Hunters are no longer cooperating with authorities and reporting poaching illegalities because they have no trust in the European Union, the hunters’ federation has said.

“Not a single hunter or trapper in Malta and Gozo has a modicum of respect left for European institutions,” the FKNK said, arguing that as a federation it could no longer count on its members to report poachers, as there was no faith in EU justice.

Three protected white storks were shot down on Friday, with the perpetrator reportedly collecting two of the dead birds before escaping.

The illegal act was condemned by parliamentary secretary Clint Camilleri, himself a hunter, as well as by the St Hubert’s Hunters group, which slammed the “inexcusable” act and urged its members to help bring perpetrators to justice.

No such outright condemnation was however forthcoming from the FKNK, which in its first reaction to the incident said that while it always condemned illegal hunting and trapping "with all its might", it likewise condemned the European Commission for doing all it could to wipe out hunting and trapping for good, despite “knowing precisely that local traditions are of no threat to any species.”

In a veiled dig at BirdLife Malta, the FKNK accused the EU of basing its decisions on "lies" made by "prejudiced and extremist" entities which were avowedly anti-hunting and trapping. 

"The FKNK hopes the European Commission is happy with the situation they've managed to create in the Maltese islands," it said at the end of its statement. 

Hunters and trappers’ long-standing suspicions of the European Union erupted into outright hostility earlier this year, when the European Court of Justice ruled that finch trapping was illegal and had to stop.

The ECJ ruling has not however deterred the government’s consultative committee, Ornis, from recommending that a trapping season be opened this autumn for two other bird species.

Should that happen, sources at the European Commission say Malta can expect interim measures to block it from doing so.

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