Being in favour of hunting is not contradictory to calling for stronger animal rights, Nationalist Party Leader Bernard Grech said on Wednesday. 

He was being interviewed by academic Andrew Azzopardi at a political event in Mosta, where he was asked how he could support a pastime that essentially sanctions the pointless killing of birds. 

“I don’t see it as a contradiction,” Grech answered, “hunting, whether you agree with it or not,  is a tradition and a culture that many people were raised in. Who am I to take away or deny someone their culture?” 

“We cannot understand every hobby, but politics is about understanding people.” 

“It’s important that hunting remains legal but it’s important that hunters know they have obligations as well as rights and if they don’t meet those obligations then they are damaging their own reputations,” he continued 

Grech said that the rights of animals must be adequately protected and the PN would be pushing to broaden the powers of the Commissioner for Animal Welfare and introduce harsher penalties for animal cruelty. 

Azzopardi also asked why, despite numerous scandals revealed in the media, Robert Abela’s trust ratings were still much higher than his, to which Grech replied that the only survey that counts is the result of the general election. 

“I have a responsibility to keep convincing people and answering questions. I accept every interview request because I have nothing to hide,” he said. 

“My energy comes from the fact that I have no skeletons in my closet and no agreements with criminals or some abuse of power that can be dug up from my past, despite several attempts to tarnish my reputation.”

“I have confidence in people’s intelligence and I know people know their vote counts for more than a €100 cheque.” 

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