Animal Voice: Issue 11 - November 2010
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In this edition:

01. Why I granted extra licences: John Gormley
02. Red Mills wishes luck to cruel coursers
03. Hunters under threat from hunters
04. Complaint about priest who is coursing club patron
05. Bid to end foxhunting in Northern Ireland
06. Author appeals to Irish Church authorities
07. Candle Light Vigils for Animals - December 10th
08. Thieves target hunters
09. Fantastique: Bullfighting finished in Frejus, France
10. Landowners: Help save the Irish Hare
11. 3,000 Euro bull "shot dead by hunters"
12. Disgust expressed to London gallery
13. Campaign Quotes: November 2010
14. Petitions

01. Why I granted extra licences: John Gormley

Responding to a Dail Question from Maureen O'Sullivan, TD (Dublin Central), Minister John Gormley explained why he granted additional licences to two coursing clubs which gave permission to both to hold a coursing meeting on September 25th, 2010, ie a day "not specified in the hares order".

"Section 26(3) of the Wildlife Act 1976 allows me, as Minister, to grant a licence to a coursing club to undertake hare coursing on a day or days which are outside the Open Season Order dates, (between 26 September and 28 February)," he stated.

"The two clubs (Liscannor & Kilflynn) applied to my Department to hold meetings on Saturday 25 September, 2010. I approved these two applications as most meetings are traditionally held at weekends and given the fact that the granting of licences would not result in additional coursing meetings being held. Similar licences were issued to clubs in previous years."

ICABS is disappointed that Minister Gormley approved any of these licences, particularly given the fact that he is the leader of the Green Party which has said it is committed to bringing blood sports to an end in Ireland.

We have also made a complaint to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, a representative of which signed the licences.

"It is the role of the NPWS to conserve the Irish Hare, a species whose conservation status remains poor," we stated. "Facilitating a cruel blood sport which causes massive interference to the species, results in injury and death, and threatens local extinctions is undoubtedly contrary to this role."


Make your voice heard now. Demand an end to hare coursing in Ireland. Urge Minister Gormley to reflect the wishes of the majority of the electorate and revoke the licences he issued to the Irish Coursing Club. Urge him to follow the example of Northern Ireland and mainland UK and urgently bring this barbarism to an end.

Minister John Gormley
Department Of The Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

With a copy to - An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen
ciaran.o', - NPWS
Phone: +353 1 888 3220. Fax: +353 1 888 3272

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

If you have time, please compose your own personal letter.
Otherwise, feel free to Send a copy of the sample letter

Dear Sirs

I am writing to express my great disappointment at your granting of further licences which allow coursing to continue for yet another season.

These shameful licences are giving the go-ahead to an activity that is causing stress, injury and death to hares and resulting in massive interference to this species whose conservation status is described by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as poor.

As one of the majority of Irish people opposed to this disgusting blood sport, I urge you to revoke the licences immediately and put in place permanent protection for the threatened Irish Hare species.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


02. Red Mills wishes luck to cruel coursers

ICABS has made a fresh appeal to Red Mills to disassociate from coursing. The call is in response to an advert in a Thurles coursing booklet which states "Best of Luck from Red Mills". Photos from the meeting which show hares running for their lives (See have been brought to the attention of the company.

Red Mills, which produce Leader and Winner dog foods and the Super Premium Cat range, previously assured ICABS that they had "very strict policies against associating our brand with such sports [as hare coursing]".

However, in addition to the advert in the Thurles coursing booklet, ICABS notes that the company also was a "sponsor of the presentation sheets" at the Edenderry coursing meeting and also advertised in the club's booklet. Furthermore, according to a report on a coursing website, one of the events at the Tipperary and District Coursing Meeting in February 2010 was the "Red Mills All Age Cup". At a coursing meeting in Templetuohy in January, one of the events listed is the Red Mills All Age Bitch Stake.

In our correspondence, we pointed out that most Irish people want coursing banned and that the activity is illegal in the UK where a ban has majority support and is strictly enforced by the police.

"We hope Red Mills can recognise the inappropriateness of giving financial support to an animal cruelty activity," we appealed. "Both from a moral point of view and also from a business perspective, given the fact that a majority in Ireland and the UK are opposed to coursing."


Please join us in urging Red Mills to disassociate from coursing. If the company's association with coursing would make you avoid purchasing their products, please stress this in your correspondence.

Mr Michael Connolly
International Business Director
Red Mills
Co Kilkenny
Tel: +353-(0)599775800
Fax: +353-(0)599775378

03. Hunters under threat from hunters

The Countryman's Weekly Magazine has highlighted the ongoing threat to hunting in Ireland - from hunters themselves.

The November 2nd edition reveals that "fighting and bickering in hunt committees is notorious" and that it leads to splits and the formation of "breakaway packs".

"These breakaways will be hunting over grounds already being hunted so how are farmers likely to react?" asks writer Rachel Green. She goes on to remark that "farmers are now under more pressure than ever before so being pro-hunting isn't exactly top of their priorities."

Also flagged is the question of "how many breakaways have third party insurance", a major consideration and one that would make even the most pro-hunting landowner think twice about letting hunters in.

"It's no good saying we'll never be banned here as nothing is further from the truth," the report adds.

ICABS continues to appeal to landowners to make their land off-limits to hunters. For advice on how to do this, please click on Farmers at Thank you.

04. Complaint about priest who is coursing club patron

ICABS has complained to the head of the Catholic Church about a priest who is listed as the patron of a coursing club. We have renewed our appeal to the Church to stop clergy involvement in blood sports.

On the front cover of the Thurles and District Coursing Club booklet, a Fr Egan is listed as the club's patron. In an email to the priest, we pointed out that hare coursing is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

We referred to Paragraph 2418 of the Catechism which states that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly." The Catechism also says that "Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness."

"Those who violently remove hares from the wild in nets, keep them in captivity and force them to run for their lives in front of greyhounds are certainly causing animals to suffer needlessly," we stated in our correspondence. "Hares removed from their habitats and manhandled suffer life-threatening stress. Those pounded into the ground by the greyhounds suffer internal injuries, including broken bones and dislocated hips. Every coursing season, hares die as a result of injuries sustained on coursing fields."

A photograph of a priest [who we believe is Fr Egan] at the Thurles coursing meeting appears online. See it at A photo of the same priest at the Irish Cup coursing meeting was previously published in the February 27th, 2003 issue of the Sporting Press. You can see photos of hares running for their lives at the Thurles meeting at

We have urged Fr Egan to denounce coursing, disassociate from it and "work to convey the Catechism's message of compassion to those who sinfully take pleasure in causing suffering to defenceless creatures".

We have renewed our appeal to Cardinal Sean Brady to act to end clergy involvement in blood sports.


Please join us in urging the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to act to end clergy involvement in blood sports.

Cardinal Sean Brady
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
President, Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Ara Coeli, Armagh BT61 7QY
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Fax: +44 (0)28 3752 6182
Please note: When calling from the Republic of Ireland there is a direct code 048 before the local number

Send a copy of your correspondence to the Papal Nuncio

Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza
Apostolic Nuncio
The Apostolic Nunciature
183 Navan Road
Dublin 7
Tel: +353 (0)1 838 0577
Fax: +353(0)1 838 0276

05. Bid to end foxhunting in Northern Ireland

"A Green Party bid to extend Great Britain's ban on foxhunting to Northern Ireland has been tabled in the Stormont Assembly," the Belfast Telegraph of 17 November has reported.

Green MLA Brian Wilson who proposed the Bill, described blood sports as "barbaric".

"Hunting foxes with horses and hounds is an inherently cruel practice and I for one do not want to live in a society where any animal is tortured and abused for entertainment," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

Dismissing any suggestion that a ban would have negative impacts, Mr Wilson pointed to the transition to drag hunting in England, Scotland and Wales.

"This provides all the excitement of the chase and colour and tradition without having the cruelty of a small animal being torn apart," he said, adding that "the predictions that thousands of horses and hounds would be put down and there would be a massive increase in rural unemployment have not been fulfilled."

ICABS has thanked Brian Wilson MLA for his compassionate move.

A date for debate on the Bill has yet to be announced.

06. Author appeals to Irish Church authorities

Author Deborah M Jones has joined calls for the Irish Church authorities to act to stop clergy involvement in blood sports.

Deborah is General Secretary of the UK's Catholic Concern For Animals group and author of "The School of Compassion: A Roman Catholic Theology of Animals" and "Concern for Animals: from a Catholic Perspective".

"For many years Catholic Concern for Animals has been drawing the attention of the Church to the abuses of God's creation which are counter to the Gospel imperatives of service, compassion and mercy," she wrote in a letter to Cardinal Sean Brady and Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza. "For many years also, various individuals and organisations have been alerting us to the involvement of Church personnel in activities which are inimical to those Gospel imperatives, especially of those clergy who hunt and support the hunting of animals for sport - blessing the hounds and making awards to owners of coursing dogs, etc.

"Not only do these priests cause scandal among the large majority of our islands' populations who find such activities unbelievably cruel and inhumane, but they are also going counter to the Catechism."

"We appeal to you to take action to prevent further abuses of this nature within the Church in Ireland," she appealed.

ICABS thanks Deborah M Jones and Catholic Concern for Animals ( for their support with this issue.

07. Candle Light Vigils for Animals - December 10th

The Animal Rights Action Network and the Irish Anti Vivisection Society are organising a special candle light vigil in Dublin to remember all the animals that have suffered in Ireland throughout the year and to draw attention to those that will continue to suffer over Christmas and into the New Year.

The vigil is to take place in Dublin City on Friday, December 10th 2010 from 6pm-8pm outside Dail Eireann, Kildare Street Entrance, Dublin 1. For more details, please contact ARAN ( or 087-2391646).

A candle light vigil will also take place in Galway City on the same Friday evening, December 10th from 6-8pm. Contact ARAN for location details.

All are welcome to both events. Please make a special effort to support either. Thank you.

08. Thieves target hunters

Rural robbers are making a killing on valuables left in the vehicles of hunters, it has emerged.

Posters on a hunting forum are disgusted that while they are out gunning down defenceless animals, their vehicles are being mercilessly targeted.

"This is the last thing you would expect after a day's shooting," one affected hunter moaned. "I was out for a shoot yesturday (sic) afternoon. Arrived back at the jeep a few hours later to find the jeep had been broken into. They took my iphone and the mates wallet which were in the glove box and a pair of sunglasses and a set of binoculars. We found the binos in a ditch 500m away."

Blasting the thieves as "absolute scum", the hunters complain that they are being stalked in both remote countryside and more open areas.

"The local hunt had there (sic) cars and jeeps done while they were parked at a pub on a busyish road," another hunter grumbled. "These opportunists know what time of year it is with loads of vans/cars parked around the roads."

In an incident in Westmeath, it is claimed that Eur2,000 worth of items were swiped from a jeep after thieves uncovered keys to the vehicle in an attached horsebox.

09. Fantastique: Bullfighting finished in Frejus, France

CAS International has reported the fantastic news that bullfighting has come to an end in Frejus, France.

"The mayor of the French municipality has announced that the city will no longer organise bullfights," a statement from the Dutch group reveals. "This will end a tradition of bull and horse suffering that lasted for more than 100 years."

Bullfights were organised every summer at the local Roman amphitheatre venue up until 2007 when a renovation project began. It was initially stated that bullfighting would resume in 2011 when work was completed but this latest announcement marks an about-turn following demonstrations of massive public opposition.

An opinion poll showed that 62 per cent of locals are against bullfighting and 78 per cent did not want the city to grant subsidies to bullfighting events. Also, 15,000 Frejus inhabitants signed an anti-bullfighting petition.

CAS and other groups say they are determined to keep campaigning until the abuse of bulls is ended in the remaining locations in the Southwest of France.

10. Landowners: Help save the Irish Hare

With a licence from Minister John Gormley, Ireland's coursers are currently netting hares for their cruel blood sport and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on landowners to act to keep coursers out and save hares from the cruelty of coursing.

If you are a landowner, please download, laminate and display copies of our poster - "Hare Sanctuary - No Coursing, No Netting, No Hunting". Please note that the licence does not give coursers the right to enter land without permission; if a trespass occurs on your land, please contact the Gardai immediately. The contact details for garda stations can be found on

Thank you very much.

Download the poster now (pdf, 92kb)
or click on FARMERS at for more info

11. 3,000 Euro bull "shot dead by hunters"

The following article from the Irish Independent is a reminder to farmers to make their land off limits to all hunters. Please click on Farmers at for more information on how to keep hunters off your property.

Farmer finds his pedigree bull 'shot dead by hunters'
Irish Independent, October 26 2010
By Darragh McCullough

A Kilkenny beef farmer was dismayed after he discovered one of his pedigree bulls shot dead on his farm.

Christy Comerford was going about his daily feeding routine on his farm at Castlewarren, eight miles northeast of Kilkenny city, when he discovered the one-year-old pedigree Charolais bull motionless in the field.

The well-known breeder who has won many national titles with his Knockmahon Herd says the bull was killed instantly when he was shot through the eye.

He estimates that the bull, by the French sire Veracruz, was worth at least Eur3,000. He was to be sold in just four months' time. There were 15 other pedigree Charolais bulls present in the field that was adjacent to a public road at the time. "I was mad at first," said Mr Comerford. "But to be honest I'm glad they didn't hit the champion bull I had on the other side of the fence that night." He estimates that bull to be worth more than Eur30,000.

Local knackery operator John Stynes, who collected the bull, said that he has come across almost one shot farm animal per month recently. These include sheep, yearlings, and a cow. "She was shot in the stomach, but it wasn't noticed until she got peritonitis and died," said Mr Stynes. "It was only then that we noticed that she had a semi-healed wound on her side where she'd been shot. I often think it's just lads shooting anything they catch in the lamp at the end of the night out of badness."

Mr Comerford, who has never shot a gun in his life, thinks it was probably hunters out lamping foxes that shot his bull. "But I'm also suspicious that it might have been destined for the freezer," he said.

Mr Comerford's insurer, FBD, is refusing to cover the farmer for the loss of the animal. "They told me that if I had shot it myself by mistake they would be able to compensate me. But in this case they say the shooter's insurance company are responsible for the damage."

National director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), Des Crofton, said that his organisation fully covers any damage to livestock or property by its members. He says that the NARGC has had to deal with less than 10 cases of farm animals shot by its 28,000 members over the last year.

However, he insisted that there was no reason for NARGC members not to own up to any accidents.

"We will always fully cover the costs involved and it doesn't affect the member's premium the following year," he said. "If they didn't own up, they would very quickly find themselves unwelcome visitors on farms all over the country."

12. Disgust expressed to London gallery

ICABS has expressed disgust to the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London after a hunting photo was awarded first prize in a competition.

The photo showing an American teenager with the buck she shot was announced as the winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010.

"The image shows 14-year-old Josie Slaughter from Alabama on her first hunting trip to South Africa," an article in the UK's Guardian newspaper outlined. "Against a stunning background and sky, she looks impassively in to the camera, holding the dead animal's antlers up to prevent it flopping lifelessly over the horse's neck." You can read the full report and see the photo at

In an email to the gallery and competition sponsors, ICABS said that the photo is in extremely poor taste. "Choosing such an image as a winner shows a regrettable lack of empathy for the animal whose life was stolen and is a very poor reflection on the NPG, the judges and the sponsor Taylor Wessing," we stated.

Replied NPG Communications Co-ordinator, Helen Corcoran: "Huntress with Buck by David Chancellor was chosen by the judges on its artistic merit as a portrait. The Gallery acknowledges that the portrait does portray an emotive subject. The role of the documentary photographer is to be objective and neither celebrate nor condone the subject. As a forum for the best in contemporary photographic portraiture the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize has included controversial subjects in previous years."

If you would like to contact the gallery and sponsor, the email addresses are,

ICABS Action Alerts

Please visit our new action alerts page for quick and easy access to all the latest ICABS action alerts. Click on the red action alerts banner on our homepage - - to access them now! Thank you.

13. Campaign Quotes: November 2010

"Thousands of animals are suffering in Irish laboratories right now. Most people are very surprised to learn that animals are routinely used and killed in laboratories around Ireland. People are very concerned when they hear that experiments are conducted in this country on dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and pigs as well as the most commonly used rats and mice." From the website of the Irish Anti Vivisection Society -

"Mr Douglas Batchelor [CEO, League Against Cruel Sports] said the ‘hypocrisy’ of the response [from Samsonite, in relation to its bullfight TV advert] showed a lack of understanding. 'To describe a simulated bullfighting scene as a celebration of form and motion is obscene. The death of the bull is the raison d'etre of bullfighting and everyone knows that. It’s a serious error of judgement on their part,' he said." League Against Cruel Sports, 02 November 2010

"This is where things start to fall apart. The "breakaways" have no rules or guidance and as such, often by lack of knowledge or don't care attitude transgress the rules of recognised hunting. Their misdemeanours play right into the hands of the antis and, to the public, hunting is hunting, be it a recognised or breakaway pack." from What does the new season hold for us?, Countryman's Weekly, 2nd November 2010.

"Hunting is facing difficult times here in Ireland with the Green Party having made it known that they want to abolish it one way or another." from What does the new season hold for us?, Countryman's Weekly, 2nd November 2010.

14. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports In Ireland Now

End Hare Coursing In Ireland

Ban Irish Fox Hunting

Tell Samsonite to Stop Promoting Animal Cruelty to Sell Luggage

Stop the Yellowstone Bison Slaughter

Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts

Ban Bullfights In Mexico

Help End Spain's Cruel "Speared Bull" Event

Help end the suffering of bulls in Nimes
(Please print and collect signatures)

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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