But it did – on the 17th March, The President of Malta herself, distributed the money that was collected from Festa Citru (held in January) to animal welfare NGOs.
For some reason however, whilst similar MCCFF events are highly publicised with much pomp and circumstance, most of us didn’t hear a word about this one.
In fact, the event was kept so much under the radar that not even some very hardworking and struggling animal welfare NGOs were informed about it.
Neither were they informed that if they didn’t physically attend Festa Citru they would get a lesser cut than those NGOs which did.
A Google Search for this fund-distributing event brings up one result from TVM’s website, and I only learnt about it after several NGOs called me to let me know just how cheated they felt with the whole ordeal.
I have my own theory as to why this event was kept as low key as possible, but here are 10 facts to this story which will help you reach your own conclusions.
- On the 20th December 2017, a story on The Times of Malta revealed that animal welfare NGOs are not eligible for any funds raised by L-Istrina. Some of these NGOs had in fact attempted to apply for a share of the money but were unsuccessful.
- The Times of Malta story caused outrage amongst animal lovers, so a few days later, on the 30th December 2017, The President pledged to help animal NGOs by offering proceeds from the annual Citrus Festival in aid of animal welfare NGOs.
- At this point, anyone who had ever visited Festa Citru in the past, knew for a fact that whatever amount that could possibly be raised from the sale of oranges during this event, would be nowhere close to even the smallest fraction of a donation from L-istrina.
- Despite knowing that ‘we were being taken for a ride’ and that Festa Citru was just a smokescreen to ‘shut animal lovers up,’ with respect to other charities, animal NGOs lay low and said nothing not to sabotage L-Istrina.
- Almost three months later, on the 17th March, a quick and hasty event was organised by MCCFF during which a meagre €7,000 was distributed among 13 animal welfare NGOs.
- The event was so hasty that some animal welfare NGOs were not informed about it and hardly any press covered it.
- When the NGOs that were left out complained to the MCCFF, they were told that they were mistakenly left out and were then given €200 as a sign of good will.
- So at the end of the ordeal, 13 animal welfare NGOs got between €200 and €800 each depending on whether they attended the event or not.
- Just to put things in perspective, one very reputable NGO that got a mere €200 (because it was too busy cleaning up litter and tending to sick animals, to attend the event), needs €2000+ a month just to feed its strays, let alone vet and medical bills etc.
- And finally, also to put things in perspective, the last edition of L-Istrina raised 6 million Euro!