Newsletter

Animal Voice: Special Edition
Ban the Ward Union Hunt

Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In this edition:

01. Contact your TDs - Urge them to support the Bill
02. Labour playing cynical politics with animal welfare
03. Labour's shameful U-turn on cruelty
04. Majority want Ward Union BANNED - Latest poll
05. Dail debate on Ward Union ban - What did your TD have to say?
06. Fianna Fail Councillor Shane Cassells conveys majority support for ban
07. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council calls for Ward Union ban
08. Fine Gael Road Safety Spokesperson is challenged on Ward Union support
09. Compassionate Cavan Councillors thanked for not supporting hunting motion
10. Meath Councillors "should be ashamed of themselves"
11. "I am absolutely against this horrific activity": Cllr Victor Boyhan
12. "It's unnecessary suffering. It's as simple as that": Ward Union cruelty condemned at meeting
13. The Bill that will ban carted deer hunting
14. Majority support a ban on Ward Union
15. Ward Union deer shot dead with bolt gun
16. Stagg's stunning U-turn on blood sports
17. "Phoney war is being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers"
18. Renewed appeal: Urge Fine Gael to back ban on staghunting
19. The cruelty of carted deer hunting
20. ICABS on Flickr
21. Letters to editors
22. Campaign Quotes

01. Contact your TDs - Urge them to support the Bill

Please spare a few minutes to support this urgent action alert. contact all the TDs in your constituency and urge them to vote in favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill which will ban the Ward Union hunt. The vote takes places this Tuesday, 29th June, so please act now. It's easy - simply click on your constituency below and an email will be created for you to send. For phone numbers, please visit the each party's website.

If you would like to read a transcript of this week's debate on the Bill and see what your TDs had to say, please visit http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=DAL20100624.xml&Ex=All
(Note: The text extends across several webpages. Click on the black arrow at bottom of the screen to continue reading)

Carlow-Kilkenny
Bobby Aylward (Fianna Fail): bobby.aylward@oireachtas.ie
Phil Hogan (Fine Gael): philip.hogan@oireachtas.ie
John McGuinness (Fianna Fail): john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie
MJ Nolan (Fianna Fail): mj.nolan@oireachtas.ie
Mary Alexandra White (Green Party): marya.white@oireachtas.ie

Cavan-Monaghan
Margaret Conlon (Fianna Fail): margaret.conlon@oireachtas.ie
Seymour Crawford (Fine Gael): seymour.crawford@oireachtas.ie
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Sinn Fein): ocaolain@oireachtas.ie
Dr. Rory O'Hanlon (Fianna Fail): rory.ohanlon@oireachtas.ie
Brendan Smith (Fianna Fail): minister@agriculture.gov.ie

Clare
Pat Breen (Fine Gael): pat.breen@oireachtas.ie
Joe Carey (Fine Gael): joe.carey@oireachtas.ie
Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fail): timmy.dooley@oireachtas.ie
Tony Killeen (Fianna Fail): tony.killeen@agriculture.gov.ie

Cork East
Michael Ahern (Fianna Fail): michael.ahern@oireachtas.ie
Ned O'Keeffe (Fianna Fail): ned.okeeffe@oireachtas.ie
Sean Sherlock (Labour Party): sean.sherlock@oireachtas.ie
David Stanton (Fine Gael): dstanton@eircom.net

Cork North-Central
Bernard Allen (Fine Gael): bernard.allen@oireachtas.ie
Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fail): billykelleher@eircom.net
Kathleen Lynch (Labour Party): kathleen.lynch@oireachtas.ie
Noel O'Flynn (Fianna Fail): noel.oflynn@oireachtas.ie

Cork North-West
Michael Creed (Fine Gael): michael.creed@oireachtas.ie
Michael Moynihan (Fianna Fail): michael.moynihan.td@oireachtas.ie
Batt O'Keeffe (Fianna Fail): minister_okeeffe@education.gov.ie

Cork South-Central
Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael): deirdre.clune@oireachtas.ie
Simon Coveney (Fine Gael): simon.coveney@oireachtas.ie
Ciarán Lynch (Labour Party): ciaran.lynch@oireachtas.ie
Micheál Martin (Fianna Fail): minister@dfa.ie
Michael McGrath (Fianna Fail): michael.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie

Cork South-West
Jim O'Keeffe (Fine Gael): Jim.OKeeffe@finegael.ie
Christy O'Sullivan (Fianna Fail): christy.osullivan@oireachtas.ie
PJ Sheehan (Fine Gael): pj.sheehan@oireachtas.ie

Donegal North-East
Niall Blaney (Fianna Fail): niall.blaney@oireachtas.ie
Joe McHugh (Fine Gael): joe.mchugh@oireachtas.ie
Dr. James McDaid (Fianna Fail): jim.mcdaid@oireachtas.ie

Donegal South-West
Mary Coughlan (Fianna Fail): mary.coughlan@oireachtas.ie
Dinny McGinley (Fine Gael): dinny.mcginley@oireachtas.ie

Dublin Central
Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail): bertie.ahern@oireachtas.ie
Cyprian Brady (Fianna Fail): cyprian.brady@oireachtas.ie
Joe Costello (Labour Party): joe.costello@oireachtas.ie
Maureen O'Sullivan (Independent): maureen.osullivan@oireachtas.ie

Dublin Mid West
John Curran (Fianna Fail): john.curran@oireachtas.ie
Paul Nicholas Gogarty (Green Party): paul.gogarty@oireachtas.ie
Mary Harney (Independent): minister's_office@health.irlgov.ie
Joanna Tuffy (Labour Party): joanna.tuffy@oireachtas.ie

Dublin North
Michael Kennedy (Fianna Fail): michael.kennedy@oireachtas.ie
Darragh O'Brien (Fianna Fail): darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie
Dr. James Reilly (Fine Gael): james.reilly@oireachtas.ie
Trevor Sargent (Green Party): Trevor.Sargent@oireachtas.ie

Dublin North Central
Richard Bruton (Fine Gael): richard.bruton@oireachtas.ie
Sean Haughey (Fianna Fail): sean.haughey@oireachtas.ie
Finian McGrath (Independent): finian.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie

Dublin North-East
Tommy Broughan (Labour Party): thomas.p.broughan@oireachtas.ie
Terence Flanagan (Fine Gael): terence.flanagan@oireachtas.ie
Dr. Michael J Woods (Fianna Fail): michael.woods@oireachtas.ie

Dublin North-West
Noel Ahern (Fianna Fail): noel.ahern@oireachtas.ie
Pat Carey (Fianna Fail): pat.carey@oireachtas.ie
Róisín Shortall (Labour Party): roisin.shortall@oireachtas.ie

Dublin South
Tom Kitt (Fianna Fail): tom.kitt@oireachtas.ie
Olivia Mitchell (Fine Gael): olivia.mitchell@oireachtas.ie
Eamon Ryan (Green Party): minister.ryan@dcenr.gov.ie
Alan Shatter (Fine Gael): alan.shatter@oireachtas.ie

Dublin South-Central
Seán Ardagh (Fianna Fail): sean@ardagh.org
Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael): catherine.byrne@oireachtas.ie
Michael Mulcahy (Fianna Fail): michael.mulcahy@oireachtas.ie
Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Sinn Fein): aengus.osnodaigh@oireachtas.ie
Dr. Mary Upton (Labour Party): mary.upton@oireachtas.ie

Dublin South-East
Chris Andrews (Fianna Fail): chris.andrews@oireachtas.ie
Lucinda Creighton (Fine Gael): lucinda.creighton@oireachtas.ie
John Gormley (Green Party): minister@environ.ie
Ruairí Quinn (Labour Party): ruairi.quinn@oireachtas.ie

Dublin South-West
Brian Hayes (Fine Gael): brian.hayes@oireachtas.ie
Conor Lenihan (Fianna Fail): mary_wallace@health.irlgov.ie
Charlie O'Connor (Fianna Fail): charlie.oconnor@oireachtas.ie
Pat Rabbitte (Labour Party): pat.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie

Dublin West
Joan Burton (Labour Party): joan.burton@oireachtas.ie
Brian Joseph Lenihan (Fianna Fail): minister@finance.gov.ie
Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael): leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie

Dún Laoghaire
Barry Andrews (Fianna Fail): minister_andrews@health.irlgov.ie
Sean Barrett (Fine Gael): sean.barrett@oireachtas.ie
Ciaran Cuffe (Green Party): ciaran.cuffe@oireachtas.ie
Eamon Gilmore (Labour Party): eamon.gilmore@oireachtas.ie
Mary Hanafin (Fianna Fail): minister_hanafin@education.gov.ie

Galway East
Ulick Burke (Fine Gael): Ulick.Burke@finegael.ie
Paul Connaughton (Fine Gael): paul.connaughton@oireachtas.ie
Michael P Kitt (Fianna Fail): michael.kitt@environ.ie
Noel Treacy (Fianna Fail): noel.treacy@oireachtas.ie

Galway West
Frank Fahey (Fianna Fail): frank.fahey@oireachtas.ie
Noel Grealish (Progressive Democrats): noel.grealish@oireachtas.ie
Michael D. Higgins (Labour Party): michael.higgins@oireachtas.ie
Pádraic McCormack (Fine Gael): padraic.mccormack@oireachtas.ie
Éamon Ó Cuív (Fianna Fail): minister@welfare.ie

Kerry North
Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael): jdeenihan@eircom.net
Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein): martin.ferris@oireachtas.ie
Thomas McEllistrim (Fianna Fail): tom.mcellistrim@oireachtas.ie

Kerry South
Jackie Healy-Rae (Independent): Jackie.Healy.Rae@oireachtas.ie
John O'Donoghue (Fianna Fail): john.odonoghue@oireachtas.ie
Tom Sheahan (Fine Gael): tom.sheahan@oireachtas.ie

Kildare North
Aíne Brady (Fianna Fail): aine.brady@oireachtas.ie
Bernard Durkan (Fine Gael): bernard.durkan@oireachtas.ie
Michael Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail): michael.fitzpatrick@oireachtas.ie
Emmet Stagg (Labour Party): emmet.stagg@oireachtas.ie

Kildare South
Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Fianna Fail): sean.ofearghail@oireachtas.ie
Seán Power (Fianna Fail): sean.power@oireachtas.ie
Jack Wall (Labour Party): jack.wall@oireachtas.ie

Laoighis-Offaly
Brian Cowen (Fianna Fail): taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie
Olwyn Enright (Fine Gael): olwyn.enright@oireachtas.ie
Charles Flanagan (Fine Gael): charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie
Sean Fleming (Fianna Fail): sean.fleming@oireachtas.ie
John Anthony Moloney (Fianna Fail): michael_finneran@environ.ie

Limerick East
Michael Noonan (Fine Gael): michael.noonan@oireachtas.ie
Willie O'Dea (Fianna Fail): minister@defence.irlgov.ie
Kieran O'Donnell (Fine Gael): kieran.odonnell@oireachtas.ie
Jan O'Sullivan (Labour Party): jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie
Peter Power (Fianna Fail): peter.power@dfa.ie

Limerick West
Niall Collins (Fianna Fail): niall.collins@oireachtas.ie
John Cregan (Fianna Fail): john.cregan@oireachtas.ie
Dan Neville (Fine Gael): daniel.neville@oireachtas.ie

Longford -Westmeath
James Bannon (Fine Gael): james.bannon@oireachtas.ie
Peter Kelly (Fianna Fail): peter.kelly@oireachtas.ie
Mary O'Rourke (Fianna Fail): mary.orourke@Oireachtas.ie
Willie Penrose (Labour Party): willie.penrose@oireachtas.ie

Louth
Dermot Ahern (Fianna Fail): info@justice.ie
Séamus Kirk (Fianna Fail): seamus.kirk@oireachtas.ie
Arthur Morgan (Sinn Fein): arthur.morgan@oireachtas.ie
Fergus O'Dowd (Fine Gael): fergus.odowd@oireachtas.ie

Mayo
Dara Calleary (Fianna Fail): dara.calleary@oireachtas.ie
Beverley Flynn (Fianna Fail): beverley.flynn@oireachtas.ie
Enda Kenny (Fine Gael): enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie
John O'Mahony (Fine Gael): john.omahony@oireachtas.ie
Michael Ring (Fine Gael): michael.ring@oireachtas.ie

Meath East
Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail): thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie
Shane McEntee (Fine Gael): shane.mcentee@oireachtas.ie
Mary Wallace (Fianna Fail): mary.wallace@agriculture.gov.ie

Meath West
Johnny Brady (Fianna Fail): johnny.brady@oireachtas.ie
Noel Dempsey (Fianna Fail): minister@transport.ie
Damien English (Fine Gael): damien.english@oireachtas.ie

Roscommon-South Leitrim
Frank Feighan (Fine Gael): frank.feighan@oireachtas.ie
Michael Finneran (Fianna Fail): michael_finneran@environ.ie
Denis Naughten (Fine Gael): denis.naughten@oireachtas.ie

Sligo-North Leitrim
Jimmy Devins (Fianna Fail): jimmy.devins@oireachtas.ie
John Perry (Fine Gael): john.perry@oireachtas.ie
Eamon Scanlon (Fianna Fail): eamon.scanlon@oireachtas.ie

Tipperary North
Noel J Coonan (Fine Gael): noel.coonan@oireachtas.ie
Máire Hoctor (Fianna Fail): minister_hoctor@health.irlgov.ie
Michael Lowry (Independent): michael.lowry@oireachtas.ie

Tipperary South
Tom Hayes (Fine Gael): tom.hayes@oireachtas.ie
Dr Martin Mansergh (Fianna Fail): martin.mansergh@opw.ie
Mattie McGrath (Fianna Fail): mattie.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie

Waterford
Martin Cullen (Fianna Fail): martin.cullen@oireachtas.ie
John Deasy (Fine Gael): john.deasy@oireachtas.ie
Brendan Kenneally (Fianna Fail): bwk@eircom.net
Brian O'Shea (Labour Party): boshea@eircom.net

Wexford
John Browne (Fianna Fail): john.browne@oireachtas.ie
Sean Connick (Fianna Fail): sean.connick@oireachtas.ie
Michael W D'Arcy (Fine Gael): michael.darcy@oireachtas.ie
Brendan Howlin (Labour Party): brendan.howlin@oireachtas.ie
Paul Kehoe (Fine Gael): paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie

Wicklow
Joe Behan (Independent): joe.behan@oireachtas.ie
Andrew Doyle (Fine Gael): andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie
Liz McManus (Labour Party): liz.mcmanus@oireachtas.ie
Dick Roche (Fianna Fail): dick.roche@taoiseach.gov.ie
Billy Godfrey Timmins (Fine Gael): billy.timmins@oireachtas.ie

02. Labour playing cynical politics with animal welfare

Statement by Minister John Gormley - Issued: 24 June 2010

Green Party Leader John Gormley has said he is astounded by the Labour Party's decision to abandon it opposition to blood sports. "I am astounded and disappointed at the cynical decision by the Labour party to abandon its opposition to blood sports," he said today. "It signals ongoing difficulties they have in articulating their own policies when these are at odds with Fine Gael.

"In the past senior members of the party including its current leader Eamon Gilmore, and former leaders Pat Rabbitte and Ruairai Quinn, have all publicly stated their opposition to blood sports, including stag hunting.

"Now in a complete and utter u-turn, the party is to vote in favour of blood sports, when the Wildlife Bill to ban carted 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, no principle is too cherished to be abandoned if they think there are votes in it for them.

"Three years ago Eamon Gilmore was urging an end to stag hunting as he considered the stag to be a domesticated animal. Now his party has deemed itself satisfied that this practice should be allowed to continue.

"For Labour, the vote on stag hunting is about more than animal welfare. It is a test of the party's convictions and principles. It is a test of whether Labour politicians' words or promises mean anything in 2010, on animal welfare or any issue for that matter.

"It is the latest issue where the party has adopted a reactionary or conservative stance for the sake of populism, such as in relation to the protection of nature sites. The party's Pick n' Mix approach to policy is incoherent and lacks any credibility."

03. Labour's shameful U-turn on cruelty

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports deplores the Labour Party's decision to oppose the legislation to ban the Ward Union deer hunt.

Down the years, various members of the Labour Party are on record as opposing blood sports. For example, Eamon Gilmore, the Leader, stated (when in Democratic Left): "I am opposed to the blood sports of badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hare coursing and stag hunting. Democratic Left strongly believes in protecting our wildlife and we are very concerned about the cruelty and impact on the various species of so-called blood sports."

And in 2007, Eamon Gilmore tabled a Dail question to Minister John Gormley, asking him not to grant a licence to the Ward Union hunt (Eamon Gilmore: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if, in view of the fact that the stags hunted by a hunt (details supplied) in County Meath are farmed domesticated deer, and therefore not wild, he will withhold the issuing of a licence in 2007 under the Wildlife Act 1976 permitting stag hunting)

"They (Labour) should be ashamed of themselves," said ICABS spokesperson, Aideen Yourell. "What they are doing in opposing this Bill is utterly unprincipled and morally bankrupt. Their words of support in the past are now empty and meaningless - they have no word! They are devoid of compassion for these vulnerable animals hounded for fun, and for their own cynical reasons, they are now opposing legislation to outlaw this barbarism. They should take note of the fact that the vast majority in this country oppose bloodsports and the Ward Union deer hunt."

ACTION ALERT

Please contact all Labour Party TDs and urge them to vote in support of the Wildlife Amendment Bill
Click Here to send an email to the party's TDs

The Views of Labour Party TDs

Among the comments from Labour Party TDs we have recorded are as follows:

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."

04. Majority want Ward Union BANNED - Latest poll

A majority want the Ward Union banned, a Sunday Independent poll has confirmed. The poll, conducted by Quantum Research, shows that a 60 per cent majority want politicians to bring the cruel activity to an end.

The results of the poll were published in yesterday's Sunday Independent (27 June) and should act as further encouragement to TDs to vote in favour of a ban. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports welcomes the poll result which we have brought to the attention of all TDs ahead of tomorrow's crucial vote.

This is the latest confirmation that a ban on the blood sport is widely supported. Previously, polls in the Irish Times and Meath post showed that most people supported a ban. (Please see below for more details)

05. Dail debate on Ward Union ban - What did your TD have to say?

Watch the Dail Eireann debate on the Wildlife Amendment Bill / Ward Union now on the Oireachtas website. Watch Now (Click on icons to the right of Dail Eireann)

You can also read the full transcript of the debate: Read Now

ACTION ALERT

Urgently contact all your TDs and ask them to "Please Vote in Favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010" which will ban the Ward Union hunt.
You can find the names of your TDs and their email addresses by clicking on the links

06. Fianna Fail Councillor Shane Cassells conveys majority support for ban

Meath Councillor, Shane Cassells, has stated that a majority of people in his constituency are in favour of a ban on the Ward Union hunt. The Fianna Fail politician is a member of Meath County Council and Navan Town Council, Youth Officer for Fianna Fail in Meath and a former mayor of Navan. ICABS welcomes his statement and has thanked him for voting against a pro-blood sports motion last month.

In an email to ICABS, Cllr Cassells commented: "I firmly believe that the majority of Meath people are in favour of seeing the pursuit of live deer banned."

"I was very pleased to speak out against the mistruths which the RISE campaign are using to try and advance their cause," he added.

ICABS applauds Cllr Cassells for speaking out against RISE misinformation and for acknowledging the majority view in Meath that the Ward Union hunt is unacceptable and should be banned.

07. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council calls for Ward Union ban

A motion calling for John Gormley to outlaw staghunting has been passed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council. ICABS applauds Independent Councillor Victor Boyhan for tabling the motion and the seven councillors who voted in its favour.

Cllr Boyhan's motion presented to the council on 22 June asked that "Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council calls on the Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government to honour his commitment to outlaw Stag Hunting, and that he immediately cease providing licences for the purpose of carrying out Stag Hunts.”

You can watch a video of the motion at www.dlrcoco.public-i.tv (Click on the Index Points link and choose 15)

A total of seven councillors voted for the motion, four against and four abstensions.

Among the points raised by Cllr. Boyhan were:

08. Fine Gael Road Safety Spokesperson is challenged on Ward Union support

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has challenged Fine Gael's Road Safety Spokesperson, Shane McEntee, on his support for the Ward Union deerhunt. "How can you justify supporting this hunt which for years posed a road safety risk to motorists in Counties Meath and Dublin," we asked the Navan-based TD.

We reminded him about an incident last December which left a couple badly shaken after their car collided with a Ward Union deer on a public road near Ashbourne. Desperately fleeing from the pack of hounds, the creature smashed into the windscreen, suffered a fractured leg and hobbled away in agony before being caught and shot in the head. The driver and passenger were said to be "lucky to be alive".

We told him that, previously, a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger monitoring the hunt reported that he was forced to "brake hard" to avoid crashing into a Ward Union stag. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector Kieran Kane, meanwhile, referred to deer running along roads and noted that during the six hunts he observed, "the Dublin-Slane road was crossed three times by a stag and five times by the hunt." Another Department official warned of potential collisions, stating that Ward Union deer "were at risk of injury when crossing roads".

Also brought to Deputy McEntee's attention was the National Safety Council's acknowledgment of the risks to motorists posed by the Ward Union. A spokesperson is on record as saying that they "would have obvious concerns".

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has firsthand experience of the danger. Hunt monitors narrowly avoided a head-on collision with a deer that was being chased around a corner into oncoming traffic.

In our email to Shane McEntee, we said: "In the past you have described this blood sport group as 'an iconic representation of rural life' and claimed that Meath would be a poorer place without the hunt. We believe that your role as road safety spokesperson is entirely incompatible with your support for the Ward Union. We renew our appeal to you to recognise the cruelty and also the threat to public safety and vote in favour of the upcoming legislation that will ban this hunt."

Shane McEntee has been invited to view our online gallery showing a sample of images of the Ward Union causing inconvenience and potential danger on Meath roads. We also urged him to view our general Hunts on Roads video which includes scenes filmed during Ward Union and other hunts.

 ACTION ALERT 

Ask Shane McEntee, TD to act in accordance with his role as road safety spokesperson, and stop supporting the Ward Union. Ask him to vote in favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which will ban this hunt. Contact him at shane.mcentee@finegael.ie or Tel: 01 6184447

09. 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 bill and representing the majority view among the electorate that terrorising animals is unacceptable.

ACTION ALERT

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

10. Meath Councillors "should be ashamed of themselves"

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has strongly criticised the Meath County Councillors who voted in favour of a motion supporting stag hunting. "They should be ashamed of themselves," stated ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell. "They do not represent the views of the vast majority of Meath people who are opposed to the Ward Union."

According to a report in the Meath Topic newspaper (20 May 2010), "all but three members of Meath County Council voted to support a motion in support of the RISE campaign in support of stag hunting and calling on the government 'to listen to the concerns being expressed, involve stakeholders in full consultation and to respond appropriately'."

Reacting to the vote, ICABS condemned the councillors' stance. "They clearly have no compassion for a vulnerable farmed deer pursued around the countryside by a pack of hounds followed by people on horseback for 'sport'," we stated. The views of these councillors don't represent the majority view in the county. According to an opinion poll, around two thirds of people in Meath are opposed to the Ward Union.

ICABS applauds the three councillors who voted against the motion. These compassionate councillors are:

Cllr Noel Leonard
Cllr Shane Cassells
Cllr Jimmy Fegan

 ACTION ALERT 

Thank Cllrs Leonard, Cassells and Fegan for voting against the motion - Email a message to the Cllrs now

If you reside in County Meath, express your disappointment to your local councillors who voted in favour of the motion. You can find out their names and contact details at www.meath.ie

11. "I am absolutely against this horrific activity": Cllr Victor Boyhan

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Councillor, Victor Boyhan, has given the thumbs up to a ban on the Ward Union. "I am absolutely against this horrific activity," Cllr Boyhan declared, branding the deerhunters a "barbaric lot". ICABS has thanked this compassionate councillor for his valued support.

We are calling on the other members of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council to encourage their party colleagues in Dail Eireann to vote in support of the Wildlife Amendment Bill which will ban the Ward Union.

12. "It's unnecessary suffering. It's as simple as that": Ward Union cruelty condemned at meeting

A Trinity College law professor has condemned the Ward Union deerhunt as "a gratuitous act" of cruelty. Speaking at a public meeting last Monday, Prof William Binchy, said that it was "so clear" that the deer terrorised in the hunt are subjected to unnecessary suffering.

"The issue that we have today about the proposed legislation [to ban the hunt] seems to me to be a tremendously simple one," Professor Binchy stated. "Do we need science to tell us that chasing a stag for 63 minutes or two hours or three hours causes unnecessary suffering to the stag? I think really it's so clear...Unquestionably they suffer. Where is the necessity under these circumstances? It's a gratuitous act. It's unnecessary suffering. It's as simple as that. All other questions, I would respectfully say, are secondary to that."

Prof Binchy went on to praise the people of Ireland for their long history of "introducing and encouraging the introduction of legislation against cruelty".

"Ireland appears to be have been the first English-speaking country in which anti-cruelty legislation was initiated," he revealed. "In 1635 an Act was put forward which was designed to stop the pulling of ploughs by horses with their tails and also the pulling of wool from sheep - plucking it from sheep rather than shearing. In a couple of sentences those practices were condemned. It's interesting to note that the practice of pulling wool off sheep was simply seen by the legislators as cruel and should be stopped on that basis. The pulling of ploughs by the horses' tails was seen as cruel unquestionably but also damaging to the horses."

Listen to Prof William Binchy's Speech

Download the speech (11 minutes, mp3)
(Recorded by Thomas Janak of Wild Time Radio)

Also speaking at the meeting was Veterinary Surgeon, Finbarr Heslin who criticised the Ward Union for the suffering caused to the deer. He slammed past Department of Agriculture reports which had defended the hunt and particularly rubbished the 97/98 Kane/Guthrie report which bizarrely claimed that "the health of the deer did not appear to be affected in either the short or the long-term after hunting." He noted that this was in stark contrast to an earlier damning report from Kane which described the hunt as inhumane.

Mr Heslin was also critical of a pledge by Fine Gael to repeal the legislation if they got into government in future. The party should stop "Green bashing", he remarked, and canvass their own supporters, among which a majority would be opposed to hunting.

Commenting on recent pro-blood sports statements from the IFA and ICMSA, Socialist MEP and long-time ICABS friend, Joe Higgins, called on farming groups to "carefully consider" their stance, given the fact that they are dependent on "millions of us buying their produce".

Deputy Green Party Leader and Minister of State for Rural Affairs, Mary White, assured attendees that the Wildlife Amendment Act was designed "to ensure it can survive legal challenge". She announced that it was expected in the Dail by the end of this month.

Responding to a question from broadcaster Karen Coleman (who chaired the meeting) about Fianna Fail support for the Bill, Minister White said that Fianna Fail "voted unanimously to support the programme for government, which includes the ban on stag hunting".

Also speaking in favour of a ban on the Ward Union was award-winning author John Banville. Mr Banville who won the Man Booker Prize for "The Sea" had previously expressed his support for a ban on coursing, saying "I'm utterly against the foul practice of hare coursing."

Addressing the meeting from the audience was Independent TD, Maureen O'Sullivan who expressed her full support for the ban and her continued commitment to campaigning against cruelty. Finian McGrath, TD also committed to voting in favour of the bill when it comes before the Dail.

Noel Gregory, brother of the late Tony Gregory, TD, spoke of Tony's valuable contribution to the campaign over the years and said that cruelty to animals was only a step away from cruelty to people.

Chairman of the Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass, Philip Lynch, emphasised his organisation's support for a ban on the Ward Union and the inclusion of hunting dogs in the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill. He highlighted the suffering caused to farmers by trespassing hunts and recommended that they go draghunting on their own land.

ICABS congratulates the Irish Animals Forum for organising this successful meeting, Karen Coleman for expertly chairing the event, and all the speakers for their informative and inspiring speeches. A special thank you also to everyone who attended, both individuals and representatives of animal welfare groups.

13. The Bill that will ban carted deer hunting

Environment Minister, John Gormley, has published the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 which will "ban the practice of stag hunting with a pack of hounds". The publication of the bill marks a historic day in the campaign against blood sports in Ireland. Please contact your local TDs now and encourage them to vote in favour of the Bill. Read the Bill at http://www.scribd.com/doc/30235167

 ACTION ALERT 1 

Please send "I support a ban on the Ward Union" to Environment Minister, John Gormley, and An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen - Send email now Ask all your friends, work colleagues, neighbours and family members who are against blood sports to support this action alert. Thank you.

 ACTION ALERT 2 

Please contact your local TDs today and encourage them to vote in favour of the upcoming legislation. Tell them that their attitude towards animal issues and their commitment to bringing animal cruelty to an end will be a major factor in your voting decision.

Why not also arrange a meeting with your local politicians to discuss your concerns about animal cruelty and encourage them to take action.

Address your correspondence to:
Dáil Éireann
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

Dear Deputy

I am writing to urge you to vote in favour of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 which will outlaw the Ward Union deerhunt.

The unacceptable suffering caused to animals by this hunt is clearly presented in a new Irish Council Against Blood Sports leaflet which can be viewed at http://www.scribd.com/doc/29287961/The-Cruelty-of-Carted-Deer-Hunting

I also encourage you to watch the following ICABS videos which explicitly show the cruelty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3f7NYyhDhg and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4V9l4ChELo

Deputy, I am one of the majority of the electorate who abhor animal cruelty. I want to see the Ward Union banned. Please do the right thing and vote in favour of the legislation.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

Name/Location

14. Majority support a ban on Ward Union

An opinion poll carried out by the Irish Times has found that at least two out of every three people support legislation that will ban the Ward Union deerhunt. The hunt was described by those who voted in the poll as "unjustifiable", "uncivilised", "disgusting", "inhumane" and "barbaric". ICABS has brought the result to the attention of all TDs to remind them of the majority opposition across Ireland to the hunt.

The Irish Times poll asked "Do you support the introduction of a ban on hunting deer with packs of dogs?". A majority of 65 per cent voted YES. ICABS believes the number would have been even higher if the poll had remained open yesterday evening and last night.

When we asked the Times why people were unable to cast a vote from early evening on Wednesday, we were told that they were "experiencing a technical problem with all our polls over-night" and that this wasn't resolved until Thursday morning.

We believe that this prevented many more people from voting YES in favour of a ban. Those involved in hunting (who are free to go out for hours terrorising animals two, three or more times a week) are clearly more likely to be able to vote during non-working hours.

ICABS has thanked the Irish Times for conducting this poll and recording the fact that a majority of Irish people are opposed to the Ward Union and want it banned.

15. Ward Union deer shot dead with bolt gun

The Ward Union deer that was hit by a car during a hunt last December, was shot dead with a bolt gun it has emerged. The creature, which was fleeing from the pack of hounds at the time of the collision, suffered a fractured leg before a vet recommended that it be killed

Details of the animal's death were revealed following a Dail Question from Maureen O'Sullivan, TD. Minister Gormley stated that the deer "was shot with a bolt gun" after the Department's veterinary surgeon recommended that it "be euthanised on account of its injuries". Read the full text of the Dail Q&A below.

In a veterinary report seen by ICABS, the vet states that when he arrived on the scene of the collision, he entered land where the injuried deer was "being held by deer handlers".

"The deer had sustained a fracture of the right hind leg," he added. "I advised that the deer be euthanized immediately."

ICABS is questioning why a more humane method wasn't used. We are also asking why, despite the fact that there were two veterinary surgeons present on the scene, the deer was shot by a hunt kennelman.

What is a bolt gun: A handheld weapon used for euthanasia of large animals or for stunning animals prior to slaughter. The muzzle is placed against the animal's forehead. When the trigger is pulled, or the firing pin struck a sharp blow, a 3 cm rod, 1 cm diameter exits sharply from the muzzle and pierces the skull and damages the brain. (Source: answers.com)

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 www.banbloodsports.com for more details or send a cheque to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.

16. Stagg's stunning U-turn on blood sports

Labour Party TD, Emmet Stagg, has recently said that he sees "nothing wrong with stag hunting" and that he will vote against the legislation that will ban the cruel activity. This deplorable stance is in stark contrast to his views in the early Nineties when he expressed his full support for the ICABS campaign. Find out what he said then and what he is saying now.

In the early Nineties, Emmet Stagg sent the following message in support of a rally against coursing in Balbriggan:

"On behalf of myself and the Labour Party I want to express my full and unequivocal support for the banning of hare coursing in Ireland and throughout the European Community. It is a travesty that hare coursing is referred to as a 'sport'. It is a sadistic, cruel and barbarous activity and it is a discredit to our society that such activities remain legal. The vast majority of Irish people want this activity banned and 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."

Despite stating that he and the Labour party would work to bring an end to hare coursing and other "so-called field sports", now almost 20 years later, he has come out in support of what he now calls "country sports in general". Quoted in the Irish Times of April 29th 2010, Mr Stagg said: "I see nothing wrong with it [stag hunting] at all. I think it's well regulated. I'm a supporter of country sports in general." He made these comments despite being made aware of the appalling cruelty of carted deer hunting.

So we in ICABS ask what conversion did Emmett Stagg have that changed his mind so utterly about the type of cruelty he condemned so unequivocally back then. We can only conclude that Deputy Stagg is playing politics with the issue, opposing the banning of the Ward Union deer hunt because it is the Green Party's initiative, agreed by Fianna Fail in the programme for government.

We call on the Labour Party to make known their stance on the Bill to outlaw the Ward Union, which we hope they will decide to support, and we remind them of Ruairi Quinn's (then Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1992) statement to an ICABS Conference regarding bloodsports as follows: "Political circles in Ireland have been weak on this issue and the whole campaign against blood "sports" unfortunately receives tacit support from many of our public representatives. It is about time that our legislators faced up to the stark cruelty involved in blood "sports" by tabling appropriate legislation which would ban such "sports" for once and for all in Ireland."

As for Fine Gael, they have, like the Tories across the water, said that they will repeal the legislation if they get into government, and have declared that they support what they term all regulated country sports. Are we to conclude therefore that the Labour Party, if they happen to form a future government with Fine Gael, will support repealing the upcoming ban on this cruel deer hunt?

It's time for TDs of all parties to quit playing politics with this issue, and to examine these pieces of legislation on their facts, leaving aside party politics. As the editor of the Irish Times quite rightly stated in last Saturday's editorial, opposition to the bill by Fine Gael and some Labour TDs is "a shabby, short-sighted exercise that does not reflect the legislative intent."

 ACTION ALERT 

Ask Emmet Stagg, TD to open his eyes to the cruelty of stag hunting and vote in support of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which will ban the cruel blood sport.

Email: emmet.stagg@oireachtas.ie
CC: Eamon Gilmore, Leader, Labour Party
Tel: 00353 (0)1 6183013

Download our related campaign poster

17. "Phoney war is being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers"

An editorial in the Irish Times has pointed to the "phoney war being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers against animal rights legislation". The paper has also criticised opposition to the legislation by Fine Gael and some Labour Party TDs as "a shabby, short-sighted exercise that does not reflect the legislative intent".

You can read the full text of the editorial below. Afterwards, please lobby your TDs to vote in favour of the legislation. Thank you.

Animal rights legislation
The Irish Times - Saturday, May 15, 2010

SOMETHING OF a phoney war is being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers against animal rights legislation promoted by the Green Party in Government. The legislation in question: the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill and the Wildlife Amendment Bill have been agreed by the leadership of both parties under a revised programme for government and are likely to become law before the summer recess.

The Wildlife Amendment Bill is the more contentious of the two. It proposes to ban stag hunting with hounds, which is only conducted by the Co Meath-based Ward Union Hunt. Green Party leader John Gormley argues the practice is unacceptable to the Irish people and should end because of animal welfare and public safety reasons. Hunt supporters say it is long established and highly regulated, contributes to the local economy, gives employment and no stags are killed. The issue is fiercely divisive, with many rural TDs and groups involved in "country sports" representing the proposed ban as the "thin end of the wedge" that will eventually be extended to hare coursing, fox hunting, shooting and fishing. Fine Gael has announced it will oppose the Bill and has pledged to revoke the legislation in government. The Labour Party has not adopted a formal stance on the issue but local TDs have spoken against the ban.

On the face of it, the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill should be uncontentious. It requires local authorities to regulate all agencies with more than six breeding bitches, ensure proper animal welfare standards are maintained and introduce electronic tagging for puppies. Offending establishments can be closed down.

Funding for this new regulatory system will come from the establishments concerned. Action was prompted by a series of horror stories from badly run puppy farms that involved appalling cruelty to animals in what is a highly profitable business. Unfortunately, Ireland's animal welfare reputation as "the breeding capital of Europe" is poor and remedial action was required.

Change is always difficult. But it is one of the few certainties in life. As the years pass, attitudes and values change. The phoney war now being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers is little different from the behaviour of Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Politicians from all three organisations are appealing for traditional country votes. In the process, the Green Party and its concerns for animal welfare are being represented as intrinsically anti-rural. It is a shabby, short-sighted exercise that does not reflect the legislative intent.

18. Renewed appeal: Urge Fine Gael to back ban on staghunting

Fine Gael has reportedly said that it "will vote against the proposed [Ward Union] ban and will repeal it if the party forms the next government". Please join us in contacting the leader of Fine Gael and urging him and his party colleagues to fully support the upcoming ban on the Ward Union.

Enda Kenny, TD
Leader, Fine Gael
Leinster House, Kildare St, Dublin 2
Email: enda.kenny@finegael.ie
Tel: 01 618 3105
Fax: 01 618 4502

19. The cruelty of carted deer hunting

The following list conveys just some of the cruelty of carted deer hunting and the suffering caused to the deer. Please also view our videos on our website page - http://www.banbloodsports.com/leaf-stag.htm

"In January 1999, Irish Council Against Blood Sports monitors obtained the first ever photographic and video evidence of the cruelty of the Ward Union carted deer hunt. Available to view in the videos and gallery pages of www.banbloodsports.com, it shows a terrified and exhausted stag, having been pursued across countryside for one and a half hours and cornered in a field by a pack of hounds. An ICABS cameraman raced to the scene and managed to film the terrified stag under pressure from hounds and being bitten. A number of hunt supporters manhandled the stag to the ground, and the exhausted animal with blood on its mouth and its tongue hanging out, was dragged away down a laneway through a farmyard and pushed into a cart." (Irish Council Against Blood Sports report, 1999)
During a Ward Union hunt in December 2009, a hunted deer jumped on to a road, was struck by a car, smashed into its windscreen and suffered a broken leg. The animal was put down. The occupants of the car were left badly shaken according to a relative speaking on RTE's Liveline radio show. The Irish Times of December 19, 2009 reported on the collision as follows "An incident occurred last Friday week which will only strengthen Gormley’s view that it should be banned. At 1.30pm a stag collided with the windscreen of a car on the Slane-to- Ashbourne road near Ashbourne. The animal broke a leg and was put down."
On 25 November 2008, a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger monitoring the Ward Union hunt reported that he was forced to "brake hard" to avoid a collision with a hunted deer. The ranger said he "narrowly avoided killing" the animal.
In a veterinary report submitted to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, a veterinary surgeon monitoring a hunt at Scurlogstown, County Meath during the 2006-07 season, reveals that a deer "died as a result of 'dry drowning' having fallen into a quarry." The vet mentioned other deer that suffered injuries during the season. Five deer had "slight lameness" and two had "skin abrasions", he said.
In an official report dealing with the 2004-05 Ward Union season (obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act), details are provided about an 8-year-old deer that dropped dead after trying to escape. The death occurred after the creature was hunted for approximately one and a half hours. The following provides a harrowing glimpse into the deer's final minutes of life... "the stag...jumped over a 5 foot in height wall into the cottage garden, following which 3 nominated handlers entered the garden through a side gate. The stag, in full view of two of the handlers then attempted to escape from the garden by attempting unsuccessfully to scale a higher wall (approximately 8-9 feet high) before being captured on his feet by the three nominated handlers...The stag was held for approximately five minutes by the handlers as they waited for the deer cart to arrive, following which he suddenly dropped dead...The cause of death was due to a ruptured aorta."
A report in the Irish Times revealed that a stag being pursued by the Ward Union hunt was forced to swim across the River Boyne in a desperate bid to escape. The stag went into the river near Navan during a hunt on December 30th 2008 during a chase involving "50 huntsmen and huntswomen on horseback, in addition to some Ward Union staff...and a pack of hounds". (from "Stag escapes from Meath hunters by swimming river", Irish Times, December 31, 2008)
A farmer who phoned in to RTE's Liveline show following the chasing of a Ward Union deer into a school playground, said he had never before seen "an animal so shook looking". "I pitied him," the farmer said. "He was covered in a lather of sweat and his tongue was hanging out." When he questioned the hunt about their behaviour, he said they told him to "F*** off." (Liveline Radio Show, RTE, January 2007)
A Ward Union deer was choked to death in a wood, the Irish Farmers Journal has revealed. The death occurred at the end of a hunt and is one of the fatalities caused by the Ward Union "over the last few years", the newspaper reported. (From a report highlighted on the Irish Council Against Blood Sports website, 2007)
Two deer were hounded to their deaths by the Ward Union hunt during the 2004-05 season. The deer deaths were recorded in a Department of Agriculture report obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act. A veterinary inspector from the Department highlighted in the report how one deer died from fractured ribs while another died from a ruptured aortic aneurism.
According to a Department of Agriculture report obtained by ICABS, a deer hounded by the Ward Union Deerhunt died when recaptured at the end of a hunt. Following a post mortem, it was found that the deer had died from a ruptured aneurism. The report concluded that it was "most likely that the physiological stress of hunting led to the rupture". (From an article in ICABS newsletter, Animal Watch, Issue 1, 2003)
A report from a Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector revealed that a deer "accidentally choked" while being captured.
"As a young Irish man living in Dunshaughlin County Meath in the 1950's as a groom, I saw many a deer put down after breaking his back as a result of having to make a jump because the hounds were at its heels. I can honestly say it was not a pretty sight. Whilst at home a few years ago the hunt came by and to see the reaction of the huntsmen on the Dublin / Navan road galloping up and down was unbelievable." (From a comment on the Irish Times website, Joe Dowd, United Kingdom, December 2009)
The quotes in this section are extracts from the Kane Report on the Ward Union The conclusions of Veterinary Inspector, Kieran Kane are utterly damning of the Ward Union...

"The transportation of the stags in the cart is inhumane in its manner and in the design of the cart. The enlargement of the stags is inhumane in that they are ejected suddenly into a strange environment and alone. A stag which has been hunted previously appears, before the hunt starts, to be distressed and aware that he is about to be hunted again. Stags being hunted appear to be terrified of the hounds. A stag is aware when he is being hunted and continues to flee even when the hounds are far behind. Stags are sometimes wounded or injured during hunts by physical incidents or by the hounds. Stags are terrified by people and motor vehicles during the hunt. Stags are apparently distressed and exhausted towards the end of hunts and will hide and lie down at this stage. At the end of the hunt the fact that a man can catch and hold him would seem to be adequate evidence of physical exhaustion by the stag. The handling of the stag when taken at the end of a hunt must be terrifying and stressful to the animal." (Kane Report)

"Nervousness of stags in the cart prior to hunts was variable...with some appearing very nervous or stressed. At one hunt it was notable that of the two stags in the cart, one which had been hunted previously was showing body tremors, excessive salivation and panting."

"A farmer who saw, at very close range, the stag at bay on 7th February told me that it was bleeding from one leg; also I was informed by Hunt staff that some stags are given antibiotic treatment after hunts if they have injuries such as wounds or swollen limbs." (Kane Report)

"On two hunts on which the route of the stag was traced well on a half inch map, it was calculated that one stag had run at least 8 miles and the other at least 12 miles." (Kane Report)

"A stag which has been hunted before is, presumably, aware that he is about to be followed by hounds and runs from fear: indeed it is notable that the stag runs although the hounds are not yet on his trail. In the early stages of the hunt the stag runs constantly but as the hunt progresses he may stop running and hide or even lie down and it is at this stage that the hounds may catch up with him." (Kane Report)

"A major hazard encountered by stags is barbed wire. One stag was seen attempting to jump a very fence and getting his front leg caught on a top strand of barbed wire and hanging, thus suspended, for some seconds before his struggles and/or weight tore him free." (Kane Report)

"Stags are frightened by people and motor vehicles when they cross public roads, which they frequently do during hunts.

"A stag observed, down to 30 yards range through binoculars, having run at least 8 miles in 90 minutes showed extreme physical distress, panting through its mouth and with a lather of white foam around its muzzle." (Kane Report)

"I was informed by two eye-witnesses that hounds, although chary of a stag at bay, will attempt to bite him." (Kane Report)

"Stags are hunted until about 9 years of age at which time they may get "stiff" or fail in condition and I was told that they are then sold or exchanged with commercial deer farms or slaughtered for venison." (Kane Report)

"Domesticated Red Deer are obviously completely unfit for a prolonged chase by hounds. A recent scientific report in England has concluded that wild Red Deer are physiologically unable for a prolonged chase by hounds." (Kane Report)

In December 2003, ICABS monitors filmed and photographed a Ward Union deer at the end a hunt. The injured animal was seen panting for breath. There was blood on its head. Photos taken on the day can be viewed in our Gallery Page, including this one showing an injured deer with blood on its head
"Of course the stag suffers. I saw the hounds attack the hind quarters of the legs of the poor, unfortunate animal. It's horrific to see the end of the hunt." (Fianna Fail Meath Councillor, Noel Leonard, on his opposition to the Ward Union hunt, Meath Chronicle, 9th January 2010)

20. ICABS on Flickr

Please visit our newly updated Flickr photo gallery at www.flickr.com/photos/icabs

It includes more images of Ward Union carted deer hunting cruelty and foxhunting barbarity. Please bring the images to the attention of your local TDs and urge them to support legislation banning blood sports. orts.

21. Letters to editors

Anti-blood sports group hits back at councillors
by Aideen Yourell, Spokesperson, Irish Council Against Blood Sports,
Meath Chronicle - 26th May, 2010

Dear sir - Shame on the 24 Meath County Councillors who recently voted to support the RISE! campaign against the legislation to outlaw Ward Union deer hunt. They clearly have no compassion for a vulnerable farmed deer pursued around the countryside by a pack of hounds followed by people on horseback for 'sport'. And they do not represent the views of the vast majority of Meath people as evidenced by a poll carried out by a local newspaper in 2007, which showed two-thirds of the county opposed to the Ward Union.

Meanwhile, we applaud the three councillors who voted against the motion, Cllrs Noel Leonard, Shane Cassells and Jimmy Fegan, who obviously had informed themselves about the cruelty before voting.

The RISE! group, comprising of FACE Ireland (Federation of Associations for Hunting) and the Hunting Association of Ireland, representing foxhunters and assorted hare hunters, was set up to campaign against the Ward Union carted deer hunt ban. RISE! supports hunting wild animals with dogs, such as hare coursing, fox hunting with hounds and the carted deer hunting, which no doubt the Meath councillors will have been told is harmless bit of fun. But deer suffer during these hunts, risking injury and death as they encounter hedges, ditches, barbed wire, walls, rivers and busy roads. And there have been casualties, as revealed in Dept of Agriculture veterinary reports. That's just a sample of the cruelty, as not all hunts were monitored by Department vets.

RISE is going around the country, holding meetings, talking to TDs and councillors, and representing itself as a defender of the traditional rural way of life, which they say is under threat. They talk about falling agricultural incomes, closure of schools, post offices and Garda stations, planning, lack of broadband and rural transport, but in truth, these people couldn't care less about these things.

Their primary agenda is the preservation of the Ward Union carted deer hunt and other bloodsports, which they say are enjoyed in rural Ireland by people from both urban and rural backgrounds. However, the vast majority in this country, both urban and rural, oppose these bloodsports, and this has been borne out in independent polls. For example, in the case of hare coursing, since the mid-seventies, polls have shown the vast majority are opposed to this barbarity.

Road safety and the Ward Union Hunt
by Philip Kiernan, Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Meath Chronicle - 16th June, 2010

Dear sir - How ironic that Fine Gael's spokesperson for road safety, Shane McEntee, is continuing to express support for the Ward Union, a hunt which for years posed a road safety risk to motorists in counties Meath and Dublin.

The most recent incident last December left a couple badly shaken after their car collided with a Ward Union deer on a public road near Ashbourne. Desperately fleeing from the pack of hounds, the creature smashed into the windscreen, suffered a fractured leg and hobbled away in agony before being caught and shot in the head. The driver and passenger were said to be "lucky to be alive".

Previously, a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger monitoring the hunt reported that he was forced to "brake hard" to avoid crashing into a Ward Union stag. Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector Kieran Kane, meanwhile, referred to deer running along roads and noted that during the six hunts he observed, "the Dublin-Slane road was crossed three times by a stag and five times by the hunt." Another Department official warned of potential collisions, stating that Ward Union deer "were at risk of injury when crossing roads".

The National Safety Council also acknowledged the risks to motorists with a spokesperson saying they "would have obvious concerns."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has firsthand experience of the danger. Hunt monitors narrowly avoided a head-on collision with a deer that was being chased around a corner into oncoming traffic.

Deputy McEntee's role as road safety spokesperson is entirely incompatible with his support for the Ward Union which he praises as "an iconic representation of rural life". He should recognise the cruelty and threat to public safety and vote in favour of the upcoming legislation that will ban this hunt.

The real issues in rural Ireland
by John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports.
Donegal Democrat - 06 May 2010

Sir, From its title, one might deduce that the group known as RISE - Rural Ireland Says Enough - is concerned with the very real issues and challenges facing people in rural Ireland.

But RISE, as it turns out, has an altogether different agenda: Its aim is to promote all forms of hunting with hounds, and to "campaign vigorously against the proposed ban on carted stag hunting". It also backs live hare coursing. It put weeks of planning and organising into the staging of a pro-hunt demo outside the Green Party conference.

Professional opinion polls have shown that a majority of people in rural as well as urban districts oppose these so-called recreations. And many farmers take a dismal view of hunts rampaging across their lands, destroying crops and fences, and scattering livestock. Ads placed in the provincial press underline this fact.

Aside from that, I object to this group's attempt to present itself as a champion of country dwellers. Rural Ireland Says Enough…Enough of what?

Surely the real issues affecting our rural population are the crisis in agriculture that has devastated farm incomes and livelihoods; the continuing flight from the land as farmers quit; the depressing revival of mass emigration in the countryside; widespread poverty and disadvantage in rural districts; the fear and isolation of people living alone in remote areas; the threat of closure hanging over many rural post offices and Garda stations; the continuing lack of public transport that affects so many families and businesses. One could go on…

I would suggest that people in rural Ireland are a great deal more concerned with these and other pressing issues than with a campaign to preserve blood sports.

22. Campaign Quotes

"I am astounded and disappointed at the cynical decision by the Labour party to abandon its opposition to blood sports...It signals ongoing difficulties they have in articulating their own policies when these are at odds with Fine Gael." Minister John Gormley, Irish Times, June 24, 2010

"Labour councillors in Eamon Gilmore's home base last week voted in favour of a motion calling for stag hunting to be banned, in sharp contrast to the parliamentary party's controversial decision to vote against the government's bill banning stag hunting in the Dail this Tuesday. A motion calling on the Minister for the Environment John Gormley to honour his commitment to ban stag hunting was passed last Tuesday by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council - where the Labour leader once served as a councillor." Sunday Tribune, June 27, 2010 http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2010/jun/27/local-labour-councillors-support-stag-hunting-ban/

"Shame on Labour for reneging on their word and kudos to ICABS for bringing it to our attention" Ian O'Doherty, Irish Independent, June 25 2010

"Paul Carberry's feats out hunting with the Ward Union were the stuff of legend and if the horse wasn't up for it, then tough luck." From Racing Chat, Topic Newspapers, 5 November, 2009

"Mary Wallace (Meath East) warned that the ban represented a threat to the rural economy. "It will result in further job losses in rural Ireland, but most of all it will have a disproportionate effect on the Ward Union Hunt,'' she added. She said she simply could not agree that the Bill was needed for animal welfare and public safety reasons." Irish Times, June 24, 2010

"Sean Power (FF, Kildare South) said they were proposing to ban an activity that was going on for generations. He warned that if the legislation was passed, then "these men and women who decided to continue this hobby will shortly become criminals''." Irish Times, June 24, 2010

"Independent Dublin North-Central TD Finian McGrath, who will vote with the government on the issue, yesterday accused the Labour party of "hypocrisy" on the issue. "I'll be telling all the animal lovers in Clontarf, Killester and Marino about the hypocrisy of Labour on blood sports," he said." Sunday Tribune, June 27, 2010

"You have my support on this [a ban on the Ward Union] and I will be bringing this up with my party leader in Galway Deputy Higgins. I will also be informing Senator O Brolochain of the Green Party." Labour Party Cllr, Niall Mc Nelis (Galway City West)

Top ways you can help the campaign

  • Join our email list (and encourage friends to join) and respond to our Action Alerts. Email "Subscribe" to info@banbloodsports.com
  • Become a campaign supporter and make a donation to help fund our efforts.
  • Contact your local politicians and ask them to support a ban on blood sports.
  • Be our friend on MySpace, Bebo, Twitter and Youtube
  • Sign up for our free text alert service and receive occasional campaign updates to your phone. To subscribe to this free service, simply text the word GO to our textline on 00 353 86 038 6617.
  • Link to our website and display one of our banners.
  • Monitor blood sports meetings in your area and provide us with photos, video and reports.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper about the cruelty of blood sports
  • petitions
  • Organise a fund-raiser to help raise funds for the campaign
  • Set up an online anti-blood sports group (Myspace, Bebo, Facebook, etc) to cover your area.
  • Download, print and display our posters and leaflets
  • Set up an information stand at your school/library/youth group/adult group, etc
  • Introduce your friends to our website and encourage them to get involved.
  • Simply keeping your ear to the ground. about any blood-sport related incidents in your area.

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 www.banbloodsports.com 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 www.banbloodsports.com

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

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

Animal Voice - Subscribe

To receive "Animal Voice" by email every month, please send "Animal Voice - Subscribe" to info@banbloodsports.com


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