With many migratory bird populations in serious decline it beggars belief that in Europe we still allow countries like Malta and Cyprus to slaughter songbirds in their millions. BTO figures estimate that some migratory bird populations have plummeted by more than 80 per cent in the past 25 years. With climate change, drought and intensive farming techniques all high on the list of causes, it seems absurd that on two key migratory staging-posts in the Mediterranean, birds are professionally and systematically slaughtered.
Not only that, on one of these islands – Cyprus – large tracts of the land are administered and controlled by us, the British. And it’s not just open land – whole towns and villages are within the British protectorates, and it’s these villagers who are doing the trapping, killing and eating. Why isn’t the great British bird-loving public outraged by the slaughter? The RSPB is the largest bird organisation in the world with morethan 1m members and yet it has still failed to galvanise government to stop the slaughter.
Evidently it’s because so few people go to Cyprus and Malta and witness the professional trapping. Proximity is everything ininspiring anger and fury. In Cage andAviary Birds we’ve been covering the work of BirdLife International and its partners on Malta and Cyprus as they struggle to stop the senseless slaughter, but what is needed is real outrage to be vented by thousands of people – European people. Not only does the British Government have a say in what happens on Cyprus but so does the EU, as Cyprus currently holds the EU presidency.
It’s a disgrace that an EU country can flaunt European wildlife laws and still hold a place at the top table of Government. So make your voices known – email your MEP, MP and tweet till you drop, because otherwise millions more birds will be slaughtered this year and next. And then one day – they'll be gone.
Hasta la vista...