specialised Wildlife Crime Unit. However, much more action needs to be taken urgently.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. If re-elected, I look forward to continuing to work closely with BirdLife Malta and other groups to stamp out this barbaric targeting of turtle doves and quail birds. I know that the rest of the Lib Dem team are also committed to this.
This is one of the many environmental issues I have campaigned on since being elected five years ago, if you would like me to keep you updated on this and similar issues please let me know. I hope this response is helpful and reassuring, please feel free to contact me again about this or any other European matter.
Catherine Bearder MEP
Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament for the South East of England Constituency Office
27 Park End Street
+44 1865 249838