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NEWS | Wednesday, 13 February 2008

‘Let’s shoot rats all year round’, says Labour MP

The Labour MP who had once called for a segregated bus service for immigrants, has now called on government to lift the restriction on shooting rats.
Joe Sammut has stated the 2003 EU referendum was “fraudulent” because hunters and trappers were tricked into believing their hobby would be safeguarded. “In all European countries, hunters are allowed to shoot all year round for vermin. Why are hunters not allowed to shoot at rats? Why this restriction?” Sammut told MaltaToday.
Sammut, a hunter himself, said the only vermin found in Malta are rabbits and rats – arguing that hunters should be allowed to shoot both species without any restriction.
In the past hunters were allowed to shoot at rats in Maghtab and other dumping sites.
This issue was recently raised in parliament by Labour MP Charles Mangion who asked Environment Minister George Pullicino why the practice of “shooting” rats in Maghtab had been stopped.
Pullicino’s crisp reply was: “We are not living in the times when shooting rats was the solution to control rats.”
In a letter to hunters, Joe Sammut has promised to be “their voice in parliament”.
“I will give my contribution in parliament because I know what it means not to be allowed to go to the hide or go out with your gun in the morning. I understand the heartache felt by those who are being punished for nothing,” wrote Sammut. “I will be your voice in parliament because am a hobbyist myself.”
In his letter Sammut laments that what was once “a source of tranquillity” has become “a source of stress and sadness”.
He also warned hunters the Nationalists intend “eradicating” hunting and trapping completely not just because of EU laws, but also by introducing laws “invented by people who want to destroy our hobbies.” He cites the ban on hunting after 3.00pm, as an example.
Sammut also describes Labour as “the party which always gave a breathing space to hunters and trappers” – ignoring that former Labour leader Dom Mintoff was the first Prime Minister to introduce laws regulating hunting.
In his letter Sammut strays away from telling hunters how a future Labour government would react if the European Court of Justice finds Malta in breach of the Birds Directive and orders it to stop Spring hunting.
Labour leader Alfred Sant has already made it clear his government will abide to EU law.
But Sammut writes that “there are means through which the pain can be eased and the wound inflicted on us healed.”
Asked by MaltaToday whether Malta should abide with the decision of the European Court, Sammut insisted that the 2003 referendum was won fraudulently because hunters were tricked into believing hunting would be safeguarded.
Sammut said he was willing to present his case in Brussels and that a legal case exists to prove that the referendum was “fraudulent”.
But Sammut makes it clear he does not want Malta out of the EU. “All I’m saying is the part of the negotiations dealing with hunting and trapping should be annulled because hunters were given false information by none other than former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami.”

jdebono@mediatoday.com.mt

 


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NEWS | Wednesday, February 13 2008

 





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