The Animal Welfare Commissioner is looking into the disappearance and death of ducks at a freshwater pool in Kerċem, popularly known as l-Għadira ta’ San Raflu.

Alison Bezzina told Times of Malta she was investigating the case together with the Animal Rights Ministry after receiving several reports from people who went to the lake but found no ducks on site.

The freshwater pool is a protected site under the Environment Protection Act and is one of the water bodies identified under the EU Water Framework Directive.

Over the past few days, social media users expressed their distress after going to an unusually quiet lake, where they were informed that bird carcasses had been found under some trees, and the ducks have not been seen since. 

Some resorted to asking the commissioner for help. 

Bezzina added that as things stand, no entity was responsible for the welfare of such ducks, pigeons, wild birds and escaped farmed birds.

She is urging the authorities to enter into an agreement with animal NGOs to treat and euthanise such injured birds.

“No animal should be left to suffer, and it is quite distressing for people who come across injured birds, to have to leave the animal where they found it,” she added.

What is the commissioner recommending?

Humane treatment and euthanasia for unowned farmed birds, pigeons and wild birds

Why?

When members of the public come across sick or injured pigeons and other unowned farmed birds like geese, ducks, and sparrows (tal-Bejt), there is absolutely no one to turn to to save or help end the animal’s suffering. 

People often call Animal Welfare on 1717 or other NGOs only to be told they do not fall under its remit. 

Most often they are left to die a slow and painful death or fall prey to other animals such as stray cats. 

“Letting an animal suffer is definitely not the educational message that the Animal Welfare Directorate should be disseminating, regardless of the species…

“The Animal Welfare Act does not (and should not) discriminate between different animals and species,” Bezzina said in her second set of recommendations presented to the Animal Rights Minister last month.

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