Animal Voice: Issue 12 - December 2010
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In this edition:

01. Happy Christmas from ICABS
02. Ask Minister Gormley to stop coursers who breached conditions
03. Maureen O'Sullivan, TD calls for severe weather hunting ban
04. Just published: Animal Voice Magazine
05. "I'm against any type of blood sport": Cllr Gino Kenny
06. New ICABS Mobile Website
07. Opinion Poll: Vote NO to wearing fur
08. Great news: Nicaragua bans cruel bull festivals
09. Carrigdhoun asked to present the full story
10. The decline of the Irish hare
11. Letters to Editors
12. Campaign Quotes
13. Petitions
14. Temporary closure of the hunting season for wild birds

01. Happy Christmas from ICABS

A very happy Christmas to you from all at the Irish Council Against Blood Sports. We thank you for your support throughout the year and look forward to your continued help with our campaigns in 2011.

You can find our Christmas e-card to you at

Help highlight our campaigns. Send an ICABS e-card to friends

If you wish to make a Christmas donation, please click on the Paypal button at Thank you.

02. Ask Minister Gormley to stop coursers who breached conditions

ICABS continues to call for a ban on all hare coursing and an end to licences which allow this appalling cruelty to continue.

We are appealing for a withdrawal of the current coursing licence. Alongside this, we are calling for, at the very least, a stop to coursing clubs which breached conditions of the licence granted to them last season.

Some months ago, we made a submission to Minister Gormley and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, identifying coursing clubs which breached conditions. Sadly, to our knowledge, no action has yet been taken again these clubs and a number of them have gone ahead with their meetings in the past few weeks. We have renewed our appeal to Minister Gormley to take urgent action against any club that is found to have previously broken conditions.

Join us in our call by sending an email to Minister Gormley today - - or phoning his office on Tel: 01-888 2403. Emphasise your desire to see a total ban on coursing and permanent protection for the Irish Hare.

Please also continue lobbying your local TDs and urge them to back a ban on coursing and all blood sports.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

03. Maureen O'Sullivan, TD calls for severe weather hunting ban

Independent TD and ICABS President, Maureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central) has called on Minister John Gormley to consider a ban on the hunting of wildlife due to the severity of the winter weather. In response, the Minister stated: "I did not consider it necessary to ban the hunting of deer or hares or other animals protected under the Wildlife Acts."

As the harsh weather continues, foxes, hares, deer and other creatures continue to endure suffering and death at the hands of heartless hunters.

After reading the Dail Q&A below, please contact the Minister and ask him to show compassion for the struggling wildlife and protect them from hunters and coursers.


Contact Minister Gormley and ask him to ban the hunting and coursing of wildlife.

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
Phone: +353 1 888 3220. Fax: +353 1 888 3272

Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 264 - Answered on 14th December, 2010

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if, in view of the position taken by National Parks and Wildlife Service to ban the hunting and shooting of wild birds because of the severe weather, if he will consider a similar ban on the hunting of mammals such as fox, hare, deer and so on.

Written Answer. Ref No: 47299/10

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr John Gormley):

Due to the recent severe weather conditions I decided to introduce a temporary closure of the hunting season for wild birds for the period from 8 December, 2010. This temporary closure ends tonight (14 December).

I have no powers to control the hunting of foxes as they are not a protected species under the Wildlife Acts. I did not consider it necessary to ban the hunting of deer or hares or other animals protected under the Wildlife Acts. I am aware that some of the hunting bodies brought in voluntary hunting bans for deer for their members and I appreciate their efforts in this regard. In relation to hares I understand that a number of coursing meetings were postponed during the recent severe weather.

My Department will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding the hunting of wild game on a daily basis as long as the threat of very cold weather persists.

04. Just published: Animal Voice Magazine

The Winter 2010-11 Edition of Animal Voice magazine has just been published and sent to ICABS subscribers. If you haven't received a copy and would like us to send you one, please get in touch now with your name and postal address.

Animal Voice is a 48-page A5 magazine full of campaign news and action alerts.

05. "I'm against any type of blood sport": Cllr Gino Kenny

South Dublin County Council member, Gino Kenny, has said that he is "against any type of blood sport which wantonly hurts any animal". Cllr Kenny of the People Before Profit Alliance told ICABS that he hopes that blood sports will soon come to an end in Ireland.

"I hope one day soon that blood sports in Britain and Ireland are a relic of the past," the Clondalkin Councillor stated.

ICABS greatly welcomes Cllr Kenny's compassionate stance.

Gino Kenny announced in November that he will be standing as a candidate in the next General Election. He will be People Before Profit's candidate in the Dublin Mid West Constituency. Find out more at

06. New ICABS Mobile Website

Check out the new ICABS mobile website at

Aimed at those keeping in touch with the campaign via mobile phones and internet-enabled devices, we hope this site will prove popular with supporters, politicians and members of the public.

Among the pages currently included are:
Quick Campaigns from which email appeals can be sent to politicians
Useful Numbers - a listing of phone numbers to use when reporting cruelty to animals
Videos - a link to the ICABS Channel on Youtube Mobile

07. Opinion Poll: Vote NO to wearing fur

Do you think it is acceptable to wear fur?
Please vote NO in the CBC News poll

08. Great news: Nicaragua bans cruel bull festivals

(Source: CAS International)

Nicaragua has adopted an Animal Protection Law that prohibits cruel bull festivals!

Nicaragua does not organise 'regular' bullfights, but they do have bull festivals during which bulls are tortured and/or killed by hundreds of men who are often very drunk.

The decision made by Congress - that was adopted almost unanimously - was applauded by local animal protection organisations and WSPA, who lobbied for five years for an animal protection law that bans cruel bull festivals.

This ban is a great continuation of the ban on bullfighting in the Spanish region of Catalonia, in July 2010. The animal protection law in Nicaragua was supported by 74 members of Congress. Only five congress members voted against it.

Nicaragua is the first country that bans cruel bull festivals on a national level, almost a hundred years after the ban on bullfighting in Uruguay, in 1912.

In Nicaragua, other cruel festivals with animals are organised as well, such as fiestas during which horses are forced to drink alcohol, after which drunken villagers ride them towards a live duck hanging upside down on a rope. The villagers decapitate the duck with their bare hands: This kind of festival will also be banned thanks to the new animal protection law, which will most probably be implemented in 2011.

Unfortunately, an exception is made for cockfighting. CAS International and other organisations will continue campaigning to end all cruel festivals with animals.

Note: ICABS has emailed the Nicaraguan Embassy in Denmark ( to convey our congratulations and to express our hope that cockfighting will also be banned in the near future.

09. Carrigdhoun asked to present the full story

ICABS has appealed to The Carrigdhoun newspaper to stop giving positive coverage to foxhunting groups.

The call came following a 23rd October 2010 report entitled "South Union Hunt Kilkenny Hunt Story".

"This story certainly wasn't the full story!" ICABS commented to the editor. "We were told of a new huntsman and of a supper but there was no mention of the foxes terrorised and killed by hunts.

"Readers may be interested to know that it is the gruesome activities of the South Union that feature in our Ban Foxhunting campaign video," we added. "One of the scenes shows a terrified fox being dug out of the ground with a hunt terrier biting into its scalp."

You can contact the newspaper at

10. The decline of the Irish hare

Mike Rendle of the Irish Hare Initiative analyses the population data which shows that the Irish hare is suffering a long-term decline...

Data on Irish hare numbers extends back to 1846 when shooting estates recorded their hare 'bags', the numbers of hares shot or netted in any given year. Whilst not a population survey by any means, these records chronicle the changing fortunes of our oldest surviving native mammal.

These historical accounts show a stable (and healthy) hare population in Ireland until the end of the 19th century. However, the beginning of the 20th century heralds the start of the species' decline, probably as a result of the introduction of mechanised grass cutting.

Since the 1950s, Irish hare numbers have demonstrated a multiannual cyclic fluctuation with a period currently of approximately three years. Not withstanding this cyclic effect, a clear pattern has emerged indicating that the Irish hare population is suffering a continuing long-term decline.

This conclusion is supported by all the available time-series data, including two studies carried out in the North of Ireland by the Department of Agriculture (1986-1995) and the Department of the Environment (2004-2009).

The patterns of population decline demonstrated by both of these recent surveys are remarkably similar and indicate a significant population loss (around 25%) at the end of each three year cycle.

Whilst only two Irish hare abundance datasets (2006 and 2007) are available for the South of Ireland, the population change in the South mirrors the trend in the North for the same period.

Furthermore, annual hare capture data (1988/89-2003/04) submitted by coursing clubs also exhibits a cyclic pattern and an overall downward temporal trend. Whilst not directly comparable to other time-series survey data, the coursing club data may provide further evidence of an ongoing long-term decline.

This nationwide decline is also widely supported by anecdotal evidence. Hares are now reported as locally extinct or in serious decline in many areas. It is no surprise that over 70 per cent of people throughout the island of Ireland support better protection for the Irish hare.

Maximising birthing rates and protection for breeding females is critical to a successful strategy for population recovery. Irish hares are now known to give birth throughout the year and absolute protection from activities such as coursing and hunting will complement and support wider practical conservation measures.

Greater protection for the Irish hare is an easily implemented, safe and cost-effective measure which will clearly signal the Irish hare's status as a priority species of conservation concern.

Visit the Irish Hare Initiative website at

11. Letters to Editors: December 2010

Outlaw the cruel 'sport' of hare coursing
Belfast Telegraph, 23 December 2010

Hare coursing is a barbaric activity carried out in 75 clubs throughout Ireland. It involves capturing wild hares and releasing them to be chased by greyhounds in a sickening bloodsport.

Hare coursing and bloodsports like this date back to Roman times and are a ridiculous excuse for a sport. Hares are forced to run for their lives before greyhounds while crowds gather to watch and bet on these events.

The population of wild hares is at a serious low and activities like hare coursing are detrimental to their survival.

Hare coursing was brought here by British soldiers and, ironically, it has already been banned in the UK.

This leaves Ireland the last hold-out on the matter and it seems now is the time for this brutal sport to be outlawed.

These activities often happen away from the public eye and are not heavily advertised.

If the people taking part in hare coursing believe it is socially acceptable, then why on earth do they hide it away from the public domain?

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is running a campaign which to eradicate hare coursing. Maybe this campaign will have it banned once and for all.

Justin Kelly
By e-mail

When will we finally see an end to blood sports?
Irish Examiner, December 21, 2010

All God's creatures have a place in the choir. So sang the late Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem.

Unfortunately, it seems that some creatures have been dropped from the ensemble.

The Department of the Environment has imposed a temporary ban on the shooting of game birds, effective until December 30, owing to severe weather conditions. While this brief respite from man's inhumanity is welcome, there is to be no let-up in the hounding of foxes and hares.

Foxes will continue to be chased to exhaustion and agonising death over the festive season. And the gentle hares will be snatched from their natural home in our currently frozen or snow-covered countryside and forced to run in terror from pairs of hyped-up greyhounds.

As if the fox or the hare were immune to the ravages of Mother Nature. But of course the powerful, massively financed pro-blood sport lobby still holds our politicians in a vice-like grip.

We saw its clout and influence in the run-up to the stag hunt ban last June.

A government with guts would face down the animal baiters and halt the twin obscenities of hare coursing and fox hunting.

Sadly, political cowardice is something many of us have come to expect from those who govern us.

Will Hell itself have frozen over before we see an end to blood sports in Ireland?

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

12. Campaign Quotes: December 2010

Motion passed by SDCC at Council meeting 13th December 2010: This Council condemns the importation and sale of real fur in Ireland and supports the campaign by CAFT Ireland by agreeing to ban the importation and sale of real fur in South Dublin County. From the website of South Dublin County Council, December 2010

ARAN will never be happy until all animals are free from captivity and exploitation and we'll continue to advocate whilst the gorillas and other animals who are caged at Dublin Zoo, are free. But for now, as long as society supports zoos the suffering will continue so we must do all we can to educate people never to support such exploitative establishments and spend their money elsewhere - after all, zoos put the 'con' in conservation. Animal Rights Action Network, December 2010

Lizzie is a terrier who was dropped off in our shelter over three weeks ago. On close examination we found that poor Lizzie had been used in the 'sport' of badger baiting. Badger baiting is where dogs are trained to attack badgers in their setts. It is a common so called 'sport' in Ireland. Dogs are trained from an early age to attack helpless badgers. As the badgers are torn apart limb by limb and their agonizing screams echo around the countryside the spectators laugh and jeer and video tape the final moments of their deaths as a keepsake. From the website of Cork SPCA, August 25th, 2010

The Donegal SPCA Society disapproves of (1) Puppy Farming (2) Fox Hunting (3) Hare Coursing (4) Stag Hunting (5) Mink Hunting (6) Trapping, and although these activities are deemed legal within Irish Law they are not acceptable to the Society as it cares for all animals, domestic, farm and wild. From the website of Donegal SPCA

Spotted a fox crossing a field of stubble bout 800 yds off. The landowner keeps hens so knew he'd appreciate one less fox. Gave a squeak and he stops dead in his track and looks at me, another few squeaks and he's heading in a straight line for me at a very quick pace!! At bout 60yds out, just before he dipped into a bit of dead ground, I gave a little yap and he stops dead in his tracks. Bang and 140gr hits him straight in his chest Mature dog cub, very very thin and obviously very hungry. From a shooting forum on, 22/12/2010

Today marks the anniversary of Snip Nua's tragic death in circumstances that saw her affluent syndicate owners - to include comedian Dara O'Brien - deny her veterinary care for a treatable racing injury and the right to be afforded a 'Duty of Care'. Please visit Snip's remembrance page and view a video made in memory of her short life - From 14th December 2010

The piglets used in tea experiments by the company which makes PG Tips, Lyons and Lipton wouldn't have been given names because they weren't treated as the thinking, feeling and affectionate individuals that they are. Instead, they were cut open in a cruel experiment, and parts of their intestines were removed while the animals were still alive. At the end of the experiment, the piglets were killed. Who was responsible for these hideous tests? The corporate giant behind PG Tips. Why? To assess the effects of tea. From 23 November, 2010

13. 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

Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts

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

14. Temporary closure of the hunting season for wild birds

The following notice appears on the NPWS website. If you are aware of any shooters continuing to shoot the birds listed, please report them immediately to your local Wildlife Ranger. You can find ranger numbers at or by phoning the NPWS on 01-8882000

Temporary Closure of Hunting (Open) Season for Birds Extended

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has extended the temporary closure of the hunting season for wild birds due to the recent freezing conditions across the State.

The Wildlife Act 1976 (Temporary Suspension of Open Season) (No.2) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2010 further suspends temporarily the hunting of wild birds due to the severity of weather conditions from Wednesday 22nd December 2010 up to and including Thursday 30th December 2010.

The species concerned are Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Scaup, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Golden Plover, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Red-legged Partridge, Cock Pheasant, Woodcock, Woodpigeon, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Ruddy Duck.

It does not affect shooting of pen-reared birds where a licence to do so has been issued under Section 22(9)(b) of the Wildlife Acts.

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.

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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