Animal Voice - December 2006
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
In This Issue:
01. Christmas Message
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports wishes all its supporters a happy and peaceful Christmas. We thank you for your campaigning efforts and support throughout 2006 and look forward to your continued dedication to the campaign in 2007. Together, we will carry on making a difference for Irish animals.
To coincide with International Day for Animal Rights, the Animal Rights Action Network is holding an animal welfare rally on Sunday, December 10th, 2006. If you wish to express your concern for animals in Ireland, you are invited to meet up with ARAN and other animal welfare groups/supporters at 1pm sharp at the Garden of Remembrance (Parnell Square, Dublin City) and join a peaceful march to Dail Eireann.
"We need you to support this event by being in Dublin for the rally, regardless of where you live in Ireland," commented rally organiser, John Carmody. "We can only make this a success with your attendance on the day so please don't let anything stop you from being there for the animals."
For more details, see www.aran.ie or phone ARAN on 087-6275579.
Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, has expressed his admiration for the active supporters of ICABS whose efforts are helping to secure a safer future for Ireland's animals.
"I commend your courage and dedication and those of the front line people in the Irish Council Against Blood Sports who have kept the hope alive for all of us who want to see the end to cruelty," Mr Sargent stated in a recent letter.
He stressed that his party's commitment to bringing blood sports to an end is as strong as ever.
"The Green Party is completely opposed to violence and cruelty to animals and as we campaign to take enough seats so that we can have a role in the next government we will do everything in our power to end these cruel activities."
ICABS is very grateful for this continued support and we hope that the Green Party secures a strong position in the next government. For more info on the Green Party, visit www.greenparty.ie.
Please support "A Night at the Musicals", a Westmeath Friends of Animals fund-raiser to be held in the Mullingar Arts Centre on Sunday, 17th December, 2006 (Doors open at 7.30pm). This spectacular gala evening will feature the greatest hits from Broadway and the Westend. Tickets cost 22.50 Euro and bookings can be made by calling the Arts Centre on 044 93 47777.
Friends of Animals was set up in 1995 by Mary and Sonah Chundee. To date, they have rescued nearly 5,000 animals and have been instrumental in assisting local Gardai in three cruelty cases. More details on this wonderful group can be found at www.friendsofanimalsmullingar.com
An estate agent has included hunting in a description of a property up for rent. The Property Partners company has been asked by ICABS to stop using blood sports in property listings.
The listing presents an equestrian centre in County Limerick as the "ideal location for hunting, showjumping, eventing or pre-training of race horses". The property, it adds, is "in the heart of Co Limerick's Stonehall Harrier hunt country".
The website page containing the hunt reference can be viewed by clicking on the following link: www.propertypartners.ie/property_new.pp?searchtype=ND
Please contact Property Partners and ask them to stop making references to blood sports in property listings.
Property Partners Ltd
I am disappointed to learn that your website is including hunting in a listing for a property up for rent (www.propertypartners.ie/property_new.pp?searchtype=ND).
Harrier hunting involves chasing foxes and hares and when the creatures are caught, they are ripped apart by a pack of hounds. I trust that this is not the kind of activity your company wishes to be connected with.
I appeal to you to refrain from publicising hunting in your property listings and hope that you can join the other real estate companies which have already made this positive move.
Thank you very much. I look forward to your reply.
Otters have declined by 18 per cent in the past 25 years and numbers are continuing to fall, according to the results of a NPWS survey conducted by Trinity College's Department of Zoology.
ICABS has renewed its call on the Environment Minister to ban mink hunting, a blood sport which is not only cruel to mink but also results in huge disturbances to the otters which inhabit the same stretches of rivers.
"Water quality, riverside habitat and availability of suitable food are likely to be the most important factors determining the abundance of otters," the Otter Survey of Ireland report states, acknowledging too that otter hunting exacerbated the decline in the past.
The findings, first published in September, also note the possibility that in some of the 525 sites surveyed, otters are being deliberately disturbed by humans.
Thanks to years of lobbying by ICABS and an EU Directive, otter hunting is now illegal in Ireland. However, to circumvent the ban, otter hunters simply started hunting mink instead. We have always maintained that since mink and otters inhabit the same stretches of river, any form of hunting will significantly disturb the now protected otter.
The full report can be downloaded directly from the NPWS Website (pdf file)
(Visit the new ICABS Channel at www.youtube.com/icabs for footage of mink hunting in Ireland.)
Please contact Environment Minister, Dick Roche, and ask him to do everything possible to halt the otter decline - including a ban on mink hunting which results in severe disturbances to otters and their habitats.
Minister Dick Roche
Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
Dear Minister Roche,
I was dismayed to learn from the recently published Otter Survey of Ireland 2004/2005 that otters have declined by 18 per cent in Ireland and are continuing to decline.
I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to you to ensure that this precious species is given every possible protection. This protection would have to include a ban on mink hunting. With otters and mink inhabiting the same stretches of river, mink hunting must surely be considered a significant threat to the otter species and its habitat. The disturbance caused by hunters on riverbanks and in the water can be clearly seen in an Irish Council Against Blood Sports presentation at www.youtube.com/icabs
I urge you, Minister, to bring mink hunting to an end in Ireland. This would be a most positive contribution to preserving the declining otter population.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
The Heritage Council has told ICABS that alternatives to killing wildlife will be taken into greater account when considering future applications under the Biodiversity Grant Awards programme.
In the November edition of Animal Voice, we highlighted how the Heritage Council approved a 27,000 Euro grant for a project which involves the trapping of killing of rabbits on an island off the coast of Dublin.
ICABS wrote to the Heritage Council and enquired if a non-lethal approach to any rabbit problems were considered. In our submission we suggested some compassionate solutions, including the relocation of the animals to another site.
"Some habitats (sand dunes, for example) benefit from the presence of rabbits by keeping grass short and preventing scrub taking over," we stated. "While the relocation solution may be more costly, it is certainly possible to implement. We would hope that when future applications to the Biodiversity Fund are being assessed that such non-lethal approaches may be highlighted and put forward to applicants for consideration."
A Heritage Council spokesperson acknowledged our concerns about rabbit eradications, saying that it is "an issue which needs very careful consideration".
"The highlighting of policy advice from yourself and the ISPCA is most welcome," he added. "It is something which the Heritage Council will address more seriously in the grant programme from here on out. I would hope that for the 2007 round of grant awards, policy advice in this area will have been developed and issued from the Heritage Council where necessary."
Glue traps, considered to be the most cruel rodent traps ever devised, are currently being sold on the Amazon.com website. Please write to Amazon and appeal to them to show compassion and stop facilitating the sale of glue traps.
Mr Jeffrey P. Bezos
Dear Mr Bezos,
I am writing to urge you to please show compassion and stop the sale of glue traps from the Amazon.com website. These traps are incredibly cruel and it is disappointing that your company is allowing them to be sold from your site. Please follow the example of other US companies (e.g. CVS) and stop selling glue traps.
Many thanks. I eagerly await your response.
Further to an appeal by ICABS, Teagasc has removed a page from its website which recommended that farmers should shoot, snare and dig foxes out of the ground before killing them. The article also suggested that sending terriers underground after foxes is something to consider.
"We find this suggestion to be wholly offensive and wish to enquire if it reflects official Teagasc policy," ICABS stated in a letter to the semi-state farm advisory body. "As you may be aware, the use of terriers and digging out is extremely cruel and results in horrific injuries to both foxes and terriers. This type of activity is normally the preserve of heartless hardcore hunters, including terriermen employed by foxhunts."
We also challenged a claim in the article that foxes are a major threat to lambs. We pointed out that ecologists around the world have found that foxes are not actually a significant threat. ICABS is grateful to Teagasc for eliminating the article from its website. In 2007, we will continue to work to dispel myths about foxes.
A County Donegal wildlife group has revealed that hunters and shooters are continuing to pose a threat to protected birds of prey.
On its website, the Inishowen Raptor Study Group says that shooting, poisoning and hunting with hounds can be "serious threats".
They also express grave concerns about the effect which nest shooting is having on birds such as kestrels and owls. This deplorable activity sees shooters firing weapons into the nests of crows, magpies, pigeons, starlings and other non-protected birds.
"People who carry out this practice of nest shooting may or may not be aware that they might be shooting tree nesting birds of prey such as Sparrowhawks, Merlin, Kestrels (at times) and Long-eared Owls," the Raptor Study Group states. "The last three mentioned birds use old crows' nests quite a lot. All of these birds are vulnerable to nest shooters."
"How many raptors are we losing each year to this practice of nest shooting?" they add.
In 2006, two buzzards were found shot to death in the area with reports that peregrines were also being shot.
ICABS has brought this to the attention of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Birdwatch Ireland. We will also be calling on the Environment Minister, Dick Roche, to ban nest shooting.
Irish MEP, Proinsias De Rossa, has forwarded to ICABS the following positive statement from the European Commission. If adopted, the Commission's proposal could mean an end to cat and dog fur in the coming year. ICABS renews its appeal to the public to avoid buying items which contains any kind of fur. Fur from animals can be cheaper to produce compared to synthetic fur so please do not assume that fur on an inexpensive item is fake fur. If you have doubts, do not purchase it.
The European Commission Statement (IP/06/1586)
The European Commission has today (20 November 2006) adopted a proposal to ban the import, export and sale of cat and dog fur in the EU. There is evidence that cat and dog fur is being placed on the European market, usually undeclared as such or disguised as synthetic and other types of fur. The vast majority of the cat and dog fur is believed to be imported from third countries, notably China where the rearing of these animals for this purpose is practised. Many Member States have introduced their own specific legislation against cat and dog fur in response to the strong opposition of EU consumers to the trade of fur from these animals. However, as these national bans are divergent, they may cause disruption to the internal market. The proposed Regulation adopted today addresses EU citizens concerns and creates a harmonised approach, prohibiting all production, marketing and imports and exports of cat and dog fur in the EU. It also establishes a system of information exchange on the detection of cat and dog fur.
Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "The message that we have received from EU consumers has been loud and clear. They do not find it acceptable to farm cats and dogs for their fur, nor do they want products containing such fur sold on the European market. The EU ban we are proposing today will mean that consumers can rest assured that they are not inadvertently buying products containing cat or dog fur. In view of the broad political support for this measure I am confident that the European Parliament and the Council will ensure its adoption at the earliest opportunity."
Public and political concerns: Findings of cat and dog fur on the EU market have provoked a strong response from EU consumers, who have asked for measures to be taken to prevent such fur and fur products from being sold in the EU (through letters to the Commission and MEPs as well as through petitions). The Commission has been informed that such fur has been found not just on clothing but also on a number of personal accessories as well as children's soft-toys. There has also been great political demand to introduce an EU ban in this area. Both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have officially asked the Commission to draft proposals on an EU ban on cat and dog fur, which would be more effective than national bans and help to restore consumer and retailer confidence. As there is no practice of cat and dog fur production in the EU, third country (especially Asian) imports are considered to be the origin of such fur. Therefore, a complete ban on the imports of cat and dog fur accompanied by a ban on intra-Community trade in such fur will assure consumers that it will no longer be sold anywhere in the EU.
Harmonised approach: A number of Member States have responded to public concerns by introducing national legislation on cat and dog fur, and legislative initiatives are underway in response to public campaigns against companion pets being used for fur production. However, there are differences in the Member States' approaches, ranging from bans on the rearing and slaughter of cats and dogs to labelling requirements to restrictions on production and/or imports. These divergences may pose difficulties for consumers, retailers and traders who wish to carry out cross-border transactions in other types of fur. A uniform EU ban on marketing and trading in cat and dog fur will set out a clear-cut legal situation and a level playing field throughout the Community and remove unnecessary barriers within the internal market.
Tests and controls: Enforcing this ban on cat and dog fur will require good detection methods that can differentiate between cat and dog fur and other fur, even when the cat and dog fur is treated or dyed. Several Member States are already employing effective detection methods to check for cat and dog fur on their markets (e.g. Mass Spectrometry, DNA testing, etc). The proposed Regulation states that Member States should regularly exchange information on detection methods for cat and dog fur, and share details of tests which are most efficient, so that fur imports and products on the market can be checked.
Next steps: The draft regulation will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for adoption by the codecision procedure. For more information, see http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/index_en.htm
The following statement has been issued by Colin Johnston on behalf of the Burren Feral Goat Preservation Society...
Despite our efforts, feral goats have been eradicated in many areas of the Burren, and the current population is now probably 10-15 per cent of the former total.
Anyone with powers of observation can plainly see this season that the removal of large numbers of goats has visibly increased the rate of scrub invasion in certain areas of the Burren.
It is also sadly the case that the native type of goat is almost gone. It has been demonstrated that the old native breed is the most appropriate type of goat for the upland terrain, preferring scrub fodder and eating Hazel, Ivy Blackberry and Fern.
The only hope for the preservation of this breed of goat, which has been in the area for thousands of years is now the establishment of a number of small selected herds isolated from breeding contact with modern breeds of goat. We appeal to anyone who gathers feral goats for whatever reason to give us notice of any such operation in order that any true "old breed" animals may be selected and transferred to safe, contained, herds for breeding purposes. We are willing to pay a reasonable "finders fee" to anyone assisting in saving suitable animals from possible destruction. Contact number (087) 7597307.
The former Galway Blazers Hunt follower who went on to expose some of the country's worst hunting barbarity has set up a website to further highlight the plight of foxes and deer.
Tom Hardiman, from Craughwell in County Galway, gave shockingly graphic eyewitness accounts of foxhunt cruelty back in 2000.
He described at the time how "when the fox goes to ground, the huntsman calls for the terrierman with the hunting horn and when the terrierman arrives, he lets the terrier into the fox den. The terrier goes straight to the fox and fights with it in a furious way. It's a vulgar act and no fox deserves to be killed in such a horrible way."
The new website, www.banfoxhuntingcrueltyireland.com, includes animal photos, hunt cruelty imagery, details about Tom's weekly Wednesday protests outside Dail Eireann and an anti-hunt petition.
Thank you to those who have posted and emailed us newspaper reports about the activities of blood sports groups around Ireland. Please continue to send in these articles and we will follow them up where appropriate.
ICABS was surprised to read an article by ecologist broadcaster, Eanna Ni Lamhna, in which she suggests that those with mice in their house ought to trap and kill the creatures.
Eanna, who normally champions all kinds of birds, animals and insects, described in Village Magazine how to bait a trap and wait for the "satisfying snap" which signals the death of a mouse.
For those who prefer not to kill animals, there are several alternatives to consider, including humane mouse traps. These allow you to catch mice in a compartment and release them outdoors (it is vital to check the trap at very regular intervals so that the mouse can be released as soon as possible). They can be purchased in DIY shops, garden centres and hardware stores.
Mouse-proofing your home is the most effective way to keep rodents away. It will help to fill in any possible entry points on outdoor walls, keep bird/plant seeds and pet food in containers made out of metal or glass, cover bins and ensure that the area around your house is clean.
A controversial animal olympics spectacle has been cancelled due to cruelty concerns, the Shanghai Daily newspaper has reported.
The event, scheduled to have been held at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, was to include kangaroo boxing and bear fighting.
Born Free's Zoocheck was one of the groups which denounced the use of animals in this way. Spokesperson Daniel Turner described it as being "degrading for the animals, insulting to our intelligence and a disaster for any possible chance of increasing respect for the wild animals we share the world with".
Said Su Feilong of the Shanghai Wild Animal Park: "The games never caused any trouble before but we received complaints this year, so we stopped them."
Show you care about animals this holiday season - choose from our selection of nine exclusive Christmas cards. Visit the ICABS website, make your card choices and then simply print, fold and give to your friends, family and loved ones.
To download and print the new "Ban Blood Sports in Ireland in 2007" petition, visit the Petitions page of the ICABS website. Copies of filled petitions will be sent to the government to remind them of the majority opposition to blood sports. Thanks to everyone who collected petitions during 2006. We greatly appreciate your efforts.
Footage of blood sport cruelty and the humane alternatives can now be viewed on the new ICABS Channel on Youtube. We believe that this is a powerful resource for highlighting to the world the ugly reality of blood sports in Ireland and we hope it will increase the level of support for our campaign.
Please have a look at the ICABS Channel and let us know what you think - www.youtube.com/icabs
Please become a supporter of ICABS. Annual rates are just 15 Euro (Individual), 20 Euro (Family) and 8 Euro (Unwaged). 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. Your generosity ensures that our work for Irish animals will continue.
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