Newsletter

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

Download this Newsletter
View more ICABS documents

In this edition:

01. Ask Labour Party to vote in favour of a Ward Union ban
02. Views of Labour Party TDs
03. Success: Hotel thanked for removing foxhunting info from brochure
04. "I am absolutely against this horrific activity": Cllr Victor Boyhan
05. "It's unnecessary suffering. It's as simple as that": Ward Union cruelty condemned at meeting
06. The Bill that will ban carted deer hunting
07. Statement from Minister Gormley / Ward Union ban
08. Majority support a ban on Ward Union
09. New Irish wildlife website - www.irishwildlifematters.ie
10. What are your politicians saying about blood sports?
11. IFA asked to clarify position on blood sports
12. Ward Union deer shot dead with bolt gun
13. Stagg's stunning U-turn on blood sports
14. "You have given me food for thought": Senator Feargal Quinn
15. "Phoney war is being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers"
16. ICABS responds to Senator who "cannot discern where cruelty is involved"
17. Labour's Willie Penrose asked to show compassion
18. RTE Sport compares football to bullfighting
19. Irish dog pounds destroy 6,500 unwanted dogs last year
20. Renewed appeal: Tell the ICMSA that carted deerhunting is cruel
21. Renewed appeal: Urge Fine Gael to back ban on staghunting
22. ICABS on Flickr
23. Campaign Quotes
24. Parliamentary Questions and Answers
25. Petitions
26. Letters to Editors
27. Twenty Tweets

01. Ask Labour Party to vote in favour of a Ward Union ban

Please join us in our appeal to the Labour Party to vote in favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which will ban the Ward Union hunt. The party says it has "not yet taken any formal decision" in relation to the bill - despite the fact that many of its TDs (including the party's leader) have expressed opposition to blood sports in the past.

In an email to all Labour Party TDs, ICABS expressed our hope that the "overwhelming view of compassion within the party will prevail" and that they would back this important animal welfare bill. We also reminded them of the majority view in Ireland that blood sports are unacceptable.

ACTION ALERT

Please contact all Labour Party TD and urge them to fully support the upcoming ban on the Ward Union.
Click Here to send an email to the party's TDs

02. 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."

03. Success: Hotel thanked for removing foxhunting info from brochure

ICABS has thanked the Mount Wolseley Hotel for removing information about foxhunting from its promotional brochure and website. In a Visitors' Guide to Outdoor Activities, the hotel had previously included details of hunts in Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford.

Following an appeal to the award-winning Carlow hotel, company director Sandra Morrissey announced that the information has now been removed.

"We took this off our brochures," she told a local ICABS supporter. "We have also taken it off our website."

ICABS thanks the Mount Wolseley Hotel for this very positive and compassionate move.

This is in line with the stance of Ireland's national tourism body, Failte Ireland, which recently reiterated its policy of not promoting or publicising activities involving cruelty to animals. A spokesperson for Failte Ireland told the Irish Times in April that it "would not allow information about foxhunting, hare coursing or similar activities to be included in marketing material or on the Discover Ireland website".

To find out more about the Mount Wolseley Hotel, visit their website at www.mountwolseley.ie

 ACTION ALERT 1 

Thank Mount Wolseley for their positive move - Email the hotel now

 ACTION ALERT 2 

Please let us know if any hotel, B&B or tourism group in your area is publicising blood sports and we will highlight the animal cruelty involved as part of an appeal to them.

04. "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. Please join us by responding to the action alert below.

 ACTION ALERT 

Send the message "Councillor, Please back the ban on the Ward Union" to
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Councillors

05. "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

Listen Online
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.

06. 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

07. Statement from Minister Gormley / Ward Union ban

Mr. John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government today (20 April) published the Bill to prohibit deer hunting with packs of dogs.

The renewed Programme for Government included a commitment to bring forward legislation to ban the practice of deer hunting with packs of dogs.    The Minister said, "I am pleased that I am in a position to implement another commitment in the renewed Programme for Government, in this instance to ban the practice of deer hunting with packs of hounds.   The Government has decided that this particular hunting practice should cease for animal welfare and public safety reasons."     The Minister added that a large proportion of the Irish public considers that this activity is no longer acceptable anymore.

The Minister said that the purpose of the Bill was to ban the practice of deer hunting with hounds and to increase the maximum fines for wildlife related offences.    "I want to emphasise, despite much comment to the contrary, that this legislation will have no implications for other country pursuits such as fox-hunting, hare-hunting, hare coursing or deer stalking."

The Minister proposes to present the Bill to the Dáil shortly with the intention that it will be enacted before the summer recess. 

"I look forward to an informed, structured debate in the Dail and Seanad on this Bill.  I also look forward to the opportunity to dispel many of the inaccuracies and incorrect claims that have been made in recent weeks about  this legislation," ended Minister Gormley.

Notes

Section 4 provides for increased penalties for offences under the Wildlife Acts. Maximum fines are being increased such that on summary conviction the maximum fine is increased to €1,000 from £500 for a first offence, to €2,000 from £1,000 for a second offence and to €5,000 from £1,500 for a third or subsequent offence. The maximum fine for conviction on indictment is increased to €100,000 from £50,000. These fines were last increased in 2000. There are no changes in maximum times of imprisonment terms.

These are;
A first offence €1,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.
A second offence €2,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.
A third or subsequent offence €5,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.
On indictment €100,000 and/or imprisonment  for a term not exceeding 2 years.

08. 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.

09. New Irish wildlife website - www.irishwildlifematters.ie

ICABS is delighted to note that there is now an online wildlife first aid resource available which its creators hope will prove useful to the general public, rehabilitators, vets and anyone working in the sphere of wildlife or conservation. You can visit this exciting new website at www.irishwildlifematters.ie

According to Irish Wildlife Matters, this excellent resource is the culmination of "a year's work of collecting, collating and verifying correct procedures for wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation".

See the Irish Wildlife Matters poster at: www.scribd.com/doc/32124676

10. What are your politicians saying about blood sports?

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports' campaigns enjoy cross-party support. Please contact your anti-blood sports TDs/Senators to praise their efforts to get hunting and coursing banned. If your TD/Senator is in favour of animal cruelty, please let them know that their stance will affect your future voting decisions.

For an updated list of TD and Senator views, visit our Politicians page at www.banbloodsports.com

11. IFA asked to clarify position on blood sports

The President of the Irish Farmers Association has been urged to clarify its stance on blood sports. The call comes following a claim that the IFA's Vice President has "given his organisation's support" to a pro-blood sports campaign.

In a 9th April statement headed "Pro-hunting campaign welcomes farming support", the Rise group claims that "Vice President of the Irish Farmers' Association, Eddie Downey, has given his organisation's support to the campaign. Mr Downey said the campaign to defend hunting and other traditional rural sports was an integral part of the wider battle to defend rural Ireland on issues like cutbacks in farmers' REPS payments and restrictions on turf cutting."

In a letter to the IFA President, ICABS highlighted the appalling cruelty involved in blood sports and the fact that a majority of Irish people are opposed to these activities.

"It is highly inappropriate for the national farming organisation (which depends on this very majority to purchase its members' produce) to come out in support of animal cruelty," we stated. "Surely the defence of any form of hunting is not official IFA policy. As you are no doubt aware, the majority of farmers want nothing to do with hunts due to fears about disease spread, the disturbance of farm animals and damage to pastures and field boundaries."

Quoted in the Irish Times of May 4, 2010, a spokesman for the IFA denied that they have links with the Rise group. "They are a separate organisation," he said. "The IFA is a very separate organisation."

In the same article, Socialist MEP Joe Higgins called on the IFA and the ICMSA to "carefully consider" whether they supported the hunt because farming organisations depended on "millions of us buying their produce".

ACTION ALERT

Ask the IFA to clarify its position on blood sports, including deer hunting, fox hunting and hare coursing. Point out that you are one of the majority of Irish citizens opposed to animal cruelty. List the goods you purchase which are produced on Irish farms.

Mr John Bryan
President, The Irish Farmers Association,
Irish Farm Centre, Bluebell, Dublin 12.
Email: president@ifa.ie;postmaster@ifa.ie

12. 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.

13. 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

14. "You have given me food for thought": Senator Feargal Quinn

A senator who was a member of the Ward Union Hunt 20 years ago has been asked to consider the cruelty of hunting and give his support for a ban. Senator Feargal Quinn was told about one of the latest victims of the hunt - a deer that collided with a car, suffered a fractured leg, hobbled away in pain, was restrained by hunters and later was shot in the head.

Senator Quinn revealed his involvment in hunting during a debate on the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill. "For many years I hunted with the Fingal Harriers and the Ward Union Hunt," he said. "I was a member of the Ward Union Hunt 20 years ago and I have received requests from its members to make a case on their behalf."

In an email, ICABS reminded him about the animal suffering caused by the hunt over the years. "We hope that despite your past involvement in blood sports, you will rethink your stance on this issue, show compassion for the animals that suffer and give your backing to the ban on the Ward Union," we appealed.

Thanking us for the email, Senator Quinn stated "You have given me food for thought!"

 ACTION ALERT 

Send the message "Senator Quinn, Please back the ban on the Ward Union" to feargal.quinn@oireachtas.ie

Tel: 01-618 3410

15. "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 respond to the urgent action alert. 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.

16. ICABS responds to Senator who "cannot discern where cruelty is involved"

A Fine Gael Senator who stated that he "cannot discern where cruelty is involved" in carted deerhunting has been provided with a list of victims of the Ward Union. "After reading the list, we hope that you can recognise that this activity is very cruel," ICABS stated in an email to Senator Paul Coghlan.

The Irish Times of February 27, 2010 quoted the Kerry politician as saying that carted deerhunting is "a legitimate and worthwhile country pursuit" and that he "cannot discern where cruelty is involved".

"We wish to bring to your attention the list below which shows just some of the victims of this hunt," ICABS told Senator Coghlan. "One of the latest casualties was a deer that collided with a car during a hunt, suffered a fractured leg, hobbled away in pain, was restrained by hunters and later was shot in the head."

ACTION ALERT

Fine Gael has said that it "will vote against the proposed ban and will repeal it if the party forms the next government". Please join us in urging Fine Gael to reflect the wishes of the majority and fully support the ban.

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

17. Labour's Willie Penrose asked to show compassion

In an Irish Times report, the Labour Party's Willie Penrose TD stated that he "would not support the bill [that will ban carted deerhunting]". Please join us in appealing to Deputy Penrose to show compassion for the animals that suffer and to give his full backing to the bill.

The Times report of April 29, 2010 quoted the Longford-Westmeath TD as saying: "I don't support the Wildlife Bill. I certainly would not support the bill [that will ban carted deerhunting]. I'm a rural person with rural views."

In an email to Deputy Penrose, ICABS stated "You are more than aware of the suffering caused to deer by the Ward Union, given our previous representations to you. One of the latest victims, you will recall, was a deer that collided with a car during a hunt, suffered a fractured leg, hobbled away in pain, was restrained by hunters and later was shot in the head. The people in the car fortunately avoided serious injury but were left badly shaken."

"This type of cruelty is no longer considered acceptable in modern Ireland. A majority of Irish people want it banned. We hope you will act in accordance with public opinion and give your backing to the ban on the Ward Union."

 ACTION ALERT 

Send the message "I am one of the majority opposed to blood sports. Please vote in favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which will ban the Ward Union deerhunt" to willie.penrose@oireachtas.ie [with a copy to Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore]

Tel: 01-6183734 [Dail Eireann]
Tel: 044-93-43987 [Constituency Office]

See our related campaign poster

18. RTE Sport compares football to bullfighting

ICABS has called on RTE Sport to stop comparing football to bullfighting. We made the call after RTE Sport used a bullfighting theme in its promo for its Champions League Live programme on 22 May.

"Your promo featured an actor portraying a matador and suggested that slowly torturing an animal to death and killing it is somehow comparable to footballers in Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium," we stated in our letter. "Associating bullfighting (one of the world's ugliest activities) with soccer (the beautiful game) was very inappropriate and in poor taste."

We pointed out that a majority of Spanish people now view bullfighting as unacceptable and want it outlawed. It is offensive to them and also, no doubt, to the majority of Irish viewers who would be against such cruelty, we added.

If you would like to join us in encouraging RTE to stop using bullfighting themes, please send an email to info@rte.ie and obsport@rte.ie

19. Irish dog pounds destroy 6,500 unwanted dogs last year

A total of 6,500 dogs were destroyed in Irish dog pounds last year, according to new figures from the Department of the Environment.

The figures show that Donegal was the worst county - 638 dogs were destroyed in its local authority pounds last year out of a total of 753 taken in.

Quoted in the Irish Independent [http://tinyurl.com/35nbsa8] Fine Gael TD Michael Ring, who obtained the figures from the Department of the Environment, said it was "outrageous" that more than 16,000 dogs in total had been discarded by their owners last year.

"If you take on a dog, you are taking him on for a lifetime," he said. "There's people just letting them go wild when they get fed up of them and the State has to pick them up." He went on to welcome the fact that 9,600 dogs were rehoused or reclaimed last year.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has called on Minister John Gormley to compel local authorities to promote the dogs in their possession which are looking for homes. We suggested that information and photos of each dog be placed on each authority's website to show the public the range of dogs available. Please join us in contacting local authorities.

20. Renewed appeal: Tell the ICMSA that carted deerhunting is cruel

Last month, ICABS expressed disgust to the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association after its president referred to carted deerhunting as a "humane country activity" and claimed that the ban on the Ward Union is "unwanted, uncalled for, unfair and unprecedented in terms of the bias it represents against traditional country pursuits".

In a letter to ICMSA president, Jackie Cahill and General Secretary, Ciaran Dolan, ICABS highlighted the suffering caused to deer by the Ward Union and rubbished claims that it was in any way "humane". Photos of terrified, exhausted, bleeding deer at the end of hunts, as well as links to our campaign videos, have also been forwarded to the organisation. We also dismissed the claim that the ban was unwanted, pointing to the results of an opinion poll which shows that a two thirds majority in County Meath want the hunt banned.

 ACTION ALERT 

Contact the ICMSA and tell them that carted deer hunting is inhumane and that a ban is most definitely wanted.

Jackie Cahill, President
Ciaran Dolan, General Secretary
ICMSA Head Office
John Feely House
Dublin Road, Limerick
Tel: +353 (0)61 314532 / 314677
Fax: +353 (0)61 315737
Email: info@icmsa.ie

Forward a copy of your correspondence to your local TDs and urge them to reflect the wishes of the majority by voting in favour of legislation banning the Ward Union. 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.

21. 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

22. 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.

23. Campaign Quotes

"I am absolutely against this horrific activity." Compassionate councillor Victor Boyhan (Dun Laoghaire Rathdown) criticises the Ward Union deerhunt.

"It shall be an offence for a person to hunt or injure in the course of hunting with a shotgun a protected wild animal OTHER THAN A HARE otherwise than under and in accordance with a licence granted in that behalf by the Minister." Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000

"The popular two day Millstreet coursing meeting is taking place this week on Wednesday and Thursday...An attraction for patrons is a special daily draw on the admission card with a chance of winning 250 Euro per day thanks to the sponsorship of the North Cork Tuition Centre, Newmarket." (The Corkman, December 31 2009)

"A new sanctuary is developing to provide expert care for unwanted and neglected exotic animals and emergency rescue facilities for a variety of animals and wildlife. There are now opportunities for volunteers to gain experience in animal care, enclosure building and habitat management and become involved at the start of an exciting and urgently needed facility for animals in Ireland." (from the website of the Ballivor-based National Exotic Animal Sanctuary)

24. Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 214 - Answered on 19th May, 2010
Maureen O'Sullivan, TD:
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason he is spending a projected 1,062,425 Euro on mink eradication when a National Parks and Wildlife Service commissioned report states that escapes from fur farms would invalidate any attempts to eradicate feral populations; and if he will instead accelerate the closure of fur farms.

Written Answer. Ref No: 21068/10 Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr John Gormley): Mink found in the wild in Ireland are descended from animals that escaped from fur farms. They have been breeding in the wild since the 1950s and are now found throughout the country. A report published by my Department in 2009 estimated that a national eradication programme for mink would cost in excess of €1 million, based on a potential population of between 20,500 and 33,500 individuals.

It is not my intention to undertake a national mink eradication programme. Resources are concentrated on protecting the nesting sites of rare and threatened bird species including red-throated divers, corncrakes, waders and terns from a range of predators including mink. Experience has shown that targeted control of predators at specific times can have a significant benefit to the breeding success of these species. This year some €60,000 will be spent on this work.

As wild mink are not protected under the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000 they can also be trapped freely by landowners and their agents. The renewed Programme for Government includes a commitment to phase out fur farms over a three year period and this commitment will be addressed by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Question 782 - Answered on 20th April, 2010
Maureen O'Sullivan, TD:
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the method used to destroy the Ward Union deer which collided with a car during the hunt on 11 December 2009; if this was carried out by the Department Vet present at the scene.

Written Answer. Ref No: 15021/10
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr John Gormley):
I understand that the deer, which was put down at the hunt meeting on 11 December, 2009 organised by the Ward Union Hunt, was shot with a bolt gun under the supervision of the Department's veterinary surgeon who recommended that the deer be euthanised on account of its injuries. I am advised that the method used is considered to be effective and humane.

25. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/784506550

Hare coursing will start again if protection is lifted
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/392804410#signatures

Help India's monkeys
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/only-performing-monkeys-left-unattendedwhy

Stop Burning Live Bulls - End Sadistic Festivals
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/firebull---stop-the-burning-of-live-bulls

Live bull to be set on fire in Spain - action needed
http://animalrights.change.org/actions/view/live_bull_to_be_set_on_fire-spain-action_needed

26. Letters to Editors

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.

27. Twenty Tweets

Follow ICABS on Twitter - www.twitter.com/banbloodsports

Here are twenty of our tweets from the past month. Please re-tweet them and help increase support for our action alerts. Thank you.

Foxhunting cruelty in Ireland - Photo of terrier biting into head of fox that was dug out of ground http://dld.bz/ff7U
"Hunting is one of the surest means of killing people's feelings for their fellow creatures" - Francois Voltaire (1694-1788)
Brian Cowen made representations on behalf of Europe's biggest puppy farmer in 2007/08 http://dld.bz/c9hv
Green Party doing their best for wildlife - Letter to Editor in today's Irish Independent http://dld.bz/cAcf
Green party TD Trevor Sargent said it was hardly acceptable that 10% of dogs euthanised are greyhounds http://dld.bz/dkq3
Celtic Animal Life Line http://dld.bz/cxcW rescues, re-habilitates and re-homes dogs in the Kildare/Dublin/West Wicklow area.
Bull fighting: a barbaric tradition http://dld.bz/dcWJ? France 24 TV report
Check out our campaign action alert videos at www.youtube.com/icabs
Staghunting ban discussed at Fianna Fail meeting. Listen to the Morning Ireland item from this morning http://dld.bz/eZ6P
Joe Higgins says IFA+ICMSA should carefully consider bloodsports stance. They depend on "millions of us buying produce" http://dld.bz/cwZw
Calling voters in Westmeath/Longford. Please contact Willie Penrose RE his views on cruel staghunting http://tinyurl.com/3xptdt5
Action alert: Ask Emmet Stagg (emmet.stagg@oireachtas.ie) to open his eyes to the cruelty of carted deer hunting http://dld.bz/eYCr
Ban Bullfighting Now. Witness the cruelty at http://tinyurl.com/2apczbz
Photo: An injured, exhausted+bleeding deer at the end of a Ward Union hunt. http://dld.bz/eY8g Lobby your TD to support a ban
"The absolute agreement is the stag hunt is to cease, and we're legislating for that" Minister Eamon O Cuiv http://dld.bz/eY7T
Squealing, bleeding Irish fox http://tinyurl.com/23eowvu This is why foxhunting must be banned. Urge your TD to support a ban
Stray dogs found in Monaghan. http://dld.bz/euju Looking for homes
Save A Dog - Longford County Council lists dogs looking for homes http://dld.bz/eubb Please ask your local council to do the same
Tell Irish forestry company -Coillte- to keep hunters out of forests. Email your msg to pr@coillte.ie Campaign Video: http://short.to/lnpk
Bad Hare Days - a book about an Irish campaigner's efforts to get hare coursing banned. Buy it online now at www.tinyurl.com/badharedays

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. You may also wish to contact the Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass organisation which is happy to offer advice to landowners. Chairman, Philip Lynch, can be reached at 056-7725309. Visit the FAFT website at: www.myspace.com/farmersagainstfoxhunting Download the FAFT leaflet from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/17651383

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/unsubscribe

Help us to highlight our campaigns to even more people. If you have friends who would like to receive "Animal Voice", please ask them to send an email to info@banbloodsports.com with "Animal Voice - Subscribe" in the subject line.

If you wish to be removed from this emailing list, simply reply with "Animal Voice - Unsubscribe" in the subject line. We respect your privacy and will never pass your email address on to anyone else unless we have your permission. Thank you for your continued support.

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


Top | Newsletters | Home