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Malta’s national image at this point in time must be somewhat disjointed. Many people may consider our island a theocratic one, a nation teeming with devout Christians who relentlessly defend the authority of the church and live their life according to the word of the Bible. One which contrasts greatly with the way most of the media, both foreign and domestic, portray our island at this moment; as a barbaric country with little or no respect for animal rights. 

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The most recent scarring of our nation’s guise came only a few days ago, when a cowardly Mr. Joseph Galea, for whatever reason, decided to callously dump his 4-year old boxer, who became dubbed “Gaia” by the media, into a skip after first sealing her in a garbage bag. I am sometimes mystified as to how as a species, with such a capacity for love, we do not find it in ourselves to care for other species, especially ones that are so trusting and loving and we ourselves have opted to bring into our homes. 

People like that are everywhere in Malta and the reason for that is because there is no law that can really punish them for not doing these horrible things. Animals that are from Malta don’t have any rights what so ever and that leads to a lot of barbaric things. If you are an animal lover, then we would suggest that you don’t visit Malta because you will most definitely see some cruel things done to animals. In Malta when people get bored of their pets or animals, they just simply kill them or some people even skip that part and just bury them alive. 

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If this was an isolated event then it was a statistical inevitability that such a thing would happen, since we are not all tuned the same way. It may have even been played down as the doing of a man whose mental capacity was somewhat off-balance. However, there has been many an occasion where Malta has been cited for allowing animal cruelty to go unpunished. The Maltese government’s efforts to create more awareness and educate people on the matter have been lethargic, to say the least.

The idea that hunting is a human right is a contagion amongst the 50,000 or so hunters that litter the countryside, trudging along grasping shoot guns as though they own the place, hunting season or not. It is a well-known fact throughout Europe that Maltese hunters will indiscriminately shoot down anything that flies overhead, whether they plan to stuff it or simply as target practice. Only recently did hunters illegally shoot and kill two white storks over Hal Far. This was followed only a day later by an incident in Gozo, where hunters armed with shotguns gathered in the street after another stork was spotted resting atop a crane. This led to a ludicrously farcical situation, in which members of Birdlife Malta had to drive the bird away from our island to ensure its safety. 

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An even more horrific case was that of Star, whose Facebook page amassed over 50000 followers. This dog, also known as “Buttons” was bound, shot and then buried alive by her owner. This particular incident reached news agencies well beyond our shores; such was the atrocity of the act, reaching as far as Venezuela, Canada, and Australia. 

Birdlife Malta and other NGOs are quick to throw their arms up in the air and vociferously deplore these heinous acts, but you hear few, if any, cry foul as Assad persecutes all those who oppose his tyrannical rule. Hundreds are being murdered daily, but you’d never guess it when you watch the news. Syria hardly ever gets mentioned and little or no international pressure is exerted.

Why don’t these same people who cry out against animal cruelty, not muster the same courage and conviction to help their fellow man and why for that matter doesn’t anybody else? Even the media remain mute on the matter. Likewise, condemnation of the now-dead Muammar Gaddafi by the Maltese citizens only came about as a result of worldwide consensus. Only months before it was business as usual… whilst he was photographed grinning, shoulder-to-shoulder with the West’s leaders. 

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