The IAR team reports from Malta
After waking at dawn to the sound of shooting close by we set out to investigate. We soon came across decoy pigeons and lures set up high in a tree to attract live birds. As we considered dismantling this nasty device we came face to face with a shooter in full camouflage combat gear who emerged from a hide, armed with his shotgun. Appalled though we were, it wouldn’t have been wise to argue with him. At least we knew that IAR’s work in Malta was helping to reduce the huge numbers of birds being needlessly slaughtered.
The handover and blessing of the new police patrol boat
When we arrived at the Police Headquarters the new powerboat was already in position at the front of the building, gleaming in the bright sunshine. A posse of TV and press (including BBC TV news from the UK) had gathered by the time the Minister for the Environment and the Police Commissioner arrived for the ceremony, witnessed by officers of the Administrative Law Enforcement department, as well as, representatives from local NGO Nature Trust.
After an introduction by Max Farrugia, Alan Knight told the audience that IAR had now been involved in animal welfare in Malta for fifteen years. He emphasised that the situation with illegal shooting in Malta was of international concern, as witnessed by the extensive coverage given to the issue by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper and the presence at the ceremony of the BBC. He spoke of the importance of continuing to work as a coalition with other groups in order to strengthen laws for wildlife and domestic animals in the country.
The Police Commissioner thanked International Animal Rescue and the Cassar family for the new boat and also thanked IAR for the donations of boat engines, boats and other equipment in the past. He said these were all gratefully received and presented gifts to Alan Knight and Greg Cassar in appreciation.
The Minister, Dr George Pullicino, said how delighted he was to be attending the ceremony and how pleased he was that the boat had been built in Malta. He stated that the donation of the boat highlighted the fact that the protection of the environment is not only the responsibility of the government, but a matter for us all. He also commented that the gift of the new boat is an example of how a charity not only criticises a situation, but also does something positive to change it. IAR has given a helping hand to effect change and support the valuable work that is being done by the police and the authorities to protect the environment.