This morning it was revealed on Facebook that two beautiful swans that lived at San Anton Gardens, Attard, have died. The swans lived in different ponds in different areas of the garden and water contamination is being excluded as a cause of death.
Here’s a chronological version of the facts known so far:
- San Anton Gardens fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism and is entrusted (including the welfare of the animals living there) to The Environmental Landscapes (ELC) Consortium.
- In the past it had already been highlighted by The Commissioner of Animal Rights that another competent authority (not ELC) should be appointed to take care of the animals in the garden. To date this recommendation has fallen on deaf ears.
- Due to COVID-19, San Anton was closed to the public around the 19th March
- Cat feeders who for years have voluntarily fed the cats twice a day were immediately denied entry by ELC management.
- After much drama and the intervention of many activists and people in authority, one cat feeder was granted access – the feeder was allowed a strict 15 minutes a day to feed all the cats in the garden.
- It soon transpired that 15 minutes was not enough to get the job done; firstly because the garden is huge and the cats are in different areas, but also because during feeding time the feeders were being surrounded by peacocks, ducks, pigeons and other birds, who seemed desperate for food and almost attacking the feeder.
- This was immediately highlighted to ELC management but our concerns were dismissed as pathetic.
- We were told over and over again that the birds were being fed enough and appropriately.
- A few days later, and again after many interventions by different activists and authorities the cat feeder’s time was extended to one hour per day.
- Although this was much better than the initial 15 minutes, one feed a day was still considered an unnecessary hardship on the cats who were used to being fed twice a day.
- Days passed, and animal lovers did not stop trying. We kept insisting that the birds were not being fed enough (because they were still acting desperate) and that a second feeding time for the cats was required to avoid unnecessary stress.
- On the 25th April, Gwida reported that the resident peacocks at San Anton had found their way out of the garden. To many this was highly suspicious because this happens very rarely and many suspected that they were out foraging for food (which they wouldn’t do if they were satiated). However, we were assured that this was normal behaviour and that ‘it happens’ sometimes.
- At one point, Animal Welfare conducted an inspection of the gardens and found nothing untoward.
- A few days later, thanks to the intervention of The Director of Animal Welfare and the Commissioner for Animal Rights, the cat feeders were granted a second hour to feed the cats at San Anton.
- This second hour did not apply on Public Holidays. So, on such days the cats would only be fed once.
- On the 1st of May, at the end of the feeding hour, the feeder spotted an elderly cat who was having an epileptic fit. She called the AW’s ambulance but was not allowed (by ELC management) to wait with the cat inside the garden until the ambulance arrived. She was told that her hour was up and she had to leave the cat and wait outside until the animal ambulance arrived.
- The cat was eventually taken to APH hospital, but did not make it.
- The next day, on the 2nd of May, The Commissioner for Animal Rights, conducted a surprise inspection at San Anton, and again found nothing that breaches the Animal Welfare Act.
- Sadly and quite mysteriously, during this whole saga, two swans died and another one seems to be missing. It is unknown where the remains are and no postmortem was conducted. ELC claim that these seemingly healthy swans died of natural causes.
- The above facts were not published by this website before today, in order to protect the cat feeders and not to jeopardize the time that they were granted to feed the cats at San Anton.
Whilst ELC seem to have complete and utter jurisdiction inside the gardens, these entities are also somewhat involved. You can help by chasing them for answers.