Practical Issues > Things to do > Religion and Animals

Bird hunting: a Christian paradox?
Phil Humphries, Cheshire, UK

As a regular visitor to Malta, I am keen to widen my knowledge of Malta's language, culture and traditions as well as some of its apparent contradictions. With this in mind, I wonder if any correspondents might be kind enough to help me develop my understanding of bird hunting.

I am aware that hunting is a time-honoured tradition in Malta and I would genuinely like to know what becomes of the very many small birds that are trapped in nets every year. Are these birds caught for food, financial gain, companionship or merely for sadistic pleasure?

I look forward to reading the views of hunters who are able to express in words the pleasure they derive from shooting (not always killing) defenceless and often rare birds. These correspondents might also wish to proffer an opinion as to how they believe their selfish activity benefits mankind, the environment or even themselves.

Perhaps the minister responsible could explain why, despite being aware of the effect this mindless slaughter has on Malta's economy and reputation around the world, his government does little more than pay lip service to the illegal hunting problem?

Above all, I would like to hear from bird hunters who consider themselves to be God-fearing Christians. It is my hope that they can help me understand the paradox that allows faithful Christians to simultaneously oppose abortion and condone the killing of innocent animals for pleasure.

As we offer thanks to God for the life of Pope John Paul II, it is saddening to note that there are those among us for whom self-gratification counts far more than the Christian teachings and accumulated wisdom of the last 2005 years and I call upon animal murderers everywhere to examine the depth of their Christian conviction and think about the hypocrisy of their actions before they next set a trap or fire a gun.