Chris Packham and St Albans photographer win award for Malta massacre campaign
PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 November 2014
Publicising the controversial and distressing mass shooting of migratory birds in Malta has resulted in an award for a St Albans wildlife photographer at the House of Commons.
Luke Massey was one of four campaigners, including television presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, to receive the Green Ribbon Award for best environmental campaign by the media.
Yesterday’s (Tuesday) Green Political Awards rewarded environmentally active parliamentarians, businesses, non-government organisations and media across the globe.
Luke, 23, flew to Malta with Chris, Ruth Peacey and Jez Toogood in April to highlight the annual “massacre” of migratory birds.
The team’s gruelling, self-funded 10-day trip resulted in them being involved in heated arguments and bearing the brunt of intimidatory behaviour from some hunters.
It also culminated in Chris being questioned - and later released without charge - for five hours by the police.
Chris told the Herts Advertiser he was stunned by the “sheer number” of birds being shot, and described the hunting as very distressing.
While hunters are legally allowed to shoot quail and turtle doves on migration during the spring season in Malta, they also kill many other species, such as kestrels and eagles.
Chris said it was “immensely flattering” to receive the environmental award, adding: “We were four individuals who saw crimes taking place and wanted to do what we could to help stop the massacre of migrating birds and support the majority of Maltese people trying to fight the strong hunting lobby in Malta.”
The campaigners created short daily video blogs, posted to YouTube, to highlight the widespread illegal hunting of migrating birds.
Luke, who filmed and photographed the hunting, said he was pleased the team’s efforts had resulted in publicising the birds’ plight, and put the spotlight on hunters’ practices in Malta.
He added: “Getting an award has been a bonus. It’s nice to get some recognition for the work we did. Our work has helped to put more pressure on the Maltese government.”
The island’s newspapers MaltaToday, The Times of Malta and the Malta Independent recently united to call for the abolition of spring hunting, described as a “festival of butchery” which resulted in the likes of flamingos, herons and storks being targeted by hunters.
Each spring exhausted migratory birds land in Malta to rest and feed.
More than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for a referendum on spring hunting.