The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Updated: ORNIS meeting suspended after ‘physical attack’ by FKNK CEO – Birdlife

Wednesday, 11 May 2022, 19:04 Last update: about 7 days ago

An ORNIS committee meeting had to be suspended after a “physical attack” by the chief executive officer of the hunting federation, Birdlife Malta said on Wednesday.

BirdLife Malta is shocked at the aggressive attitude and physical attack by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation’s CEO Lino Farrugia following an argument with top government official and head of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) Richard Lia earlier today during an ORNIS Committee meeting.

This led to the Committee Chairman having to suspend the meeting.

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: “While we want to show our solidarity with Mr. Lia, we cannot understand how in this day and age we still have the FKNK lobby led by people who would resort to physical abuse to get what they want. This is unacceptable. We have written to the Ministers concerned requesting immediate action and to suspend Mr. Farrugia once and for all from the ORNIS Committee.

We ask this in order to have collective support towards Mr. Lia while sending a clear message that such actions are not acceptable anymore in society, let alone in government-appointed bodies. We also ask this for the safety and serenity of all the other members of the Committee, including those of BirdLife Malta who deserve to feel safe in such meetings. One can debate arguments in a civil manner but resorting to physical abuse is not to be accepted and needs to be deplored by all.”

In reply, the Federation of Hunters and Trappers described the incident as "a small argument that was interpreted as a physical attack".

It hoped that the situation is seen from the "correct perspective".

The FKNK apologised to Richard Lia and said the issue will be discussed internally.

In the meantime, the FKNK CEO suspended his representation on the committee.


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