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Press release - Saturday, 27 September 2014

Blow against illegal finch trade in Rabat

Unringed Greenfinch, offered in Rabat/MaltaUnringed Greenfinch, offered in Rabat/MaltaBird trappers have illegally offered Greenfinches for sale in the city centre of Rabat, approximately 50 metres away from the police station, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter said today. A CABS covert team – disguised as tourists – visited the place this morning and witnessed how birds have been offered for sale between 30 and 100 Euros each. “We saw about 20 cages with Greenfinches placed on a wall and many people standing around. We asked one of the men what he was doing and he answered that he is selling the birds”, said CABS volunteer Jonathan Blair. “When we saw that most of the birds had no rings we alerted the police”. A joint AFM/ALE patrol as well a MEPA official arrived at the scene within 20 minutes. The birds and their owners were brought to the Rabat police station where the men have been questioned.

According to Maltese law it is illegal to sell any finches without closed rings which prove that they are bred in captivity. CABS said it provided the police with the particulars of 4 of its volunteers who can testify that the birds have been offered for sale. The organisation announced that it will upload photos and video footage which show the unringed birds as well as one of the trappers confirming that he is selling them. “It is safe to assume that the birds have either been caught illegally on Malta or have been smuggled into the country”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld concludes. According to CABS the illegal trade with wild-caught finches is a big business on Malta with an estimated volume of several Hundred thousand Euros per year. “This has nothing to do with tradition, it is about making money”, Hirschfeld added. CABS also said that it has reported more than 20 bird trappers illegally operating in March and April this year. Most of them targeted Greenfinches.

Contact for photographic and video material and other information: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, Telephone +356 99554442 or Email to