Newsletter

Animal Voice - September 2005
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In This Issue:

01. Coursers get licence for 2005-06 season
02. Young Fine Gael defend hunting
03. Hunters granted tax exemption
04. Poundworld thanked for withdrawing mouse trap
05. Hunters may benefit from Stena's ferry discount
06. U-turn on "bad animal husbandry" response
07. Bulmers clarify sponsorship
08. Charity removes hunting from auction
09. Hunting fund pays out Eur4m to date in compensation
10. Bullring references in travel brochure
11. Argos asked to drop fur from catalogue - Campaign ended
12. Protest at caging of birds at Belvedere
13. Girl's pet cat ripped apart by foxhounds
14. Stop your coursing or we'll crush your car
15. Campaign quotes
16. "Gun club tribute to farm nut"
17. Ireland's "meat horse" trade exposed
18. Death of a young badger
19. Sign an anti-vivisection petition
20. Tesco stops selling whale meat in Japan
21. Coming Soon - Animal Voice Magazine

01. Coursers get licence for 2005-06 season

Despite appeals from Ireland and all over the world, the Environment Minister, Dick Roche, has issued another licence to the Irish Coursing Club. The licence will allow coursing clubs around the country to net thousands of hares from the wild and use them as lures for greyhounds during coursing meetings.

ICABS is very disappointed at the Minister's granting of this latest licence, particularly as the activity is now illegal in the UK and currently halted in Northern Ireland. The licence comes at a time when concerns about the status of the Irish Hare species are growing. In the last issue of Animal Voice, for example, we highlighted:

  • a Heritage Council description of the Irish Hare as a "declining species"
  • a senior UCD zoology lecturer indicating that the species may be "vulnerable to extinction"
  • the Ulster Wildlife Trust warning that coursing and hare hunting are among the threats which could prove the "final straw" for hares

Added to this was a recommendation by the Irish Hare Initiative that no further licences be issued for the capture of hares in Ireland (both jurisdictions) and an Irish Independent report which listed the Irish Hare as a threatened species. "Hunting has affected its numbers," the report stated.

But despite the concerns, and ongoing appeals from ICABS, coursing has been licensed for yet another year. Up to seven thousand hares will be removed from habitats around Ireland over the coming months. They will be kept in captivity for 6-8 weeks and trained to run up a field in preparation for the coursing meeting.

Some hares die while being captured from the wild in the coursers' nets and others succumb to disease and stress during the weeks in captivity before the start of coursing. Injuries sustained during coursing account for even more deaths - being delicate creatures, any hit from a greyhound can result in fatal internal injuries and broken bones. The ones which survive the trauma of being handled, transported and coursed and are finally released back into the wild, continue to remain vulnerable to capture myopathy - a stress-related condition which can claim victims suddenly or days and months later.

ICABS will, of course, be relaunching our anti-coursing campaign and imploring Minister Roche to make this the last ever year of coursing in Ireland.

Action Item

Please write to Minister Dick Roche to express your disappointment at the licensing of another year of hare coursing. Urge him to give a commitment that this will be the last ever year of coursing in Ireland.

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1

Tel: 01-8882403
Fax: 01-8788640
Email: minister@environ.ie

SAMPLE LETTER
(Please compose your own personal letter if possible. If you do not have time to do this, please send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Roche,

I am writing to express my great disappointment at the news that you have granted the Irish Coursing Club yet another licence to net thousands of hares from the wild.

I think it is most unjust and undemocratic that your department disregards the views of 80 per cent of the Irish population by continuing to license this blood sport.

Yours sincerely,

Name/Location

02. Young Fine Gael defend hunting

ICABS has expressed its deep disappointment to the president of Young Fine Gael after learning that the organisation is defending blood sports.

At their national conference last November, a motion was passed stating that "Young Fine Gael is committed to the preservation of the rights of foxhunters and other such rural bloodsports".

In a letter to YFG President, Patrick O'Driscoll, ICABS condemned the policy, saying that it was particularly disappointing now that foxhunting and other blood sports have been banned in neighbouring jurisdictions.

The pro-blood sports motion was presented to conference delegates by the organisation's Social Affairs Committee.

YFG Vice-president, Elizabeth Munnelly, confirmed to ICABS that the motion was passed and remains as an official policy.

She maintained that "much debate and discussion" had taken place on the motion and that "it was stressed that regulations in this regard must be strictly implemented and enforced."

ICABS is currently preparing a submission to Young Fine Gael in an effort to persuade them to reverse this incredible policy. Our presentation will show how animal cruelty is integral to foxhunting and that regulations will do nothing to eliminate the suffering. Only a complete ban will achieve this.

Action Item

Express your disappointment to YFG about their pro-hunt policy. Suggest that they condemn those who terrorise wildlife instead of seeking to defend their "rights". Ask for this policy to be urgently scrapped.

Pa O'Driscoll, YFG President
c/o Fine Gael HQ
51 Upper Mount St, Dublin 2
Email: paodriscoll@gmail.com
Tel: 086-8113109

03. Hunters granted tax exemption

ICABS has learned that several hunting and shooting groups are currently enjoying exemption from tax.

This sickening revelation appears on the Irish Revenue's website in a list of 1,492 sporting bodies granted tax exemption under Section 235 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997.

As of August 2005, this list contains seven hunts and three gun clubs. The hunts are: Carbery Hunt, County Limerick Hunt Club, Fingal Harrier Hunt, Laois Hunt Club Limited, Shillelagh And District Hunt Club Limited, The Island Hunt Limited and United Hunt Club. The gun clubs are: Clare Gun Club, Skibbereen & District Gun Club and St Hugh's Gun Club.

In an email to ICABS, a Revenue spokesperson confirmed that all were exempt from tax. They qualified for the exemption, he said, because they are "established for and exist for the sole purpose of promoting an athletic or amateur game or sport and their entire income is applied solely for that purpose".

According to related Revenue documents, games and sports bodies may be eligible for exemption from Income Tax, Corporation Tax and Dividend Withholding Tax. Relief from Capital Gains is also available on gains made by sports bodies.

No definition is given in the Taxes Consolidation Act to clarify what constitutes games or sports. However, in a letter to the Irish Revenue, ICABS pointed to the Finance Act, 1932 which appears to define them as being "ordinarily played or contested out-of-doors by two or more persons or by two or more groups of persons and [which] do not involve the use or participation of horses, dogs, or other animals or the use of mechanically propelled vehicles".

ICABS is disgusted that among those enjoying tax exemption are groups involved in terrorising and killing Irish wildlife. We have urged the Revenue Commissioners to stop giving consideration to such applications.

Action Item

Please join us in appealing to the Revenue Commissioners to disregard future applications from any group involved in killing animals for sport.

Revenue Commissioners
Games & Sports Exemption Section
Government Offices,
Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
Tel: 067-44181
Fax: 067-32916
Email: sportexemp@revenue.ie

04. Poundworld thanked for withdrawing mouse trap

ICABS has thanked the Poundworld chain of shops for withdrawing an inhumane mouse trap from sale.

The "Mouse & Insect Glue Traps" were being sold in Poundworld branches around the country but when ICABS highlighted the cruelty of the traps, the company's head office promptly assured us that they would be taken off the shelves.

A Poundworld spokesman stated: "I have instructed our managers to withdraw the Mouse and Insect Glue Traps from sale. I agree totally with your comments. The traps were bought over the phone as "Mouse Traps" from one of our suppliers. I was not made aware that they were of the glue type."

ICABS thanks Poundworld for this positive response.

We now call on members of the public to check other discount chains and hardware shops to see if the traps are available elsewhere. If you spot glue traps for sale, please tell the manager about the animal suffering they cause and appeal for them to be withdrawn.

For those not familiar with glue traps, the aim is to catch the mouse in a gluey base from which it has no escape. The unfortunate creature is not killed outright but instead slowly dies over a number of days.

Information presented on the In Defense of Animals website, explicitly outlines the animal suffering which glue traps can cause. It states:

"A 1983 test that evaluated the effectiveness of glue traps found that trapped mice struggling to free themselves would pull out their own hair, exposing bare, raw areas of skin. The mice broke or even bit off their own legs, and the glue caused their eyes to become badly irritated and scarred. After three to five hours in the glue traps, the mice defecated and urinated heavily because of their severe stress and fear, and quickly became covered with their own excrement. Animals whose faces become stuck in the glue slowly suffocate, and all trapped animals are subject to starvation and dehydration. It takes anywhere from three to five days for the mouse to finally die. This is nothing less than torture."

Veterinary surgeons who condemned the traps are quoted on the website. One states that "there is much suffering by the entrapped animals - it is not a sudden or merciful death, but one brought on by starvation and thirst." Another says: "Because all mammals have similar nervous systems, they are capable of experiencing the same type of pain and suffering. Thus, rodents suffer as much as any other mammal and are capable of being traumatized and abused."

05. Hunters may benefit from Stena's ferry discount

Hunters affected by the British blood sports ban may be among those to benefit from a ferry company discount. Stena Line, which operates five ferry routes from the UK to Ireland, is currently offering members of the Countryside Alliance a 10 per cent discount.

Countryside Alliance campaigns for the continuance of "country sports" which, they state, are "central to our vision for a sustainable countryside". Among those on the board of Countryside Alliance Ireland is Jerry Desmond of the Irish Coursing Club.

In a letter to Stena's head office in Sweden, ICABS expressed our objection to this discount. We also asked what their policy is in relation to hare coursing, foxhunting and other cruel pursuits.

"These activities are now illegal in England, Scotland and Wales," we stated. "Stena Line's discount could act as an incentive for those involved in blood sports to travel to Ireland where they unfortunately remain legal."

We added that since the majority of Irish people are opposed to blood sports, it very probable that a majority of the company's Irish-based customers would also object to the discount.

In a reply from the company's Dun Laoghaire office in August, Communications & PR Manager, Eamonn Hewitt stated: "To my knowledge none of the pursuits [which CA are involved in] are illegal in Ireland...In no way do we condone cruelty to animals nor do we see our offer to Countryside Alliance as support or subsidisation of blood sports."

Action Item

Please ask Stena to stop offering discounts which could encourage hunters to come to Ireland to kill our wildlife.

SAMPLE LETTER
(Please compose your own personal letter if possible. If you do not have time to do this, please send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Joakim Kenndal
Stena Line, Head office
SE-405 19 Goteborg, Sweden.
Tel: +46(0)31 85 81 80
Fax: +465 (0)31 24 10 38
Email: info@stenaline.com

Eamonn Hewitt, PR Manager
Stena Line, The Ferry Terminal
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.
Tel: 01-2047617
Fax: 01-2047630
Email: eamonn.hewitt@stenaline.com

Dear Sir,

I object to the discount being offered by Stena Line to Countryside Alliance. This organisation campaigns in favour of "country sports" (also known as blood sports) such as foxhunting and hare coursing. They state that these activities are "central to our vision for a sustainable countryside".

As one of the majority of Irish citizens who wish to see hare coursing and foxhunting banned, I find it very disappointing that Stena is offering discounts to Countryside Alliance members. Furthermore, I feel it is inappropriate for Stena to associate with any group which defends activities that are illegal in part of your route network.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

Name/Location

06. U-turn on "bad animal husbandry" response

In a past edition of Animal Voice, we reported how 40 hares died following a coursing meeting in New Ross in 2003, with a veterinary surgeon citing stress as the cause.

"Under the influence of stress, the hare's immune system is compromised," stated veterinary surgeon, Peter Murphy, in a letter to the National Parks & Wildlife Service. "Hares being normally solitary animals are significantly stressed when corralled and coursed, and this combination of circumstances has resulted in the deaths in this case."

The death of the hares lead to the NPWS Regional Manager for the New Ross area, Eamonn Meskell, recommending that the Wexford & District Coursing club should be excluded from holding a meeting in December 2004.

In a memo to the National Director of the NPWS, Dr Alan Craig, he stated that "it appears that in this instance bad animal husbandry was displayed." It was subsequently decided that this club should be refused a licence by the NPWS and they were advised accordingly.

However, the club appealed the decision, and Dr Craig relented, agreeing to a scaled down event. He was, he said, "satisfied that the very uniqueness of the outcome (ie the deaths of 40 hares) meant that it could not have been predicted".

But what must have been clear to all and sundry is that hares were sick over the 2 day coursing meeting, with the Conservation Ranger who monitored the event stating that "it was obvious that the hares were not in good condition."

He recorded that eleven hares were hit by dogs on the first day of coursing with six dead the following morning. The next day it was the same, with hares "not willing" to run and four being hit by the dogs.

It seems abundantly clear to ICABS that it was observed on day 1 that the hares "were not in good condition" and yet, the meeting went ahead on day 2 with nobody crying halt.

So why didn't the NPWS prosecute the Wexford & District club for this apparent breach of a licence condition? After all, the licence granted to the coursers states unequivocally that "hares that become sick or injured while in captivity may not be coursed." This question is one which the NPWS needs to urgently answer.

Action Item

Contact Dr Craig and ask him why the Wexford & District Coursing Club were not prosecuted for apparently breaching licence condition number 9 at a coursing meeting in December 2003. Cite the evidence of the conservation ranger as outlined above.

Dr Alan Craig
Director, NPWS
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-6472342
Lo-call: 1890 20 20 21
Email: acraig@duchas.ie

07. Bulmers clarify sponsorship

Drinks company, Bulmers, has told ICABS that they did not sponsor the Countryside Alliance's 2005 Game Fair and Country Festival.

We were prompted to contact the Clonmel-based company after reading a notice on the Countryside Alliance website which stated:

"Countryside Alliance Ireland wishes to thank all those who supported our Game Fair and Country Festival at Powerstown Park this year, especially our exhibitors and visitors and particularly our sponsors, Massbrook Kennels, Barbour, Feedwell and Bulmers. This support will enable us to continue to campaign on your behalf."

In a letter to ICABS, Bulmers' Managing Director, Brendan McGuinness, stated that although the company had sponsored the Irish Angling "Fly tying" championship in 2004 and 2005, they were not a sponsor of the Game Fair and Country Festival.

08. Charity removes hunting from auction

A big thank you to the Irish Horse Welfare Trust for removing a day's hunting from their forthcoming fundraising auction.

The Star newspaper revealed on 6th September that among the items up for auction by the charity was a "day's hunting with jockey Paul Carberry".

But when ICABS drew attention to the animal cruelty involved in hunting, the IHWT announced that the hunt outing would be removed from the auction.

As well as cruelty to the animals being chased, hunts are also responsible for suffering to horses. To illustrate this, we quoted a hunter as saying: "I'd need four horses to keep me going for the season, between horses getting cut and broke down and whatever, and the same with the joint master - he's after wrecking three horses this year, and the whipper-in - I suppose he has seven or eight or them wrecked."

Paul Carberry's involvement with the controversial Ward Union deerhunt has been documented in the past. In March 2003, the Irish Independent highlighted how "a collision with a stag while hunting with the Ward Union on Tuesday is likely to sideline champion jockey Paul Carberry until next week" while a GG Racing report in March 2005 told of how Carberry "missed his rides after taking a heavy fall while out hunting with the Ward Union Hunt".

The IHWT is a Wicklow-based charity and their work involves rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing horses and ponies. They also raise awareness about equine welfare and campaign against the export of Irish horses for their meat.

09. Hunting fund pays out Eur4m to date in compensation

A compensation fund formed by the National Association of Regional Game Councils has paid out nearly 4 million Euro, ICABS has learned.

According to details supplied on the shooting organisation's website, the fund was formed in 1984 and has handled over 975 claims to date.

The claims relate to a range of incidents - from what NARGC call "minor occurrences like dogs colliding with motorcars or killing sheep" (ICABS doubts that the motorists or farmers would view them as minor) to "more serious incidents like accidental bodily injury and even fatalities".

The fund has amassed assets approaching 5.5 million Euro, we are told, and the ceiling of indemnity it provides for each claim is 7 million Euro. Although initially viewed with "some general scepticism", the fund is said to have now "gained wide acclaim" and is accepted as a valid provider of liability protection by, for example, the government, the Department of Defence, Coillte, ESB, IFA, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association and Bord na Mona.

In a description of the fund, a disturbing insight is given into the type of incidents shooters can cause while out with their guns.

The NARGC website states: "The scope of protection in simplistic terms protects members for third party and/or member-to-member liability arising in the course of their shooting activities while using a shotgun or rifle and pursuing any game or pest species or while involved in clay target shooting.

"In addition, members are protected if their dog causes injury or damage to persons or property, e.g. bites someone or, while on a public road without a lead (unlawful in itself), collides with a motor vehicle or perhaps knocks someone off a bicycle.

"In addition, members are protected for liability arising from poison laying activities (vermin control) or the use of a lamp at night (fox shooting)."

In an online Accident Report Form, subscribers to the fund are requested to submit details of the incident, including: how long they have been shooting, the name and age of gun involved, the distance from target and in the case of a dog attack incident, the breed, age and sex of the dog involved.

Is it any wonder that so many Irish landowners are now telling hunters of all kinds to stay off their property?

10. Bullring references in travel brochure

A travel company offering an "Irish Christmas & New Year in Spain" trip has been asked to remove bullring references from its brochure.

On the excursion programme page of the brochure, Lancashire-based Enjoy Travel states that a panoramic tour of Seville "includes the bullring, the Maostranza Theatre, Gold Tower, America Square and Maria Louisa Park." In a description of Mijas, it is mentioned that the village has "the country's only square bull ring".

In a letter to the company in July, ICABS outlined that bullrings in Spain's holiday spots survive thanks to ticket sales to unsuspecting tourists. "We appeal to your company to drop these references to bullfighting in your brochure," we said.

Responding to our appeal, Enjoy Travel's Managing Director, Gerry Flynn stated: "This company has never promoted any kind of bloodsport. We do not condone bloodsports."

Action Item

Ask Enjoy Travel to refrain from mentioning bullrings in future editions of its brochure. Also appeal to them to consider eliminating the bullring from the Seville excursion.

Enjoy Travel
Glenfield Business Park
Blakewater Road
Blackburn
Lancashire BB1 5QH

Tel: 00 44 1254 692899
Fax: 00 44 1254 693075
Email: info@enjoytravel.co.uk

11. Argos asked to drop fur from catalogue

Campaign ended.

Argos was asked to stop selling items containing fur in response to a listing in their current catalogue which refers to "mink fur and satin throws". ICABS is happy to report that the company has clarified that the fur is not real mink fur. They have also modified the product description on their website from "Large Mink Fur and Satin Throw" to "Large Faux Fur and Satin Throw - Mink".

In a reply to an ICABS supporter, Argos stated: "Please be aware that Argos are strongly against the use of real fur products and we would not contemplate selling such products. The item in question and any other fur looking products are in fact...made from faux, a man made product."

12. Protest at caging of birds at Belvedere

ICABS turned down an invitation to attend a Birdwatch Ireland-organised event held in Mullingar in May.

The guided walk through the grounds of Belvedere House and Gardens was part of a nationwide Dawn Chorus Day event to promote the beauty of birdsong.

ICABS declined the invitation from Westmeath County Council's Heritage Officer in protest at the caging of birds at Belvedere.

A recently opened falconry centre at the venue sees some of nature's most magnificent birds incarcerated. We find the sight of any bird being denied flight to be very depressing.

Among the birds on show are eagles, hawks, owls and falcons. We understand that the only opportunity they get to fly is during daily demonstrations.

Disturbing photographs taken at the centre, show the birds with a short restraint attached to their legs. At feeding time, they sit on perches eating dead day-old chicks (by-products of factory farming).

When we reported the situation to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, we were told that the operators of the falconry centre had been issued with a licence to keep the birds in captivity.

"We think it is ironic that the Dawn Chorus event which celebrates the beauty of birds is being held at a venue which finds it acceptable to keep birds in captivity," ICABS stated in a letter to Birdwatch Ireland. We appealed to the bird conservation group to join us in an appeal to the management of Belvedere House to scrap the falconry centre.

Action Item

Please write to Belvedere House management to express your views on the keeping of birds in captivity. Please send a copy of your letter to Westmeath County Council.

Bartle D'Arcy, General Manager
Belvedere House, Mullingar,
Co Westmeath.

Tel: +353 (0)44-49060.
Fax: +353 (0)44-49002
Email: info@belvedere-house.ie

Cllr Mark Nugent
Cathaoirleach, Westmeath County Council
Carrick, Dalystown,
Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
Email: mnugent@westmeathcoco.ie

13. Girl's pet cat ripped apart by foxhounds

An eight-year-old girl was left in tears after she learned that her beloved pet cat, Mitzi, was ripped apart by a pack of hunt hounds.

The appalling incident took place on St Patrick's Day when hounds from the Banbridge-based Iveagh Hunt ran riot in a residential area in Lurgan, Co Down.

The vicious attack was witnessed by local children out playing. They were horrified to see the dogs coming into a back garden, descending on the cat and mauling it to death. The Belfast Telegraph reported that the youngsters "saw the dogs in a complete frenzy and heard the squeals of the cat as she was attacked".

In a report in the Lurgan Mail, an official of the hunt tried to dismiss the eye witness account of what occurred. He was quoted as saying that "it's only children who saw it", as if their word didn't matter

The Iveagh Hunt's bad behaviour didn't stop there, according to the newspaper report. They also allegedly trespassed on to farm land. The son of a local farmer told the paper how the hunt "ploughed through the fields and pulled down fence posts".

"[They] came up here and opened all the gates and yards," he went on to say. "A cow and a calf at my father's yard just down the road escaped for about an hour. They left mud all over the roads and then just left."

Meanwhile, an Iveagh Hunt joint master and Ronan Gorman of Countryside Alliance attempted to pour oil on troubled waters.

The latter claimed that "the hounds wouldn't ordinarily chase a cat never mind attack." And he carried on in this incredible vein, stating that "When in full cry, which isn't frequently, [hounds] are obviously difficult to call back. The cat must have run across their path." Added to this was another outrageous statement from the hunt's joint master who declared that "the hounds are not vicious, they're just like any other pet."

As for their claims that foxhounds are pets and attacks like this are rare, this is certainly not the case. Foxhounds are trained to hunt as a pack and kill. There are several documented cases of hunt hounds attacking domestic pets. In 2002, for example, we reported in Animal Watch how a sheep dog was viciously attacked by hunt hounds in Galway. The dog survived, miraculously, but suffered severe injuries.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, an apology from the Iveagh hunt was subsequently issued for the cat killing.

But, of course, it was no consolation to the distraught girl whose pet suffered the same fate as that of the wildlife which normally fall victim to packs of hounds.

Her mother, Audrey Spence, described the gruesome state of the unfortunate cat as follows: "Its legs were pulled off, head pulled off, and insides ripped out."

Responding to the incident, the Ulster SPCA's CEO, Stephen Philpott, renewed the group's call for a hunt ban.

"The need for a total ban on hunting with dogs has been brutally outlined by the obscene spectacle of a child's pet being torn to shreds in the sanctuary of an urban garden," he stated.

The demand for a hunt ban was echoed by Ms Spence. She said: "Before this, hunting would not have annoyed me but now, I can't tolerate it at all. It is an absolutely disgusting, cruel sport that should be banned immediately."

14. Stop your coursing or we'll crush your car

Police in England have dealt a crushing blow to the country's remaining hare coursers.

Since the introduction of the UK-wide ban on the blood sport earlier this year, chasing hares with hounds is now strictly illegal. And to emphasise their zero-tolerance policy, a police force in Cambridgeshire is leading the way in the campaign to net coursing criminals. They have warned that anyone caught terrorising hares risks having their vehicle impounded - and destroyed!

Officers from the force recently had the opportunity to demonstrate their determination to "do everything within our power to make life very difficult" for the coursers. A car impounded by the courts as part of "Operation Dornier" was brought to a scrap yard and crushed beyond recognition.

Photos supplied to ICABS by Cambridgeshire Constabulary show the coursers' car before and after the crushing machine went to work on it.

The arresting series of images aims to convey to coursers that when they're caught, they can expect to walk away from court with a hefty penalty.

"We want to make it clear to the people involved in illegal hare coursing that the activity will not be tolerated in Cambridgeshire," Inspector Richard Lowings stated. "Police are continually gathering intelligence against these people, by liaising with the local community and surrounding police forces to build cases against the illegal coursers."

Though the Dornier team comprises a dedicated ground force as well as a helicopter with on-board video surveillance equipment, they rely on the vigilance of local landowners and members of the public to initially expose the coursers.

"We continue to encourage members of the rural community to report all incidents of illegal hare coursing to provide us with information and intelligence to assist us in our aim of disrupting an activity that has a serious impact on rural communities," Inspector Lowings commented.

"We encourage the use of the 999 emergency number when members of the rural communities feel frightened or terrorised by hare coursers who are currently on their land or property."

Since its launch in September 2004, the anti-coursing operation has led to at least 191 people being reported for summons. In addition to the car crushing, other penalties issued included forfeiture orders on cars and dogs, driving bans (for both driver and passengers) and fines of up to 650.

ICABS has congratulated the Cambridgeshire Police on the success of their pro-hare campaign. We have forwarded details to Garda HQ in Dublin and suggested that they consider replicating the operation in rural Ireland in the future.

15. Campaign quotes

"I have no doubt there will be more people from Britain seeking to course here. However it will be a matter of finding room for them as there is already a huge demand for places at present meets." (Jerry Desmond, chief executive of the Irish Coursing Club, Sunday Times, February 2005).

"One regular face missing from this group was that of Anne Byrne and the reason is simple, it's badly injured! Out with the Fingals on the Tuesday before Christmas, Anne received serious facial injuries when, queuing for a ditch, her mount reared up, slipped and came down on his rider. Fortunately, it was just the horse's neck which hit Anne but she suffered two broken cheekbones, a smashed eye socket, damaged nose and teeth." (Irish Field, January 8th, 2005)

"Country sports are not the be-all and end-all of the answer to rural sustainability but they are a very important part of it...Yet, regrettably, those many ordinary rural communities who espouse country sports now face entrenched bias and increasingly active political threats - especially against hunting." (Countryside Alliance website, September 2005)

"Hounds are to be exhibited by Hunt staff in Hunt uniform. No responsibility will be accepted...for any injury or damage caused by a hound while in the showgrounds." (Foxhound show notice on the website of the Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock Show, August 2005)

"'Prestigious' is hardly a word to attribute to the barbaric 'sport' of hare coursing, but, incredibly, that is how it was described in last week's Village. In a report on horse racing at Clonmel, it was stated that the race-course is host to 'one prestigious three day event...the annual coursing festival'. This three day cruelty fest is the culmination of four months of terror and suffering inflicted on the Irish hare." (Aideen Yourell, Letter to the Editor, Village Newspaper, 9-15 September 2005).

16. "Gun club tribute to farm nut"

That's the headline of an article which appeared in the Irish Sun of 7th September 2005. The text of the article follows:

"A killer who shot dead a dad before turning his weapon on himself, was buried yesterday-with a guard of honour from his gun club. Married Jim Healy was killed by crazed Michael Kehoe, 39, in a feud over a farm field in Coolyhune, South Carlow.

"St Mullins Gun Club members carried out the salute for Kehoe's Mass at Glynn Church Carlow. He was buried next to his parents.

"Fr Edward Aughney vowed to pray for both families and urged mourners to do the 'Christian thing' whenever possible. Jim, who leaves wife Yvonne and eight-year old son James was buried in Paulstown near his home in Garryduff. He worked in IT and consultancy."

17. Ireland's "meat horse" trade exposed

A horse welfare group is demanding an end to a cruel trade which sees thousands of Irish horses being sent abroad to be killed for meat.

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust is asking members of the public to sign an online petition which calls on the government to ban the trade.

"In Ireland there is currently no legislation to protect our horses from live export for slaughter," the group outlines. "We are campaigning to uphold and enforce the existing state policy against the export of live horses for slaughter and to ensure that this policy is included within any new proposed EU legislation."

The horse meat trade has been operating for years, they reveal on their website, pointing out that it "involves the systematic export of live horses from Ireland to Britain in a way that is cruel and ignores EU legislation". The doomed horses include retired racehorses and, presumably, horses used by hunts.

"Despite the fact that Ireland prides itself on its love of horses and its sport horse industry, the state seems uncaring and unwilling to look after the welfare of these animals even to the extent of what is within the laws for their protection," the group adds.

Those who support a ban on this deplorable trade can sign the petition up until October 1st 2005 at: www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/902244879?ltl=1126182696

18. Death of a young badger

She was a soft target from the start. The young sow, possibly one of last year's cubs, lay exhausted in the wire snare that now pulled tightly around her hind quarters.

She had spent many hours during the night trying to free herself. Her night's work was clear to anyone passing by. The fresh mud that covered her striped face bore testimony to her gallant efforts. The loose earth, softened after the previous day's torrential rain was scattered around the perimeter of the hole she had been excavating. It was her final bid to free herself of the snare, but it had all been in vain.

Now she had given up, too tired and too weary to go any further. Instinctively, she knew her life was over. She lay with her head resting on one of her front paws and awaited the shot that would end her young life. Her small carcass would then be bagged, tagged and casually tossed into the back of the trapper's vehicle along with the rest of the morning's carcasses and taken away for autopsy.

Far from being an illegal wire snare, set by the local lowlife, this was in fact a very legal and sanitised exercise.

Ireland's Department of Agriculture and Food had secured the necessary licence from The National Parks and Wildlife Service to snare and shoot badgers.

Now she was merely one more badger to be added to the list of almost 50,000 casualties that the Department have killed over the past 15 years or so for their alleged role in the spread of TB to cattle.

Later that morning passers-by would halt and look at the spot. Among the bluebells and primroses, the sunshine picked out the small pool of blood in the clay. It told its own tale on that summer morning in May, 2005.

Thanks to Bernie Barrett of Badger Watch Ireland for this article. Visit the Badger Watch website for more information on badgers in Ireland. To sign a "Stop the badger snaring" petition, visit our Petitions page.

Action Items

Write to the Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, asking her to immediately stop this terrible assault on the badger - a "protected species" in Ireland, believe it or not!

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2

Tel: 01-6072000
Lo-call 1890-200510
Email: mary.coughlan@oireachtas.ie

Demand that Minister Dick Roche immediately intervenes and refuses to issue further licences for the snaring of badgers.

Minister Dick Roche Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Custom House Dublin 1

Tel: 01-8882403
Fax: 01-8788640
Email: minister@environ.ie

19. Sign an anti-vivisection petition

The Irish Vivisection Society is asking people to sign their online petition which is calling on the Minister for Health to make it illegal to experiment on primates in Ireland.

Although the Department of Health says that "it is the practice in Ireland not to licence [experiments] involving the use of primates", the fear is that until legislation is passed to outlaw such experiments, primates could possibly be used in the future.

The petition can be signed at: www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/393276636?ltl=1124145859
or by clicking on "Support Us" at www.irishantivivisection.org

Did you know? Over 52,000 animals were used for vivisection in Irish laboratories in 2002. The Department of Health publishes statistics each year which give a breakdown of the species and numbers of animals used in experiments in Ireland. However, thousands more animals are bred and killed simply because they are surplus to requirement, or were the wrong sex or genetic make up for a particular experiment. An estimated 20,000 animals die EVERY HOUR in laboratories around the world.

20. Tesco stops selling whale meat in Japan

In the September 2004 edition of Animal Voice, we reported that Japanese supermarket chain, C-Two Network, was selling whale meat. Tesco, which owns a 95 per cent share in the company, stated at the time that "we respect local [Japanese] culture in the same way that we would expect our culture to be respected if the roles were reversed."

ICABS is delighted to now report that C-Two Network is no longer selling whale meat. According to a statement on the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) website, Tesco made the decision "due to a lack of customer demand".

"After EIA investigations revealed Tesco was selling whale meat in at least 45 supermarket stores in Japan, we joined forces with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Greenpeace, and met with Tesco representatives on two occasions [in 2004] to persuade them to stop selling whale meat in Japanese supermarkets," the EIA statement outlines. "Tesco took its decision to stop selling these products shortly after the second meeting, and indicated that it had immediately stopped purchasing whale meat."

Thanks to all the ICABS supporters who wrote to Tesco's Irish and English offices to object to the sale of the whale meat.

21. Coming Soon - Animal Voice Magazine

Over the coming weeks, ICABS will be publishing the Autumn 2005 issue of Animal Voice (print edition). If you are not currently an ICABS subscriber, please consider subscribing now to ensure that you receive a copy of the magazine. If you require additional copies to give to friends, please let us know how many you will require and we will send them to you on publication. Thank you for your continued support.

Subscriptions/donations

Please become a supporter of ICABS. Annual rates are just 15 Euro (Individual), 20 Euro (Family) and 8 Euro (Unwaged). Please contact us for the relevant form or download it directly from: www.banbloodsports.com/subsform.htm

Thank you to those who have sent in a subscription/donation in recent months.


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