The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

FKNK defends the concept of minors accompanying hunters while hunting

Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 19:40 Last update: about 7 days ago

The FKNK has defended the idea of minors accompanying hunters in an open letter, hitting out at BirdLife Malta.

The FKNK said that BirdLife Malta's 'over the limit' latest request, to prohibit hunters from being accompanied by minors while hunting, instigates more aggravation towards hunters which can only lead to direct confrontation. "This in addition to the hassle, invasion of privacy, breach of rights and data protection abuse that hunters are subject to year-in year-out during the hunting and trapping seasons, by both BirdLife and their German based partners CABS."

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The Office of the Commissioner for Children, just earlier in the day, called on the authorities to take action over a case where a child was filmed using a shotgun in the company of an adult. The office said that, also of grave concern is the fact that the minor is seen to be in very close range of a misfiring gun that could have seriously injured him. "This near miss highlights a lacuna in our laws that do not prohibit children accompanying adults in hunting expeditions." It called on Parliament to pass the necessary amendments to the Arms Act to close this dangerous gap in our legislation.

In their statement, the FKNK, referring to BirdLife's actions, said that "Direct confrontation is the easiest way forward for the Federation for Hunting and Conservation - Malta (FKNK) and these BirdLife deceptive tactics and manoeuvres are totally unacceptable.  Moreover, the FKNK will leave no stone unturned nor will it shy away from whatever legal action is necessary, locally and/or in Brussels, in order to safeguard the traditional socio-cultural passions of Maltese hunters and trappers and the aspiring hunter and trapper youths."
 
"Reverting to BirdLife's latest demand regarding minors, the FKNK believes that such a law contravenes Article 2 of the Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which states: 'the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions'.  It is and should be a fundamental right for parents to educate and raise their children according to their own beliefs and in the best interest of their children.  In fact, many European countries have specific policies promoting hunting among young people. Thus, such a law would be unjustifiably discriminatory in this regard."
 
"Furthermore, the FKNK wishes to highlight that such a law would further contradict key principles set out in the Council of Europe's Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity, which was adopted by the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention in November 2007.  The Charter promotes the continuity of hunting as one of the most important instruments of game management.  Preventing and prohibiting young people from joining hunts would lead to a situation whereby there are not enough hunters to support natural environment conservation."
 
The FKNK said it would also like to emphasise that there is a growing trend in youth engagement in hunting in many European countries and several governments are supporting their national hunting associations to promote hunting among young people.  "The participation of youth in hunting is widely recognised as providing key knowledge about nature and a deep understanding of wildlife management and animal welfare.  It is not only positive for children's mental health, but also their physical development particularly at a time when young people are spending less time outdoors. The psychological and physical benefits of being close to nature have been proven in numerous studies.  This is particularly important today when computers and social media consume too much time in our daily lives."
 
"Moreover, a ban on the participation of youth in hunting de facto eliminates the possibility of transferring hunting traditions and culture to younger generations.  It is important to highlight that due to its cultural heritage value, hunting is recognised on some national UNESCO lists in Europe.  In this context, the FKNK remains very confident that Malta can only see a wide range of cultural and social benefits arising from allowing youth to participate in hunting.  Hence, the FKNK sincerely hopes that Malta will continue to be part of other European countries, which respect the rights of parents and their decisions to involve their children in the cultivation of cultural traditions."


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