Animal Voice - January/February 2006
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
In This Issue:
01 Pet food company "will not be sponsoring" coursing event
The management of Irish Dog Foods Ltd has assured ICABS that they won't be sponsoring a coursing event at the national finals in Clonmel later this month. The Naas-based company has been thanked for responding positively to our appeal.
A report published this month on the Sporting Press website stated: "Irish Dog Foods Ltd are to sponsor the two new stakes to be run, circumstances permitting, at the forthcoming National Coursing Meeting. These competitions are for greyhounds beaten in the first round of the Derby and Oaks and which do not get drawn for the existing Stockproof Fencing Products TA Morris and Kitty Butler Stakes."
But when ICABS appealed to the company to withdraw as a sponsor of the blood sport, we were told by management that: "Irish Dog Foods (Madra, Supercat and Irish Rover) would like to inform you we will not be sponsoring the forthcoming event in Clonmel."
We have thanked the company for their positive response.
Contact Irish Dog Foods and thank them for not sponsoring coursing.
The Managing Director
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has urged the Paddy Power company to disassociate from hare coursing after learning that their website is currently accepting bets on the blood sport. The company has been told that hares continue to suffer and die during coursing.
ICABS has also invited company management to view video footage on our website which shows hares being battered into the ground by coursing greyhounds.
"According to official statistics from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, not a coursing season goes by without hares being injured and killed," we stated, "Coursing is inherently cruel from beginning to end and the act of snatching defenceless hares from their natural habitat for use as lures before dogs is utterly and indefensibly cruel."
Also highlighted to the Tallaght-based company was that coursing is now illegal in England, Scotland and Wales, has been stopped in Northern Ireland and is opposed by an 80 per cent majority of people in the Republic of Ireland.
Our hope is that Paddy Power will show compassion for the Irish Hare and stop associating with an activity which subjects this timid and fragile creature to blood sport abuse.
Please contact Paddy Power and ask them to stop accepting bets on coursing. Tell them that it is very disappointing that they are associating with a form of animal cruelty which 80 per cent of Irish people want outlawed.
Mr Patrick Kennedy
Tel: +353 (0)1 4045912
Dear Mr Kennedy,
I am writing to appeal to you as CEO of Paddy Power Plc to act to disassociate your company from the blood sport of live hare coursing.
I find it disappointing that Paddy Power is one of the very last remaining companies which choose to have anything to do with this cruel activity.
I call on Paddy Power plc to please stop accepting bets on hare coursing and to remove coursing content from your website.
I make this appeal as one of the 80 per cent majority of Irish people who want our government to follow the example of England, Scotland and Wales and ban this barbaric activity.
I very much hope that your company can show compassion and disassociate from coursing and I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.
Coursers trying to catch hares on Bord na Mona land have been told to bog off and leave the wildlife alone, ICABS has learned. The company has confirmed that its 85,000 hectares of peatland property is strictly off-limits to blood sports enthusiasts.
"For many years, Bord na Mona has declared its lands as being conserved for wildlife," a company spokesperson told ICABS, adding that "in recent years we prevented hare coursing enthusiasts from capturing hares on our bogs."
The shooting of wildlife is also banned on Bord na Mona land. The spokesperson explained that "in addition to the conservation issues, there is a significant safety issue for employees and others as bullets could travel considerable distance on our lands, given the generally flat nature of the terrain."
ICABS congratulates Bord na Mona for this pro-wildlife stance.
ICABS has renewed its appeal to Environment Minister, Dick Roche, to stop licensing hare coursing in Ireland. With the blood sport stopped in our neighbouring jurisdictions, it is now time for the Irish Republic to finally ban it also. Please follow our action item below and get as many others to do so too.
Please contact Environment Minister, Dick Roche, and demand an end to coursing in Ireland. Tell the Minister that hares should be allowed to live free from the cruelty of coursing. Please also contact your local TDs and urge them to work for an end to coursing and all blood sports.
Minister Dick Roche
Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
The Irish Hare Initiative has published an updated version of its report dealing with Capture Myopathy (Shock Disease) in hares. Capture Myopathy is a stress-induced condition and hares captured from the wild and used in coursing are among the animals most at risk. Also updated is the group's report entitled "The Impact of Enclosed Coursing on Irish Hares".
The reports can be viewed from the "Resource Directory" of the Irish Hare website or by clicking on the following links:
The Heritage Council is inviting applications for a Euro 1 million biodiversity fund aiming to help halt Ireland's decline in wildlife.
The fund will give priority to projects which assist the management of sites containing habitats of special conservation importance or which support threatened or vulnerable species. These include habitats and species listed in the EU Habitats and Birds Directives and those protected under national legislation.
The Heritage Council say that individuals, non-profit organisations and academic institutions are encouraged to apply and that they are particularly interested in receiving applications from offshore island communities and non-governmental organisations.
Closing date for applications is Friday, 10th February 2006 at 5pm. More details, including application form, are available on the Heritage Council website
"Pat Coyle of the Ward Union is still on his bike and will be for another week or so before the horses are called upon. He will be doing two or three drag lines a week after that. This drag is used as a training device for young hounds and to get them hunting fit, as he does not have the luxury of cubbing, like the foxhunters." (The Irish Field, September 10th, 2005)
"As hounds hunted a cub along my boundary fence the other evening, I remembered what a wonderful thing it is to be in Ireland now that autumn is here." (The Irish Field, September 10th, 2005)
"Some coursing owners already have been lucky enough to run their dogs at Irish Coursing Club meetings, including the Yorkshire Stake for sixteen English owned and trained entries at Cappoquin. The annual Anglo-Irish International between the Cork County Open Association and the Old Yorkshire Club takes place in December. The Sevenhouses meeting in Co Kildare on 14th & 15th January 2006 proposes to run a 32-runner Seamus Hughes International with sixteen places for Waterloo Cup nominators." (National Coursing Club website, November 2005)
"Lure racing is an enjoyable way of bringing old friends and dogs together. Successful meetings have been run already in Norfolk, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire, some for mixed breeds. The Yorkshire Greyhound Club has been formed specially for the purpose, and ensures that its meetings are open only to members of a coursing club, and that the greyhounds will run in their stud book names and ownerships." (National Coursing Club website, November 2005)
"Singer Sir Paul McCartney has said the 1942 Disney film Bambi inspired him to take an interest in animal rights. The former Beatle, 63, said the animated Disney film where the young deer's mother is shot by hunters, had an impact on him as a child. 'I think that made me grow up thinking hunting isn't cool,' he said." (BBC News website, 12 December 2005)
Please join us in appealing to the Northern Ireland authorities to put permanent protection for the Irish Hare in place.
Lord Jeff Rooker
Dear Lord Rooker,
I am writing to appeal to you to put in place permanent protection for the hare population in Northern Ireland.
There is great concern for the Irish Hare and, as one of the oldest species on the island of Ireland, it surely deserves full protection to safeguard its future.
I hope that you can urgently work towards making hare coursing and hare hunting illegal in Northern Ireland.
Thank you and best wishes.
Those who may have missed the BBC Radio 4 programme about UK hunters relocating to Ireland can now listen to it from the BBC website.
The half-hour long programme, entitled Hibernia Hunting, can be heard by clicking on the following link: Hibernia Hunting
Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture
Please join us in appealing to the Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, to give wild animals the same protection that is given to domestic animals. Tell the Minister that since all animals are capable of suffering, all animals should be protected from cruelty. Urge her to amend the Protection of Animals Act so that foxes and all wild creatures are protected from cruelty.
Minister Mary Coughlan
Appeal to the Environment Minister
Please contact Minister Dick Roche who has responsibility for the Wildlife Act. Urge him to amend the Wildlife Act so that foxes are given full protection from the cruelty of hunting with hounds.
Minister Dick Roche
Appeal to all Irish politicians
Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to replace foxhunting with the humane alternative - drag hunting. Write to all of your local politicians and ask them to express their opposition to this blood sport and work towards banning it. If possible, get your friends, family and workmates to contact them too.
Write to your TD at:
Write to your Senator at:
For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website at www.irlgov.ie.
In the December edition of Animal Voice, we highlighted how glue traps for mice and rats have been flooding into the Irish market. Since then, we have learned that these cruel devices are actually unlawful in Ireland. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has confirmed to ICABS that "glue traps, no matter what purpose they are used for, are not approved traps [and] it is therefore an offence to be in possession, use and or sell them. The offence is under section 34 of the Wildlife Act."
Please visit your local hardware stores, discount shops and pet supplies outlets to see if glue traps are being sold. If you spot the traps on sale, immediately notify the NPWS conservation ranger for your area. Please get in touch with us if you require the relevant name and contact details.
About glue traps: Glue traps are designed not to kill their victim mice and rats outright but to catch them in a sticky base where they will suffer a slow, lingering death. Veterinary surgeons who have condemned the traps have detailed how "there is much suffering by the entrapped animals - it is not a sudden or merciful death, but one brought on by starvation and thirst."
In a desperate bid to escape death, the doomed creatures frantically struggle to free themselves by pulling out their hair or even biting off their own limbs. If they don't die from these injuries or from suffocation due to their faces becoming stuck in the glue, they spend up to five days dying from starvation and dehydration.
ICABS wishes to thank everyone who supported our recent protest against hare coursing outside the grounds of Sevenhouses coursing club in Co Kilkenny.
The protest received considerable media coverage and helped to highlight the cruelty of coursing and the fact that coursers from the UK are now travelling to Ireland to abuse hares here.
If you are interested in attending future peaceful protests, please let us know now. Thank you.
ICABS has lodged a complaint with the National Parks and Wildlife Service over a grotesque bid by the Irish Coursing Club to amass hares for the coursing finals in Clonmel.
A notice on the Sporting Press website revealed that "the executive committee of the Irish Coursing Club has announced that all coursing clubs who supply five or more hares to this year's National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel will be entered in a draw for a prize of Euro2,000."
"It is most important that the hare stock available to the organising committee for the three-day event is of the highest quality...It is hoped that this prize will encourage more clubs to help make this happen," the statement added.
The winner of the raffle held at Clonmel's Hotel Minella (a coursing sponsor), was the Clonmel & Kilsheelan Coursing Club. The club's name was drawn from a hat by the town's Deputy Mayor, Richard Molloy.
ICABS has urged the Gardai in Garristown, Co Dublin to investigate a deer hunt-related incident. A disturbing report in the Fingal Independent (see below) detailed how the Ward Union chased a deer down the main street of the village. In a desperate bid to escape, the creature jumped over a wall, landed on a shop roof and scrambled away. The report quoted hunt chairperson, Oliver Russell, as saying that "it's not unusual for a deer to end up on the road." This prompted ICABS to renew our call on the Gardai to take action to keep the hunt off the roads in the safety interests of local road users.
The Manager of Fingal County Council has also been urged to join the call for the hunt to be kept off the roads. An appeal has been sent out to local councillors to support our efforts to convince Environment Minister, Dick Roche, to stop licensing the Ward Union.
The full text of the Fingal Independent (January 2006) article follows:
A stag is on the loose in rural Fingal after evading capture from a pack of hounds and mounted horses by legging it up the main street of Garristown and leaping off a shop roof.
The Irish Red Deer was being pursued by up to 60 mounted members of the Ward Union Hunt after being set free near Palmerstown last Friday, January 13.
Chairperson of the Ward Union Hunt, Oliver Russell said the de-antlered deer "took a fairly circuitous route and came in the back of Adamstown".
"It arrived in Garristown near the football pitch and went down the main road," Mr Russell said.
While Mr Russell was not there, he said he understood the deer then leaped over a wall and landed on a roof.
"He jumped a wall but there was a drop in the ground the far side and he landed on a low roof," he said, saying it was probably at the back of Gough's shop.
"He jumped off and skedaddled away ending up beyond the graveyard," Mr Russell said.
"It's not unusual for a deer to end up on the road but it is unusual to end up on a roof but there is no talk of damage to the roof or to the deer, it was seen heading on," he said.
Mr Russell emphasised that the hunt was licensed under the Wildlife Act and the stags remain unharmed, while an officer from the Department of the Environment is on hand to ensure is the case.
The hunters will now have to wait a month before given chase to the deer again, alternatively they can track it down and tranquillise it in order to bring it back to the enclosure.
Enable Ireland has assured ICABS that they are not connected to hunting.
The charity was responding to an article in the Kilkenny Voice (November 15th, 2005) which stated: "Kilkenny Farmers Hunt in association with Enable Ireland (The O'Neill Centre) present a race night where horses can be bought and bookies will accept bets."
ICABS urged the charity to act to prevent its good name from being associated with hunt activities. Replying, a spokesperson confirmed that "Enable Ireland Kilkenny has no direct links or association with the Kilkenny Farmers Hunt."
Enable Ireland is a leading national provider of services for people with disabilities and their families. Their 14 regional centres currently provide services for 3,000 children and adults.
The owner of Sligo's Markree Castle has stated that the venue will consider a complaint from an ICABS supporter when it comes to future advertising.
The complaint was lodged after a newspaper ad for the venue listed bird shooting as one of the attractions. The castle's website also states that "Deer Stalking is available in season on the Estate."
"We will consider your comments in relation to future advertising," castle owner Charles Cooper responded.
Stop this cruel blood sport now
Dear Sir - During the last season of the Ward Union-mounted deer hunt - the only one of its kind in this state - two deer were hounded to their deaths, one dying of an aortic aneurysm, and the other from fractured ribs, presumably from a fall during the hunt.
This was revealed to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports by the Department of the Environment, under the Freedom of Information Act.
Every Tuesday and Friday from October to mid-March, this Meath-based hunt subjects tame red deer to a terrifying ordeal, leaving them exhausted and at risk of injury and death as outlined above. Turned loose from a cart in unfamiliar terrain, the deer has an extremely hazardous route ahead. Crashing through hedges, over walls, through wire fencing, across busy public roads and even into rivers, the terrified creature does everything it can to stay ahead of the "cavalry" and its trained pack of dogs.
Veterinary inspectors from the Department of Agriculture are well aware of the cruelty involved and have reported incidents in the past such as a deer hanging by its front leg on barbed wire; a deer "accidentally" choked on capture, and a deer, having run eight miles in 90 minutes, showing extreme physical distress, panting through its mouth, with a lather of white foam around its muzzle.
We contend that this hunt is illegal and in contravention of the 1911 Protection of Animals Act in that it subjects the deer to terror and unnecessary suffering.
Yet, it is licensed under the Wildlife Act, by the Minister for the Environment, despite the fact that the deer are not wild animals. Indeed, the National Parks Regional Manager, in whose area this hunt operates, has made a strong case that it should not be licensed.
We called on Minister Dick Roche to make history and break the mould by refusing a licence for this abuse. We appealed to him to place the welfare of these innocent animals above the cruel and selfish demands of a thrill-seeking and apparently influential minority who could easily switch to drag hunting as a humane alternative. Sadly, our pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears and the deer continue to suffer.
It's not going to be easy to save our hares
Sir, The Irish hare may still be alive and kicking (Irish News November 5th) but it is with no thanks to Ronan Gorman and the coursing fraternity that he so fervently supports. The Irish hare Species Action Plan may be in place, however there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate what impact, if any, it has had on hare numbers. Three hare surveys go nowhere near to establishing the true picture of our native hare population and much more work needs to be done, a view endorsed by the surveys' authors. Hare numbers have plummeted over the last few decades and it will be some time before we know if this unique species will be cheating or meeting extinction.
If Mr Gorman was really in touch with the sector he claims to represent, he would know that many of those engaged in farming and field sports have seen little evidence of any significant hare recovery, much less a five-fold increase. There is a genuine concern within the rural community for the future of Irish hares but little appetite for coursing, an activity widely regarded with suspicion and disdain.
There is no solid evidence to support the claim that muzzling dogs has reduced hare fatalities. A hare's anatomy is not robust and fatal injuries continue to be inflicted by physical contact with the dogs. It is a matter of record that pregnant hares are caught for coursing, along with nursing mothers whose leverets are left to die from starvation in the wild. Significant numbers of hare deaths from stress-related illness while held in coursing compounds are well documented.
As to the claim that coursing clubs make a 'positive contribution' to hare conservation, Mr Gorman conveniently neglects to mention the Dungannon Coursing Club's failed attempt in the High Court to challenge the Irish hare Special Protection Order. The 'positive contribution' was pleaded before the Court by the coursing club, supported by Professor Montgomery whom Mr Gorman liberally quotes. Inevitably, this claim failed to stand up to scrutiny and the challenge was thrown out of court.
The Wildlife Order is currently under review and presents a positive opportunity for hare conservation by extending full statutory protection to this species. Effective legislation will underpin the efforts of genuine conservation groups who have the real interests of the Irish hare at heart. The Irish hare is arguably the oldest surviving mammal in Ireland. It was worshipped by the Celts and is truly part of our unique culture and heritage. Mr Gorman has a cheek to speak of the imported pastime of English park coursing, as practised by his coursing friends, in the same breath.
No justification for fox hunting (Extract)
I find it hard to believe that people are prosecuted for domestic animal abuse while foxhunters get away with terrorising and killing animals right in front of our very eyes. In the light of the progress made in England and Wales, it is time for our government to listen to the public voice. It is inevitable that, in a democracy such as this, the will of the majority will prevail.
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