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We work to expose and end the cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of sport

Malta Massacre on Migration

turtle doveMalta 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.

Malta Videos

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.

malta film

The League talks to those passionately for hunting, those passionately against hunting and those stuck in the middle.