Malta Massacre on Migration
Malta lies along the migratory route between Africa and Europe, and is an important resting place for countless birds as they journey north to breed in the spring and back south again to their winter homes.
Thousands of migrating birds are shot on the Mediterranean island of Malta every spring and autumn. Much of this slaughter is allowed by the Maltese government even though it contravenes EU laws designed to protect wild birds.
Sadly Malta is also home to the highest density of hunters in Europe, with more than 10,000 shooters waiting to take aim at these exhausted birds.
Hunting birds during spring is prohibited under EU law, yet the Maltese government claims a legal loophole allows them to continue killing turtle doves and quail in spring. It is the only European country to allow this.
Both turtle doves and quail have suffered serious population declines across Europe, with turtle dove numbers plummeting by 77% since 1980. Hunting them during their spring migration, before they’ve had a chance to reproduce, is a serious threat to the species’ survival.
Many other rare and protected birds are targeted by Maltese hunters in both spring and autumn; very few end up in the pot. Small birds like swallows and wheatears may be used for shooting practice and left lying where they fall. Large or particularly colourful birds, especially birds of prey, are shot illegally to be stuffed, mounted and sold to collectors.
Please join our campaign to stop the persecution of migratory birds in Malta:
- Contact your MEPs and ask them to ensure the European Parliament enforces the Wild Birds’ Directive which expressly forbids spring hunting in all EU states.
- Join our campaign to end the persecution of birds for sport. Sign up now to receive regular email updates or call 01483 524 250.
A team from the League Against Cruel Sports travelled to Malta twice in 2014 to help expose this massacre of migratory birds. Find out more about why the hunters engage in this activity and to speak to the Maltese people for their views on hunting. You can view the videos in our library here.