Animal Voice: July 2010
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this edition:

01. Hare coursing to be banned in Northern Ireland
02. Ask John Gormley to refuse coursing licence
03. Clonmel Chamber of Commerce asked to Stop Promoting Coursing Cruelty
04. Ward Union Ban: "Tony would have been proud"
05. What's wrong with hunting? ICABS replies to Mary O'Rourke's Dail question
06. "Ban all blood sports": Socialist Party Youth
07. Labour Party TDs urged hunting group to "keep up the pressure"
08. Labour Party criticised for voting against staghunt ban
09. Labour's animal welfare U-turn is a "shameful deception": Mary White, TD
10. Irish Independent readers urged not to buy cruel bird traps
11. National Parks and Wildlife Service asked to remove hunting links
12. Stop publicising coursing: Renewed appeal to Clonmel Park Hotel
13. Compassionate Cavan Councillors thanked for not supporting hunting motion
14. Beginning of the campaign against the Ward Union hunt (1991)
15. Anti-hunt letter from 1854
16. Letters to Editors
17. North Tipperary Councillors express support for hunting
18. Offaly County Council criticised for supporting pro-hunt group
19. Kilkenny public asked to help apprehend badger baiters
20. Let the hare sit, and survive
21. Campaign Quotes
22. Petitions

01. Hare coursing to be banned in Northern Ireland

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has welcomed the tremendous news that hare coursing is to be banned in Northern Ireland. Members of the Legislative Assembly voted 23 to 18 in favour of an amendment to the new Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill which will ban the blood sport. The amendment was tabled by UUP members Roy Beggs and Tom Elliott.

"This is a major development in the all-Ireland campaign against hare coursing which we wholeheartedly welcome," responded ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell. "It should put significant pressure on legislators in the Republic to follow suit and ban this cruel activity which a majority of Irish people want outlawed. We commend the compassion of the MLAs who supported the amendment. We are now renewing our call on Minister John Gormley to refuse any further licences to the Irish Coursing Club."

The League Against Cruel Sports in Northern Ireland has expressed delight at the development. Spokesperson Louise Robertson said: "This has been a vote for common sense...These blood sports have no place in modern society and the vast majority of the public support this view. We applaud Northern Ireland politicians for taking decisive steps to improve animal welfare legislation."

Hare coursing is cruel from beginning to end. Thousands of hares are forcefully snatched from the Irish countryside in nets, kept in captivity for weeks and forced to run for their lives in front of muzzled greyhounds. When hit, they suffer agonising life-threatening injuries, including broken bones.

View our coursing gallery which shows the cruelty of coursing

02. Ask John Gormley to refuse coursing licence

Please join us in our appeal to Minister John Gormley to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

Minister Gormley reportedly issued last year's licence "with a heavy heart". According to documents obtained by ICABS, the suffering and death of hares continued last season due to the issuance of that licence. One of the victims was a hare that was destroyed after suffering a dislocated hip.

Fears for the future of the species as a whole remain. In its submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity earlier this year, the National Parks and Wildlife Service division of Minister Gormley's Department confirmed that hunting activities remain a threat to the hare species.

"The Irish hare is experiencing pressure from loss of suitable habitat and HUNTING and consequently its status is considered 'poor'," the NPWS stated.


Urge Minister John Gormley to stop licensing coursing. Send a copy of your correspondence to all of your TDs and encourage them to back a ban on the blood sport.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
[CC - An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen]
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am delighted to learn that hare coursing is to be banned in Northern Ireland. I call on you to ensure that coursing is now brought to an end in the Republic by refusing any further licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares continue to die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity, during the coursing meetings and also subsequent to their release back to the wild. Such deaths have been documented by your NPWS division. These timid and fragile creatures die as a result of physical injuries or from the stress caused by human handling and being chased by greyhounds.

Please act on the wishes of the electorate who want this activity outlawed. Do not grant any further licences for coursing.

Thank you, Minister.

Yours sincerely,


03. Clonmel Chamber of Commerce asked to Stop Promoting Coursing Cruelty

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has called on Clonmel Chamber of Commerce to stop promoting the blood sport of hare coursing. On its website and in a Discover Clonmel brochure, the chamber describes the local cruelty festival as "a colourful and unique sporting occasion".

In an email to Clonmel Chamber of Commerce CEO, Brian Cleary, and President, Tina Mulhearne, ICABS stated:

"We wish to express our disbelief and disappointment that Clonmel Chamber of Commerce deems it appropriate to present hare coursing as a visitor attraction. On your website and in your Discover Clonmel brochure, coursing is described as a 'sport' and the local coursing festival as a 'colourful and unique sporting occasion'. Photographs show greyhounds running but there is no sign of the frightened hares running for their lives. There is no mention of the horrific injuries suffered by hares or of the massive disturbance to the species caused by coursers when they forcefully remove thousands of hares from their habitats every year."

Earlier this year, Ms Mulhearne welcomed coursers to the town. In a statement headed "Chamber Welcomes Visitors to Coursing Festival", it was noted that she "sent the best wishes of the organisation to the National Coursing Festival that celebrates its 85th year in Clonmel next week".

"From a business perspective the festival is a much welcomed boost to the town," she said, adding that "the influx of visitors to the town adds to the overall atmosphere."

ICABS criticised the Chamber's attitude to this blood sport, saying "coursing is an activity Clonmel Chamber should be shunning, not embracing." We pointed to the majority opposition to coursing in Ireland and highlighted that coursing is illegal in the UK and that a ban has recently been announced in Northern Ireland.

"It is very saddening indeed that Clonmel Chamber of Commerce puts cash before compassion and is happy to see money being generated for the town from animal cruelty," we said.

Some of the victims of coursing brought to the attention of Clonmel Chamber are:

We have invited Clonmel Chamber of Commerce to view our campaign video at and our photo gallery at


Urge Clonmel Chamber of Commerce to side with the Irish majority who recognise the cruelty of hare coursing and support a ban. Ask them to stop publicising this blood sport on its website and in its marketing material.

Brian Cleary, Chief Executive Officer
Tina Mulhearne, President
Clonmel Chamber of Commerce
8 Sarsfield Street, Clonmel, Tipperary
Tel: 052 61 26500. Fax: 052 61 26378.

04. Ward Union Ban: "Tony would have been proud"

Independent TD and friend of ICABS, Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan, has said that the late Tony Gregory would have been proud of the ban on the Ward Union hunt.

Maureen was one of the 75 TDs who voted in favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which banned the cruel Ward Union hunt. "It was a historic event," she later commented. "Tony would have been proud."

Thanks to Maureen, representatives of ICABS were able to witness the debate and historic final vote from the Dail's public gallery.

On the day, we remembered our ally and Vice-President Tony Gregory's enormous contribution to the campaign. Up until his untimely death in 2009, he remained at the forefront of the campaign to ban blood sports.

He accompanied us as we monitored the Ward Union and was disgusted to see the deer desperately running from the pack of hounds. In 2004, after observing a Ward Union hunt, Tony told hunt master Michael Bailey that "it's inevitable that it will be gotten rid of here. It's only a matter of time."

In 2003, thanks to a Dail Question, Tony succeeded in gaining access to a report which the government had kept hidden for nearly seven years. The Kane Report proved damning of the Ward Union and greatly helped us to further expose the cruelty involved.

Over the years, Tony tabled numerous Dail Questions in relation to the hunt, unearthing incidents of suffering caused to deer. Despite his illness, he continued pressing for a ban.

Tony would rightly be proud of all his work which helped pave the way towards the day that the Ward Union was finally banned. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

05. What's wrong with hunting? ICABS replies to Mary O'Rourke's Dail question

During a Dail debate on the Wildlife Amendment Bill, Westmeath TD Mary O'Rourke asked "What could possibly be wrong with hunting?" ICABS has written to Deputy O'Rourke to remind her how hunting is cruel from beginning to end - from the moment foxes are chased out of their habitats to the point when they are knocked off their feet and killed.

In our letter to the Fianna Fail TD, we highlighted that a majority in Ireland (in both rural and urban areas) are compassionate, decent people who abhor cruelty to animals. We pointed out exactly what's wrong with hunting:

"Subjecting a frightened fox to the ordeal of being chased for hours by a pack of hounds is wrong. Digging foxes out of the ground and sending terriers after them when they try to find shelter is wrong. Also wrong is pursuing foxes to exhaustion and relishing the sight of the depleted, terrorised animals being knocked off their feet and bitten and disembowelled."

Deputy O'Rourke voted in favour of the passed Wildlife Amendment Bill to ban staghunting but she declared in the Dail that she would "not entertain...any further inroads into rural pursuits".

ICABS has asked her to recognise the cruelty of all hunting and in the next session of Dail Eireann to push for bans on foxhunting, hare hunting, hare coursing and mink hunting.

Dail statement from Mary O'Rourke, TD
(Fianna Fail, Longford-Westmeath)
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010

"We have all been receiving e-mails from RISE, or Rural Ireland Says Enough. I am here today because I come from a part of Ireland which fishes, hunts and shoots. I came with a mandate from there and they want me to say today that they understand if we signed up to a document, but that they will not entertain - nor will I nor will Fianna Fail - any further inroads into rural pursuits...

We will not entertain it and we will not have it. I want to know exactly what could possibly be wrong with fishing, hunting or with the gun clubs whose members have approached me.

They go about their normal pursuits as well...the Minister will have to give a guarantee on the floor of the House that this Bill and the Bill to be taken next week - which he inherited from the former Minister, Deputy Dick Roche - will be the end of his ramblings in rural Ireland."


Please join us in urging Deputy O'Rourke to support efforts to ban the cruel blood sports of foxhunting, hare coursing, hare hunting and mink hunting. Thank her for voting in favour of the staghunt ban.

Mary O'Rourke, TD
Tel: 01-618 3860 or 090 -64-72313

06. "Ban all blood sports": Socialist Party Youth

Socialist Party Youth have called for a complete ban on blood sports in Ireland. Describing how foxes are "torn to pieces by the dogs" at the end of hunts, the group describes the blood sport as a barbaric practice.

"Socialist Youth says - ban all blood sports now!" an article on the party's website states.

Please scroll down to read the article or visit the Socialist Party website

Ban all blood sports
by Sarah Killeen

The Green Party's proposed Animal Health and Welfare Bill has been in the spotlight, specifically the proposal to ban stag hunting, which John Gormley says will be enacted in the near future.

Stag hunting is done purely for human enjoyment. The aim is not to kill the stag say the pro-hunting lobby. However, in fleeing the hunters and the dogs, it becomes exhausted and terrified. Often they are injured during the process, sometimes they die from heart failure before they are captured. Occasionally they cause danger to people by running in front of cars. In one instance, in 2007, a stag ran into a schoolyard in Co. Meath.

Fox hunting is an even more barbaric practice. Ostensibly for the purpose of keeping the numbers of foxes low, the hunters use dogs bred for endurance, not speed, so that the pursuit will last longer. It is a game, not a solution. If fox populations need to be controlled, surely there are more humane ways to do so. When the chase inevitably ends, the fox is simply torn to pieces by the dogs.

One of the arguments put forward in defence of hunting is that it is acceptable because it is a traditional rural pastime.

But defending tradition for tradition's sake does not progress society. In the past, badger baiting and cockfighting were legal but these practices would now evoke disgust in most people.

In March, a sizeable pro-hunting protest took place at the Green Party conference in Waterford - the arguments of the pro-hunting lobby are bogus and their stance cannot be justified in any respect. In fact, Gormley's proposed bill doesn't go far enough. There is no excuse for harming or killing animals in the name of sport in any instance. Socialist Youth says - ban all blood sports now!


Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please join us in appealing to the Minister for Agriculture 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 the Minister to amend the Protection of Animals Act so that foxes and all wild creatures are protected from unnecessary cruelty.

Minister Brendan Smith
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: [with a copy to An Taoiseach]
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Appeal to the Environment Minister

Please also contact the Minister with 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 John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to ban foxhunting. Please write to all of your local politicians and ask them to express their opposition to this blood sport. If possible, get your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. We need as much help with this campaign as possible.

Write to your TD at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Write to your Senator at: Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website.

07. Labour Party TDs urged hunting group to "keep up the pressure"

ICABS has learned that a number of Labour Party TDs urged a pro-hunting group to "keep up the pressure" ahead of the Dail vote on the Wildlife Amendment Bill which banned carted deer hunting.

A notice on the Countryside Alliance website, headed "Labour TD's Need your Support Now" (28 June 2010), reveals that "a number of sympathetic Labour TDs have contacted us to say we need to keep up the pressure on their TDs, to make sure their Dublin-based TDs don't 'wobble' on the Wildlife Bill or the Dog Breeding Bill."

With the exception of Tommy Broughan, TD (who absented himself from the vote) and Michael D Higgins (who was absent for medical reasons), all the remaining Labour TDs voted against the hunting ban. This despite many of them having previously expressed opposition to blood sports (see below).

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has described as deplorable the party's decision to oppose the legislation.

The Wildlife Amendment Bill was passed by a majority of 75 votes to 71, thus banning the cruel Ward Union hunt.

Did your TDs vote for or against the staghunt ban?
Find out here

08. Labour Party criticised for voting against staghunt ban

Despite many Labour Party TDs previously expressing their opposition to blood sports (including stag hunting), most of the party's TDs voted AGAINST a ban on the Ward Union.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports deplores the party's decision to oppose the legislation. On the eve of the Dail Eireann vote, we reminded Labour Party TDs of their previously stated anti-blood sports views - see our slideshow presentation at

However, with the exception of Deputy Tommy Broughan (who abstained from voting) and former ICABS vice-chairperson, Michael D Higgins, TD (who was absent from the Dail on medical grounds), all the other Labour TDs voted against the stag hunt ban. They are: Joan Burton, Sean Sherlock, Eamon Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte, Joe Costello, Brendan Howlin, Ciaran Lynch, Kathleen Lynch, Liz McManus, Brian O'Shea, Jan O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, Ruairi Quinn, Roisin Shortall, Emmet Stagg, Joanna Tuffy, Mary Upton and Jack Wall.


Please express your disappointment to the Labour Party TDs who voted against the ban.
Email them a message now,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Previously stated views of Labour Party TDs:

Eamon Gilmore, TD (Leader of the Labour Party): "I am opposed to the blood sports of badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hare coursing and stag hunting."

Tommy Broughan, TD: "I remain opposed to all so called blood 'sports'"

Joe Costello , TD: "I am opposed to all blood sports...The legislation is silent on blood sports...We must address the bloodsports issue in Ireland. We have touched on it from time to time but we have never dealt with it seriously, either in terms of coursing, fox hunting, stag hunting or badger baiting or hunting, nor have we addressed the considerable cruelty attached to the manner in which it is done and the way the animal is treated both in the hunt and in the killing." (Speaking as a Senator in 16th November 2000).

Liz McManus, TD: "I support a ban on live hare coursing, carted deer hunting and a tightening up of regulations on fox hunting."

Michael D. Higgins, TD - Michael D Higgins is a former vice-chairperson of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Jan O'Sullivan, TD: "I will allow you to add my name on to the list of T.D.'s who do not support bloodsports"

Emmet Stagg: In 1993 - "The Labour Party commits itself to working with any other political party in Dail Eireann to bring about an end to hare coursing and other so-called field sports. It is imperative that the Irish Council Against Blood Sports continue their campaign and that people highlight in the media the barbarity of this activity. Only through a campaign of protest can we bring enough pressure on the Government and political parties to ban hare coursing. I wish this and future protests every possible success. Again, on behalf of the Labour Party, we will assist this campaign in every way possible." In 2010 - I see "nothing wrong with stag hunting"

Pat Rabbitte, TD: "I do not support bloodsports"

Ruairi Quinn, TD: "As you may know I used to be a member of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports. Personally, I am against the hunting of live animals with dogs i.e. fox hunting, live hare coursing and carted deer hunting."

09. Labour's animal welfare U-turn is a "shameful deception": Mary White, TD

Green Party Deputy Leader, Mary White, has described the Labour Party's opposition to the ban on staghunting as "another shameful deception of voters".

Commenting on the passage of the Wildlife Amendment Bill through the Oireachtas and the commencement of the Dail debate on the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill this week, the Minister for Equality, Integration and Human Rights said:

"This week represented yet another shameful dodging of difficult choices by the Labour Party as it showed its true colours in the way it voted. The Party is supposedly against blood sports and supportive of animal welfare yet it has now voted against legislation to ban stag hunting and for the provision of a thorough inspection regime for dog breeding establishments. For years they have agitated for more animal welfare yet of twenty Labour TDs only one of them [Tommy Broughan, TD] had the courage to actually refuse to oppose the bill."

"Labour opposed the Wildlife Bill because they said there were more important aspects of animal welfare to legislate for - that is pathetic," Deputy White added.

Separately, the Labour Party's U-turn was denounced in the Sunday Tribune of July 4th. "The Labour party's position on the [staghunting] bill suggests it doesn't stand for anything anymore, apart from the pursuit of power," wrote journalist Michael Clifford. "Nine of the party's 20 TDs have publicly opposed blood sports, yet all but Tommy Broughan had no problem voting against the bill. Maybe the party's position was adopted on foot of research from focus groups, the favoured governing tool of Bertie Ahern when he was leading the country into perdition." []

10. Irish Independent readers urged not to buy cruel bird traps

ICABS has called on readers of the Irish Independent not to purchase cruel bird traps. Featured as a "Reader Offer" in a catalogue in the Independent of July 17th, the cruel Larsen trap is used to catch magpies and other birds.

In a letter to the editor of the newspaper, we highlighted a disturbing video which shows a magpie caught in a Larsen trap ( It is seen repeatedly jumping back and forth against the wire bars in an unending effort to try and get free.

Designed in Denmark in the 1950s, these cruel traps are now banned there due to the suffering caused. They use a permanently trapped bird to lure in other birds. They fly down on to the trap, fall through a collapsing floor and find themselves trapped too.

Before being brutally killed, they will be overcome with the fear and stress of confinement. Some will suffer hunger and thirst as well as broken beaks and cut heads from futile attempts to smash their way to freedom. When magpie parents are caught, their orphaned chicks will starve to death in nests.

ICABS is calling on Minister John Gormley to urgently introduce a ban on Larsen traps. Please join us in our call. Contact Minister John Gormley at:

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

11. National Parks and Wildlife Service asked to remove hunting links

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has been asked by ICABS to remove links to hunting licence forms from the homepage of its website

The links are to application forms for "Hunting Fauna in State-Owned Foreshore" and "Capture/Kill Protected Wild Animals for Educational or Scientific Purposes".

In our correspondence to the body, we commented that the links act as an advertisement for hunting and killing and possibly as an encouragement to apply.

"Given that the NPWS's primary role is to conserve wildlife and to engender in the public a respect for fauna, we believe it is inappropriate for links relating to the hunting, capturing and killing of animals to be on permanent, prominent display on the front page of your site," we stated.


Ask the NPWS to stop prominently presenting links to hunting forms on its homepage

National Parks & Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2

(Please copy your message to Environment Minister John Gormley -
Tel: 01-8882000. LoCall 1890-202 021. Fax: 01-8883272.

12. Stop publicising coursing: Renewed appeal to Clonmel Park Hotel

ICABS has renewed its appeal to the Clonmel Park Conference, Leisure & Spa Hotel in County Tipperary to stop publicising hare coursing. On its website, the hotel presents the local coursing cruelty festival as a "sporting event".

"Clonmel is noted in greyhound circles for being the home of the annual National Hare Coursing Meeting in early February," a notice on the hotel's Attractions & Events page outlines. "Included in this event is the prestigious Ladies' International Open Meeting and the coursing derby."

The hotel has previously been urged to disassociate from coursing. In an advert placed in the events booklet for the 2008 coursing finals, the hotel extended a "welcome to all visitors to the national coursing meeting". The advert also highlighted that the hotel is "just 5 minutes drive from the coursing grounds" and that a coursing video was to be shown nightly at the hotel.


Appeal to the Clonmel Park Hotel to stop publicising coursing on its website. State that you are one of the majority who oppose this cruel activity and want it banned.

Clonmel Park Conference, Leisure & Spa Hotel
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Tel: +353 52 6188700

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am contacting you to register my great disappointment that your hotel is publicising the cruel blood sport of hare coursing on your website -

As you may be aware, hares are snatched from their habitats, kept in captivity for months and forced to run for their lives in front of greyhounds. They suffer fear, stress and injuries such as broken bones. Hares continue to die painful deaths in this horrendous activity.

I ask you to please show compassion for Ireland's persecuted hare species and stop publicising coursing on your website.

Thank you. I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,


13. Compassionate Cavan Councillors thanked for not supporting hunting motion

Four members of Belturbet Town Council - Paddy Brady, Peggy Gray, Elizabeth McDermott and Michael Lee - have been thanked by ICABS for not supporting a pro-hunting motion. Despite their compassionate stance, the motion expressing objection to a staghunting ban, was narrowly passed by a margin of one.

The Anglo Celt newspaper reported that the motion was proposed by Independent Cllr, Seamus Fitzpatrick, who declared a life-long involvement in hunting. It was seconded by Fine Gael Councillor, John Scott, and supported by Cllrs Raymond Johnston, Tony Gorby and John McDonald.

Opposition to the motion was expressed by the remaining four councillors.

According to the report, Cllrs Paddy Brady, Peggy Gray and Elizabeth McDermott said they did not want to be associated with the motion. Ms McDermott said she did not like to see any cruelty to animals and Cllr Michael Lee said he was against the motion.

Cllr Brady told the meeting that he did not agree with a stag being let out on land he did not know and hunted through barbed wire fences and chased by a pack of hounds and cornered.

"I do not agree with the fear of God being put into an animal and chased till it is exhausted - then it is pounced up by 50 or 60 hounds," he commented.

He went on to totally dismiss an absurd claim by Seamus Fitzpatrick that hunters call off hounds when a hunted hare gets tired and "has had enough".

"You mean to tell me that when an exhausted hare is lying in the corner of a field on all fours and can't get out of there - and there are 50 hounds in close proximity - and they are going to be in a position to pull the hounds off - I'm sorry, I can't believe that," Cllr Brady said. "You are telling me that they will be able to control the hounds from attacking that hare - not a chance."

ICABS thanks and applauds Cllrs Brady, Gray, McDermott and Lee for opposing the motion and representing the majority view among the electorate that terrorising animals is unacceptable.


If you are a resident of County Cavan, please contact the Belturbet Cllrs. You can find their contact details at

14. Beginning of the campaign against the Ward Union hunt (1991)

This article from a 1991 edition of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' Animal Watch newsletter marks the beginning of our campaign against the Ward Union Deer Hunt.

19 years on and the Ward Union was banned after a majority of TDs voted in favour of Minister John Gormley's Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010. Article author, Aideen Yourell, is the campaign director of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

15. Anti-hunt letter from 1854

To see an anti-hunt letter published in 1854 in the Kilkenny Journal, click on the following link

Attention farmers: If you are experiencing problem with hunts, please join us in our appeal to the Irish Government to ban this cruel activity. For advice on how to keep hunts off your land, click on FARMERS at

16. Letters to Editors

Irish Times July 23, 2010

Madam, Now that the hysteria surrounding the stag hunting issue has abated somewhat, we would like to inform all the politicians who support stag hunting, that they will be hunted themselves if they ever come near us looking for votes. Contaminating our doorsteps with their presence will not be tolerated. - Yours, etc,

Seamus Fogarty,
Poulmaleen, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary.

Irish Post, July 2010

Tuesday, June 29, marked a tremendous milestone in the campaign to outlaw blood sports in Ireland.

In an historic move, a Bill to ban the Ward Union carted deer hunt was passed in Dail Eireann, bringing to an end 150 years of hunting tame red deer with hounds.

Although it wasn't the intention to kill the deer at the end of each hunt, the creatures were terrorised and severely stressed, running the risk of injury and death while hounded across the country.

From 1997 onwards, intensive campaigning by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS) brought the Ward Union into the media spotlight and led to veterinary inspectors from the Department of Agriculture following and monitoring its activities.

Their reports over the years highlighted just some of the victims - deer choked to death while being recaptured, a deer drowning in a quarry and others dying with fractured ribs and ruptured aorta.

The terrorised animals were witnessed with cuts, swollen limbs, lameness, bleeding heads and it was noted that they showed body tremors and excessive salivation.

One veterinary inspector cited a stag hanging by his front leg from barbed wire and another, having run at least eight miles showing "extreme physical distress, panting through its mouth, with a lather of white foam around its muzzle".

Most recently, a deer was hunted onto a public road, collided with a car, smashed into its windscreen and hobbled away in agony with a broken leg before being caught and shot in the head.

The occupants of the car were left badly shaken according to a relative speaking on the Liveline radio show.

In 1999, film footage shot by ICABS monitors of an exhausted stag being violently wrestled to the ground at the end of the hunt was broadcast on RTE News.

The public reaction was one of outrage and disgust. The response from Government was to merely add conditions to the hunt's licence.

This did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the deer.

The hunt, which included wealthy and powerful individuals, was untouchable, and so it wasn't until the Green Party entered a coalition with Fianna Fail in 2007 that a ban became a real possibility.

While Fianna Fail was vehemently opposed to any such move, the Greens honoured their commitment and kept pushing.

Last year, following negotiations between the two parties on a revised programme for government, Fianna Fail agreed to the ban - along with much needed puppy farm legislation and the phasing out of fur farms here. To our great disappointment, they refused to budge on hare coursing and fox hunting, despite majority opposition to these equally cruel activities.

This has been an extraordinary campaign, not least because of the hostility and derision directed at the Green Party and its six elected TDs.

Not only from Fianna Fail backbenchers but also from the opposition, including the Labour Party, the majority of whom had pledged their support for our campaign down the years.

Now, we watched as they stood up in Dail Eireann to argue against the Bill, purely for political expediency.

A well-financed group set up to defend the wealthy Ward Union had waged an aggressive campaign, dominating the media and getting the ear of the politicians.

However, despite their power and might, RISE (Rural Ireland Says Enough) could not save the hunt and this cruel abuse of defenceless deer is now finally at an end.

Meanwhile, there was good news from our close neighbours in the North of Ireland.

The Assembly had just voted to outlaw hare coursing, and we were gratified to learn that video footage we filmed of hares being mauled was instrumental in securing that ban.

Our campaign to rid the country of all hunting animals with dogs goes on. It continues to be an uphill battle in the face of wealthy hunting interests and politicians who pander to them.

But we know that we have the vast majority of citizens on our side and with their support, we are confident that foxhunters and hare coursers will follow the Ward Union into history.

For more information on ICABS campaigns and how you can help, please visit our website at

Aideen Yourell,
Campaign Director, Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Irish Independent July 05 2010

While grateful to the Green Party for succeeding in getting the indefensible cruelty of stag hunting banned, I hope the Government will not stop there. If this bloodsport merits abolition, then surely the case for banning live hare coursing is even more compelling?

There was only one stag hunt in the country. But coursing occurs in almost every county, with Kerry and Clare being notable blackspots for this recreational animal cruelty.

Thousands of hares are captured with nets, all of them subjected to the terror of the chase on coursing day and the immeasurable stress of a captivity that goes completely against nature.

Many hares are injured by the dogs or in captivity, or when being netted.

The brittle-boned hare's injuries do not heal, so it has to be put down or left to die.

The beaters involved in the rounding up of hares destroy the animal's already threatened habitats, stampeding through fields in their search for them.

The conservation status of the Irish hare is already listed as "poor" on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website owing to loss of habitat.

John Gormley is the minister who has the power to issue a licence each autumn allowing hares to be netted by coursing clubs for their cruel "sport".

Having banned stag hunting, he should move now to further enhance his status as a truly Green minister and do the decent thing: tell the Irish Coursing Club where to stick its upcoming application.

Chris Morris
Loughboy, Kilkenny

Irish Times - Wed, July 07 2010

Madam, - Noel Whelan (Opinion, July 3rd) says that animal welfare issues are a minority concern, even in urban middle class Ireland.

In saying this he is not doing justice to the many people and organisation for whom animal welfare is a very important issue. These animal lovers tend to be shouted down by a very vocal group of people who, by riding horses to hunt, fancy themselves as the new aristocracy. They apparently do not take into account the cruelty involved in pursuing stags until they die from fear and exhaustion.

One must congratulate John Gormley for his tenacity on this issue and many will no doubt reward him and his Green Party colleagues for their victory in banning stag hunting. However, he still has much to do. Hare coursing and fox hunting are equally horrific activities and both are banned now in most civilised countries in the Western hemisphere other than Ireland. - Yours, etc,

Carmel Courtney,
Sandyford Road, Dublin 16.

The Irish Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Madam, - Christy Reynolds, the Ward Union Hunt chairman said, "Take the Ward Union down next Tuesday and I guarantee you the hare hunting will be next" (Home News, June 28th).

So, that's one more reason to support the ban.

Michael Finlan,
Avenue du Geai, Watermael-Boitsfort, Belgium.

The Irish Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Madam, - Reading through a transcript of the Dail debate on stage two of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill which proposes a ban on stag hunting, I am reminded of the moves to ban bull- and bear-baiting in Britain in the early 1800s.

When MP for Galway Richard Martin introduced his Bill to abolish the two blood sports, supporters of these activities subjected him to almost-non stop interruptions, accused him of attacking the "harmless and manly sports of the countryside", and of seeking to deprive decent citizens of their time-honoured recreations.

They heaped praise on bull- and bear-baiting, enlarging on the benefits such "field sports" brought to society and even, they claimed, to the animals themselves since, they argued, the bulls and bears would die of some other, less humane cause if the sportspeople did not dispatch them via the baiting dens.

Pro-baiting MPs warned that the baiting ban would result in people losing their livelihoods, thus causing endless hardship to countless innocent families and to the communities in which the baiting thrived.

Sound familiar? MPs opposed to the ban also said it would represent the "thin end of the wedge". That prediction proved true to an extent, because the abolition of bull- and bear-baiting was followed by similar bans on cock-fighting and badger-baiting. More than a century and a half later, in 2004, the British parliament banned hare coursing, fox hunting, and stag hunting.

And only last week, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to ban hare coursing.

So I believe Minister for the Environment John Gormley has history on his side. He needs to remain focused on the proven fact that stag hunting is about terrorising deer for fun, and not be swayed by the plethora of excuses and feeble arguments put forward by opponents of the Bill.

Yours, etc,
John Fitzgerald,
Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports,
Lower Coyne Street, Callan, Co Kilkenny.

17. North Tipperary Councillors express support for hunting

From an article in the Nenagh Guardian

Opposition to the Government's hunting proposals was also expressed at last month's meeting of North Tipperary Co Council, where local councillors spoke of the importance of hunting in the county.

Councillors John Kennedy (Lab - and Jonathan Meaney (Lab - submitted a notice of motion urging the council to recognise the increasing level of popular support being expressed for the RISE (Rural Ireland Says Enough) campaign and call on the Government to heed the campaign's concerns.

Cllr Jim Casey (FF - called on the council to oppose the legislation being proposed by Minister Gormley in respect of hunting in rural Ireland. He said the council has a duty to protect North Tipperary's fox hunting tradition and the local horse trade.

Cllr Ger Darcy (FG - said the council should be promoting hunting as part of its bid to draw more visitors to North Tipperary. He also described hunting as an alternative sport for young people that don't pick up the mainstream sports of hurling, rugby and soccer.

Cllr Eddie Moran (Ind - said the hunts generate employment and trade in North Tipperary.

Cllr Michael Smith (FF - also supported the motions, and while none of the councillors would be in favour of animal cruelty, he said there should be more dialogue between the stakeholders involved.


Please email the councillors to complain about their stance. Highlight to them the cruelty of hunting.

18. Offaly County Council criticised for supporting pro-hunt group

ICABS has written to Offaly County Council to express disappointment at their support for pro-hunt group, RISE.

Councillors voted in favour of a motion supporting the group which defends hare coursing and foxhunting.

"Your support for this group is totally at odds with the views of the vast majority of the electorate who favour a full ban on such activities," we stated in our correspondence.

19. Kilkenny public asked to help apprehend badger baiters

The following article, headed "Innocent animals slaughtered in fights to the death" appeared in the May 28th 2010 edition of the Kilkenny People. If you have information on the individuals involved in this illegal activity, please contact the Gardai in Thomastown on 056-7754150. Thank you...

Defenceless animals are being killed for entertainment purposes in a number of locations throughout the county.

There has been a significant rise in the number of incidents involving wild animals being baited (forced into combat against a succession of dogs) in a number of areas with devastating and fatal results.

In the most recent incident of badger baiting, mindless individuals went to a farmer's land outside Thomastown and dug holes in a ditch to allow "fighting dogs" to go in to badger tunnels and force the animals out into the open.

Other escape routes for the nocturnal animals were blocked forcing them into an arena style area where up to 50 people gathered to watch them fight to the death.

In this instance, a number of baby badgers were also killed, along with their mother. The shrieks of pain could be heard for miles around as well as the cheering of the onlookers during an evening of 'fun' for those who witnessed the slaughter of the innocent.

It is unsure if money changed hands, but the Kilkenny branch of the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) is sure it did.

Mr. Noel O' Donohue (KSPCA) pointed out that many of the dogs involved would have suffered serious wounds and some may have died during the gladiator style fights.

The 'sport' is linked to the breeding of dogs, specifically for fighting, and this is also on the increase in Kilkenny.

According to a source contacted by the Kilkenny People, may of the spectators came from Tipperary while there were also a number of overseas visitors from England. There were few, if any, paying customers from Thomastown.

The badger baiting industry in Kilkenny is controlled by a small group of people living in the town who are also well known poachers of salmon on the River Nore. The leader of the 'pack' is a man in his twenties from the town who is known to the Gardai.

The KSPCA has also confirmed further badger baiting incidents in Johnswell and is aware of the Thomastown connection to the illegal activity, which seems to have grown in popularity over recent years.

"We are unable to do anything without intelligence about where the next planned event is going to be held," Noel O'Donohue of the KSPCA said. He appealed to members of the public to ring the gardai in Thomastown (056-7754150) or to contact the KSPCA 24 number (086-8172167) if they have any information which might lead to the apprehension of gang members.

20. Let the hare sit, and survive

Let the hare sit, and survive
Sunday Independent - Sunday July 11 2010

The Northern Ireland Assembly has passed an amendment to wildlife legislation banning hare coursing. Hunting of the animal had been prohibited for some years, and a firm law to end coursing had been expected.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports said this move should now put pressure on legislators in the Republic to ban "a cruel activity that many Irish people want outlawed".

Many years ago, while a permanent countryside resident, I ceased killing animals and birds, gave up gun club membership, stopped fishing but kept my dogs. This was an activity I had been involved in since boyhood. I had, one day, heard a shot hare scream like a wounded human being. Perhaps that had something to do with my decision.

William Blake, in his magnificent litany, Auguries of Innocence warned: "Each outcry of the hunted hare/A fibre from the brain does tear."

Robert Burns, on seeing a wounded animal limp by him, was apoplectic: "Inhuman man! Curse on they barb'rous art/And blasted be they murder-aiming eye."

The Irish Mountain Hare (lepus timidus hibernicus) is a declining species vulnerable to extinction, a daunting destiny for a living link with Ice Age fauna of 10,000 years ago. In the Republic, the animal is still openly hunted.

Coursing events are celebrated festivals and groups, such as beagling clubs, pursue the animals with dogs. Between September 28 and February 28 hares may be hunted using packs of beagles or harriers without need of a special licence. The Department of the Environment may issue licences to hunt outside the open season but none has been granted in recent years.

"Let the hare sit" is an ancient exhortation in this country to leave well enough alone. When a hare sits up in the wild it is a signal to a would-be predator such as a fox that its element of surprise has been lost. The hare feels secure. The fox, being wise, does not pursue the hare which it knows will outrun it.

But trained dogs such as greyhounds are not natural predators of hares and when a hare sits up in a coursing paddock it does not expect to be hunted. It is not natural for a hare to run in blind panic in an enclosed place, and neither is catching and enclosing the animals prior to coursing. Such confinement can contribute to a fatal condition called stress myopathy. In at least one recorded instance 50 per cent of animals caught died in captivity.

Apart from such factors being responsible for the decline of the mountain hare, other reasons have to be considered. Farmers will report an absence of hares where once they thrived. A fragmented local population is susceptible to decline due to changed agricultural practices such as chemical usage and huge tracts of grass, expanses of growth useless to hares once a certain height (25-30cm) is reached. The animals might as well be in a desert. The hare is vulnerable. Its young, leverets, lie still in grassy 'forms' during the day waiting for the mother to return to suckle them. Then "the timid hare throws daylight fears away when birds are gone to bed and cows are still", wrote the poet John Clare. In the mornings they dance and play and "lick the dewfall from the barley's head". Long may they continue, unpersecuted.

* I thank those who wrote letters to the editor about the recent piece on the plight of the remaining hares on Bull Island and the continuing dangers to them from the unleashed dogs of some thoughtless ramblers

21. Campaign Quotes

"I am disappointed at the cynical decision by the Labour Party to abandon its opposition to blood sports. Senior members of the party, including its current leader, Deputy Eamon Gilmore, and the former leaders, Deputy Pat Rabbitte and Deputy Ruari Quinn, publicly stated their opposition to blood sports, including stag hunting. It is all on the record. Now, in a complete U-turn, the party is to vote in favour of blood sports when the wildlife Bill to ban stag hunting comes before the Houses of the Oireachtas. It is a sad day for politics in Ireland when the Labour Party decides to vote in support of the continuation of a blood sport. It appears that for the Labour Party Members, no principle is too cherished to be abandoned if they believe there are votes in it for them." John Gormley, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 24 June 2010

"I want to start by saying that the position of the Labour Party is completely hypocritical...The Labour Party has come out unequivocally against blood sports...The Labour Party leader put down a question to me in this House in 2007 and asked me specifically to ban the Ward Union Hunt. The party has an entirely different position tonight. That is what I call a U-turn...There are many Labour Party people who find the Deputy's behaviour absolutely shameful. He has done a complete U-turn on this issue...The Labour Party is supposed to stand for something but it stands for absolutely nothing. It is sitting on the fence and Deputy Gilmore is a complete and utter coward. The man does not stand for anything...What it is doing this evening is extremely opportunistic and cynical. Individuals in the Labour Party have clearly and unequivocally stated they oppose bloodsports." Minister John Gormley highlighting the Labour Party's u-turn in voting against a ban on staghunting, despite many of its TDs previously expressing opposition to blood sports. Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010 -

"The ARAN photocall was highlighting how the Labour Party did a severe u-turn recently by opposing the Ward Union stag hunt which ended up passing and is now going into law. ARAN has kept up the pressure behind the scenes urging Labour to vote for strengthened legislation. Although yet again correspondence received by ARAN from Labour prior to yesterday's vote was that the party were looking for several amendments which the RISE! pro-hunt campaign called for - it was literally word for word. ARAN are incensed that at such a critical time for Irish animal protection legislation, the Party have continued to back pro-hunters." Animal Rights Action Network - - 9th July 2010

"A story told by the naturalist WH Hudson more than 100 years ago has always intrigued me. A man who kept a magpie in a hutch - perhaps a precursor of the Larsen trap - observed that some small birds who daringly snatched crumbs through the bars were inevitably lunged at by the pied prisoner. All but one: a robin that appeared to have a damaged beak. For this tiny bird the magpie was seen to break up crusts and feed it!" From Country Matters, Irish Independent, July 2010

"A coalition of South Tipperary Regional Game Council, Glen Gun Club, South Tipperary IFA, South Premier Harriers, Cashel Coursing Club, Suir Valley Harriers, Clonmel/ Kilsheelan Coursing Club, Premier Harriers, Fourmilewater Gun Club, IFA Countryside, Nire Valley Gun Club, Ardfinnan Anglers Club, Sliabh gCua Gun Club, R I S E, Cashel Harriers, Cahir Gun Club, Jessfield Hunt Ballingarry, Tipperary Fox Hounds, Cahir Anglers Club, Ballylusky White Heathers Harriers, Ardfinnan, Ballybacon, Grange & Newcastle Gun Club, Golden Vale Fox Hounds, North Tipperary Foxhounds, Nenagh Harriers, FACE Ireland have praised Mr McGrath as well as Tom Hayes, Michael Lowry and Noel Coonan for their opposition to John Gormley's bill [Wildlife Amendment Bill that banned the Ward Union deerhunt]. The Nationalist Newspaper -

"It might interest the Deputies opposite, although it may not, to know that there was a similar debate in the House of Commons in March 1825. The British House of Commons debated a Bill which sought to bring an end to the practices of bear baiting and bull baiting. From a quick read of the Hansard report of the debate, Members should note that the following arguments were used. It was stated at that time that this was a traditional rural pastime, that it was a trivial Bill, that the bears subject to the baiting were well cared for and that it would lead to a ban on hunting, shooting and fishing. Some 180 years on we can see that exactly the same arguments are being dusted down and taken off the shelf in the debate on stag hunting." John Gormley, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010 -

"Studies carried out on the Ward Union Hunt found evidence of physiological recovery within three or four days and full recovery within ten days, and two months post hunt the hunted deer were found to be in good health. If one starts bringing the issue of animal cruelty into the debate one could talk about horse racing or many other activities on which people would have a point of view." (Joanna Tuffy, TD Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages, 29 June 2010 -

"I do not know what sort of information the Deputy [Tuffy] has but one does not need to be a vet or any specialist to see that the animal in question is under severe stress. It is a domesticated animal. The vets to whom I have spoken have clearly stated that the animal is under severe stress." Minister John Gormley responding to Joanna Tuffy, TD during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages, 29 June 2010 -

"What we have here is a complete throw-back. This is an anachronism. The Deputies opposite represent the past. They represent an uncivilised mindset - people who do not have an ounce of compassion. As for the Labour Party this is a shameful evening for it." John Gormley, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010 -

"There are many on the Fine Gael Party benches who are on record as strongly opposing blood sports. Tonight, they will shamefully line up and vote against forward looking legislation." Paul Gogarty, TD during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages, 29 June 2010

"The Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Eamon O Cuiv, is fortunate he was not killed some years ago when his car burst into flames after hitting a deer." Comment during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages, 29 June 2010 -

"The Irish Council Against Blood Sports and other animal rights groups have campaigned ardently for a ban on staghunting. Fine Gael will oppose any change to existing licensing arrangements for stag hunting and will reverse any changes made by the present government in that regard." Pro-hunting TD, Phil Hogan in a statement on staghunting, 2010.

"Due to the support of Minister Gormley (Green Party) and his deputies the Wildlife Amendment Act 2010 was passed last week in the Dail. We applaud Minister Gormley for being a politician who stands by and fights for his beliefs, as do his deputies. His party is worthy of YOUR SUPPORT. Politicians who stand by their promises are rare and in Minister Gormley and his deputies all of us involved in animal welfare have someone who had the courage to stand firm. The vote was close, very close, but the ACT was passed. Well done John Gormley, we are proud of you." (Cork Animal Care Society thanks Minister Gormley -

"A new all-weather gallop is now up and running in our club grounds in Ballyglasheen. The gallop is 350 yards long and 12 feet wide, with the proven 'Boomerang' wood pulp surface. A drag lure is available if required. Club officials are present during opening hours to assist anybody wishing to join our club and use the facility." (Clonmel and Kilsheelan Coursing Club making a drag lure available for greyhounds to chase during exercising ICABS is calling for hare coursing to be replaced by drag coursing)

"Labour Party councillors in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council passed a motion calling on me to ban the Ward Union Hunt. That is a fact." Minister John Gormley during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010 -

"We operate a zero tolerance policy," said PC Marina, who is now considered one of [England's] top authorities on preventing hare coursing. "When I started, there were around 120 incidents related to hare coursing every year. Last year there were 24. That means incidents have reduced by 70 per cent. From PC Paul stays the course to protect hares, Royston Crow newspaper, England. 5 July, 2010.

"And then there was Arthur Morgan. Like the Labour Party, Sinn Fein has done a complete U-turn on stag hunting. A motion was passed at the 2009 Ard Fheis calling for a ban on all blood sports. Then the hare coursing fraternity within the party got to work and managed to completely reverse the decision at this year's Ard Fheis...Arthur Morgan has a very strong view on all this. He supports the ban on stag hunting passionately. He was in a bit of a quandary yesterday. He would have voted to support the Bill if there was a free vote or even if it looked like the Government had the numbers to easily pass. But if it was close and the Government looked like falling, he might have been persuaded to vote against, as a protest against all the other Government policies and decisions he opposed. The solution? He kicked up a racket yesterday afternoon and got chucked out of the Dail. It essentially solved the problem at a stroke." Harry McGee, Irish Times Website, June 30, 2010 -

"I was the only TD from Wicklow to [vote in favour of a ban on the Ward Union]." Dick Roche, TD. June 30, 2010

"I have no problem with hunting, as long as it's the developers, politicians and spin doctors in the place of the fox and those who have lost their jobs on the horses. Tally-ho!" David Smith, from a comment left on the Sunday Tribune website, July 4, 2010

"I came across a hunt on my way home from work last night. Those poor dogs were walking skeletons! I was horrified by them; I rang the gardai but unfortunately as it is still legal what could they do. How those dogs are even walking is beyond me." From a commented posted on the ICABS Facebook page, May 20, 2010

"The Green Party has been criticised by public health specialist Prof Patrick Wall for its stance on banning stag hunting...He said he supported hunting and people feared that the stag-hunting ban would be followed by bans on fox hunting, coursing, fishing, and the control of badgers to eradicate TB." Irish Times, May 31, 2010

"Gormley is being wrongly vilified over his Wildlife Bill." Sunday Tribune, July 4th, 2010

"RISE claims 300,000 supporters and says 55,000 people have signed its petition. However, the average turnout at protests is about 200-250." (Pro-hunt group has not registered on donations, Irish Times, July 2, 2010)

"I am just listening to Joe Duffy on deer hunting. I am sickened to my stomach at the cruelty dealt out to these poor animals. These people who engage in this are savages. They represent the lowest form of life. They are big fat arsed bullies and cowards. Obviously they are thrilled and excited at the suffering of others animal or human. It is time to call a halt and re-educate these thugs." (Comment left on ICABS Ban the Ward Union video on Youtube, Jun 29, 2010)

"I believe...that blood sports are barbaric and that fox hunting, stag hunting and hare coursing have no place in a civilised society and should be outlawed in the same way as we outlawed cock fighting and bear baiting...The introduction of the 2004 Act has changed the mindset of the majority of hunts in England and Wales. They have turned to drag hunting which provides all the excitement and colour of the chase, protecting the tradition without the cruelty." Brian Wilson, MLA, Northern Ireland Assembly (from Greens unveil hunt ban proposals, The Corkman, March 31 2010)

"My principle is always that that I will only walk out of a film if it contains actual scenes of animal cruelty or actual scenes of child abuse. That is the only circumstances under which I will walk out of a film. I was watching The Losers the other day and there is a cockfighting scene in it and i felt myself twitch for a minute but then of course it had been through the BBFC [British Board of Film Classification] and the BBFC would automatically cut anything that involved actual cockfighting so it was fine. But cockfighting i find really reprehensible and the idea of it being in a 12 Certificate movie as a kind of causal pastime i think is pretty annoying." Mark Kermode, BBC Radio 5 Live, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews, 28th May 2010

22. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now

Ricky Gervais says Ban Bullfighting in Catalonia

Petition to stop the abuse of Donkey Taxis in Santorini

Help India's monkeys

Stop Burning Live Bulls - End Sadistic Festivals

Hare coursing will start again if protection is lifted

Top ways you can help the campaign

Please make a donation to ICABS

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports relies entirely on your generosity to continue our campaigning for an end to blood sport cruelty. Please become a supporter of our work today - click on Shop at for more details or send a cheque to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.

Keep hunters off your land

Make it known publicly that your land is off-limits to hunters. Place a preservation notice in your local newspaper now. Here is a sample notice that you may wish to use: "Take notice that all my lands at [Insert address(es) of land] are private and preserved day and night. All forms of hunting and shooting are strictly prohibited. Trespassers will be prosecuted. Signed [Insert name(s) of landowner]" For more information, click on Farmers at

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

Footage of blood sport cruelty and the humane alternatives can be viewed on the ICABS Channel on Youtube - or by clicking on "Videos" at Please ask your local TD/Senator to view our videos and back a blood sports ban.

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