Hunting lobby FKNK dismissed calls for another spring hunting referendum, saying the people had decided on the matter in 2015.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday afternoon, a day after the ORNIS Committee voted in favour of lifting a moratorium on the spring hunting of turtle-dove as from April, the FKNK said it welcomed the decision. 

"I will start off by saying that we welcome the decision by the ORNIS Committee, which was taken after years of work by the FKNK," president Lucas Micallef said. 

The decision to lift the moratorium, Micallef said, was based on "results from scientific research based on facts and criteria of the Birds Directive". 

This contrasted with Birdlife's reaction earlier on Thursday, where its president said the decision to allow spring hunting for turtle dove “crossed a line”. Birdlife said it is ready to take the decision to court and was also looking into the possibility of calling another referendum. 

But when asked about this, Micallef and FKNK CEO Lino Farrugia both dismissed Birdlife's claims. 

"We'll see if there will be a referendum," Farrugia said. 

"They are not respecting the public's decision. Would we have had the right to question that? The referendum cannot be reversed," Farrugia said, noting that "the people had decided years ago". 

The spring hunting referendum was held in April 2015 and the hunting lobby won by a small margin. Those against spring hunting won the vote in Malta but it was not enough to exceed a bigger margin in favour of the hunters in Gozo.

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