How many stuffed birds are kept hidden in private residences in these islands? The only way to remove the motivation for these vile collections is to make them completely illegal.
The various hunters’ associations should unite and obtain adequate premises and make national permanent exhibition(s) of all stuffed birds, legal or otherwise. After a certain date, each stuffed bird (legal or not) held in private should incur an obligatory and enforceable fine of at least €10,000. The fine should be heftily increased for each subsequent stuffed bird found. The initiative must come from the associations, not from the government.
Properly handled, such an exhibition could be unique, and certain rooms or sections could be thematic, dedicated to a particular person or group. There could be theme and action corners. Each exhibit would be properly marked with the name of the contributor.
Thus, instead of being hidden in a private residence, these (often moth-eaten) birds could be enjoyed by one and all, and the contributor would still be able to boast of his catch.
With such a system, the pique between the various collectors would no longer exist. There are fanatics who travel the world to obtain exotic specimens for their vainglory. Malta must remove the motivation for eliminating exotic birds from the sky. If hunters are truly professional and seek to uphold the law, this would be the right exercise to test their credibility.
Please remember that all birds belong to people in general. Thus, any stuffed birds can be used to illustrate the beauty of nature. I know there is a pathetic exhibition in Mdina (with many specimens hidden in a store room), but truly national exhibitions would not only be very welcome but would serve to accentuate the goodwill from all hunters and trappers.
The various hunters’ societies claim that a few cowboys tarnish their image. Let us see how serious they are in their propaganda! The absolute majority of people are not keen about the treatment of birds. Do not defend the cowboys.
In the past, some members of my family were keen hunters and thus I appreciate the call and thrill of hunting. Hunters need to continue on their positive stance or eventually the time will come when drastic action will be taken against them. The only way to save traditional hunting and trapping is by being positive and creative. Otherwise it may be too late to say mea culpa.
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