Animal Voice: Issue 3 - March 2011
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Please download and give a copy to friends

Download pdf
Download MS Word doc

In this edition:

01. Death of ICABS founding member, Dick Power
02. Ban reversal "will be a matter for discussion": Brendan Howlin
03. No agreement to reverse Ward Union hunt ban, says Labour
04. Sligo coursing club to be prosecuted for hare netting
05. ICABS complains to TV3 about blood sports "documentary"
06. TV3 documentary failed to unearth the truth
07. Ask Clonmel's Hotel Minella to disassociate from cruel coursing
08. Limerick hotel offered special rate for coursers
09. Panda asked to scrap hunting website advert
10. FBD Insurance policy covering hunters for injuries and damage
11. Another cat brutally killed by hunt hounds
12. Irish Coursing Club ordered to pay 640,000 Euro damages
13. Badger baiting on the rise: ISPCA
14. Photos and video from anti-FG/staghunt protest
15. Club website urged to exclude groups involved in killing animals
16. Donedeal helping to find homes for rescued animals
17. Man arrested following seizure of 2 stags in Northern Ireland
18. Dail Question: Larsen Traps
19. Cruel mouse test to be ended in EU
20. Clonmel coursing protest - media coverage
21. Shooters upset by emailers
22. Campaign Quotes
23. Letters to Editors
24. Petitions

01. Death of ICABS founding member, Dick Power

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has this month lost one of its most ardent advocates, Dick Power of Boherlode House, Ballyneety, Co Limerick. Despite his illness, Dick remained active in the campaign up to shortly before his death on March 22. He will be greatly missed by all of us.

Dick was a farmer, who had a great love and respect for wildlife. He abhorred cruelty, thus prompting him along with others to found the Irish Council Against Blood Sports in 1966. For the next 45 years, Dick was a constant in the campaign to outlaw hunting wild animals with dogs, his wonderfully penned letters appearing regularly in the national and local newspapers.

He routinely fed foxes on his farm, and they would be waiting for him to turn up in the evenings for their snack, he often told us.

Dick was a highly intelligent and very well read man, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of things agricultural, nature, history and much more, and we all benefitted from his vast store of information and wise counsel. He had an amazing memory and could detail long past events with great accuracy.

Dick was also a deeply spiritual man with great devotion to his faith, which he truly lived every day. He was also a very caring man, devoted to his loving family.

To his sons, Martin and Pat, daughters Mary and Cora, his grandson, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, extended family, neighbours and friends, we offer our deepest sympathy.

Suaimhneas Siorri da Anam dilis.

02. Ban reversal "will be a matter for discussion": Brendan Howlin

Labour Party Minister, Brendan Howlin, has stated on national radio that any move to reverse the ban on cruel carted deer hunting "will be a matter for discussion". His statement follows a pre-election assurance from Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore, that the party accepted the ban and wouldn't support a reversal.

Mr Howlin, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, was speaking on the Pat Kenny Radio Show. A transcript appears below. After reading, please urgently contact the Labour Party and its TDs and urge them to reject any attempt to reverse the staghunt ban.

Interview on Pat Kenny Radio Show with Brendan Howlin (Labour) and Phil Hogan (Fine Gael)
7th March 2011
Listen to the show

Pat Kenny: Stag hunting, have you reconciled your differences?

Brendan Howlin: We have in as much as itís not in the programme.

Pat Kenny: So youíre going to let it be.

Phil Hogan: No, I think that, Pat, the position in relation to stag hunting is left to the line minister to establish the licensing arrangements for that particular matter in line with our manifesto.

Pat Kenny: In line with your manifesto, which is to...?

Phil Hogan: Yeah, we have an understanding on that with the Labour Party.

Pat Kenny: An understanding. Are you going to tell us what it is?

Brendan Howlin: The understanding - we have no commitment to do anything in relation to it.

Pat Kenny: One way or the other?

Brendan Howlin: We have negotiated that there would be no binding commitment in the programme for government on that matter.

Pat Kenny: So if it comes up, if the line minister decides he wants to reverse it?

Brendan Howlin: Thatíll be a matter for discussion, Iím sure.

Pat Kenny: At the time. So itís still hanging there.


Please urgently contact the leader of the Labour Party and your local Labour TDs. Urge them to reject any attempt to reverse the staghunt ban.

Eamon Gilmore TD
Labour Party Leader
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade
Dail Eireann
Dublin 2

Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Fax: 01 6184574
Mobile: 087 2200495

For details of Labour Party TDs, please visit and choose TDs in the "Find By Category" dropdown list.

The Labour Party
17 Ely Place
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 678 4700
Fax: 01 661 2640

03. No agreement to reverse Ward Union hunt ban, says Labour

In a Sunday Times article on March 20th, a spokesperson for the Labour Party stated that the Ward Union ban should not be reversed. He was quoted as saying: "There is no commitment in the programme for government to reverse the legislation and our view on it remains the same as it was in the election campaign; that is, it has been passed and should not be reversed."

This was in response to a quoted statement from Meath TD Shane McEntee, and recently appointed Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, that "the legislation will be reversed as Fine Gael said it would during the election campaign. There's an understanding between Fine Gael and the Labour Party on this."

However the Labour Party spokesperson told the Times that he didn't know where Shane McEntee got the impression there was an agreement between the parties on lifting the ban.

He also insisted that there is no agreement between the parties that any changes to the legislation would be left to the minister responsible. "In any case," he added. "The line minister can only produce legislation, but it all still has to be passed by cabinet."

ICABS welcomes Labour's clear statement on the issue. Please contact the leader of the Labour Party and your local Labour TDs and urge them to reject any attempt to reverse the staghunt ban.

04. Sligo coursing club to be prosecuted for hare netting

Article from - 21st March 2011

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS) and the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports (CACS) have expressed their delight that The Tubbercurry and District Coursing Club in County Sligo (Tubbercurry/Kilcreevin/Ballymote) is being prosecuted for a number of breaches of the Wildlife Act arising from its seizure of hares from Oyster Island off the coast of Sligo.

The club has been netting hares on the island for some years, but animal welfare campaign groups, including ICABS and CACS, lodged complaints last year with the gardai and the Wildlife Service in relation to the activity.

The groups objected to the netting on the basis that the club did not have the permission of the island's owner, as required under the licensing conditions governing hare coursing attached to the Wildlife Act.

On Friday last (18 March) Irish Council Against Blood Sports, received written confirmation from the Gardai that the club is to be prosecuted for the netting incidents.

According to ICABS and CACS, speaking to, "The decision to prosecute the Sligo-based coursing club (one of the largest such clubs in the country) is a most welcome development in the campaign to have the cruel so-called "sport" live hare coursing banned in Ireland."

The confirmation of the prosecution was sent by letter from Sligo gardai, received on Friday, to the CABS in which is stated, 'Further to my correspondence to you dated October 6th 2010, I wish to advise that the investigation under Mr. John Roderick of the National Parks & Wildlife Services has concluded. The Law Officers have directed that Tubbercurry & District Coursing Club be prosecuted for three breaches of the licence in regard to the harvesting of hares on Oyster Island'. The letter was signed by James Sheridan, Chief Superintendent, An Garda Siochana, Sligo'

A spokesperson for CABS, Aideen Yourell, said that, "Two west coast islands, Hogg Island and Oyster Island, have been routinely plundered by coursing clubs, with hares being snatched in nets for use as live lures for greyhounds. In both cases, no permission was given by the owners of the islands, in breach of Section 44 of the Wildlife Act."

In documents obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act from the National Parks & Wildlife Service, it was revealed that last October '09, 39 hares were netted from Hogg Island (off the coast of Clare) for Killimer Kilrush coursing club. In December '09, 34 hares were taken from Oyster Island (off the coast of Sligo) for use by the Tubbercurry/Kilcreevin/Ballymote coursing club.

Ms Yourell continued, "When ICABS contacted the owners of the islands, we were informed that no permission had been given in either case. Furthermore, we were informed that in the case of Oyster Island, the Rosses Point Gardai instructed the hare netters to leave the island on December 16, 2009, and recorded 47 hares taken by them (in contrast to the club's figure of 34 hares).

"ICABS understands that the netting of hares on Oyster Island is an annual occurrence, and that local gardai are aware of it. In a document signed by the Honorary Secretary of Tubbercurry and District Coursing Club, it is stated that 63 hares were netted from Oyster Island for the 2008/09 coursing season."

Meanwhile the campaign groups will be saddened to learn that moves are already underway to reverse John Gormley's (previous Environment Minister) stag hunting ban. The legislative ban, passed by only a narrow margin last June closed the only stag hunt in Ireland, The Ward Union. However Fine Gael are currently in 'debate' with Labour over the reversal. During the general election FG said they were committed to overturning the ban.

05. ICABS complains to TV3 about blood sports "documentary"

ICABS has complained to TV3 following the airing of a documentary purporting to present the "the truth" about blood sports in Ireland.

In an email to the programme's producer, ICABS criticised the lack of balance and the fact that it was biased in favour of the blood sports enthusiasts. The majority of the time was given over to the hunting and coursing fraternity whose claims went largely unchallenged.

Dismay has also been expressed that some doubt was expressed about the inherent cruelty of blood sports. Presenter Henry McKean questioned if the cruelty highlighted on our website amounted to "isolated" cases - a suggestion that we could easily have addressed, if given the opportunity.

In the case of hare coursing, we know from years of National Parks & Wildlife Services monitoring reports obtained under Freedom of Information, that hares are injured and killed at coursing meetings every season. This data is available to read on our website.

As regards foxhunting, the video footage in our campaign video shows a fox being dug out of the ground and subsequently mauled to death by a pack of hounds. This is typically what happens during foxhunting. It is not isolated, as we know from hunting reports in the Farmers Journal and Irish Field which tell of foxes chased and killed.

As for the research which Henry did to find out the "truth" about blood sports, he relied heavily on what the hunters said and showed him. Representatives from animal welfare groups were not given an opportunity to counter the hunters' cliched propaganda about foxes killing hens or their contradictory claims that, on the one hand, hunts rarely kill foxes and on the other, that they perform a service to farmers by killing foxes.

ICABS has described as "laughable" and "very naive", the presentation of two cameras to a hunstman for him to film what happens during a hunt outing. "There was absolutely NO WAY anything controversial was going to be filmed that day, and their failure to find a fox wasn't an accident," ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell stated in an email to the programme's producer.

Also criticised was the programme's segment on hare coursing - "a pre-arranged and a very nice 'snow job'" - which showed kindly coursers gently medicating a hare and stroking it and the coursing club vet saying that all the hares were "perfect" after their ordeal.

ICABS has told TV3 that these are wild animals that have been snatched out of their habitats in nets and subjected to interference by humans. Hares in captivity are prone to stress and if the programme makers had sought the relevant information, we could have shown them official reports about hares dying in large numbers with stress-related diseases in coursing compounds. We would have told them of reports detailing pregnant hares and hares with young being snatched from the wild as well as hares giving birth to leverets while in captivity.

With some interview extracts repeated at least twice throughout the programme, there certainly could have been time created to instead include facts about the reality of blood sports.

"The time could have been used better, trying to get to the truth," we stated in our correspondence to TV3. "It seems, however, that that's not what the programme was about."

You can watch the programme online at


Express your views about the programme to TV3 and ask them to do a proper investigation into the reality of blood sports in Ireland.

You can send an email from the TV3 Website
or email the programme producer directly - (Put your message for the attention of Philip Gallagher)
Telephone TV3: 01 4193333

06. TV3 documentary failed to unearth the truth

It's not surprising that Henry McKean failed to unearth "The Truth About Irish Blood Sports" in his TV3 documentary. Not only were the foxhunters expectantly awaiting his arrival, they were put in charge of chauffeuring him around and actually invited to do the filming themselves.

Instead of the anticipated investigation into the grisly reality of hunting, McKean happily handed over camcorders to the hunters and entrusted them with the task of capturing the moment a fox has its back and neck broken and its intestines bitten out by the hounds. Very predictably, it quickly became clear that the local foxes would all be getting away today and that the only footage the horse-cam was going to pick up was that of hunters smiling innocently.

There was little truth revealed about hare coursing either with the presenter assuring skulking coursers in Edenderry that he was "not here to try and catch you out". At a coursing club in Kerry, he got a much warmer welcome - understandable, given the fact that members were afforded the opportunity to present, without challenge, their absurd claims that "hares are never stressed", "hares always escape" and "all hares are released afterwards".

The already well documented truths about hares suffering broken bones and mashed innards during coursing went ignored. There was no acknowledgement of the stress-induced shock disease which claims the lives of hares, days and weeks after the coursing has ended.

Despite this "documentary" documenting so many untruths, the truth remains that Irish blood sports are full of the most terrible cruelty to animals and that the suffering will only stop when a long overdue ban is put in place.

07. Ask Clonmel's Hotel Minella to disassociate from cruel coursing

Source: Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports (CACS)

On the evening of Saturday, April 2nd, the Irish Coursing Club will hold its coursing awards 2011. The venue for the event, according to a notice on the Irish Coursing Club website, is the Hotel Minella, in Clonmel, County Tipperary.

The Hotel Minella, a former coursing sponsor, this year placed an advert in the booklet for the national coursing meeting. Above a photograph of the hotel, the advert stated: "Hotel Minella welcomes you to the 2011 national meeting". It also highlighted that there would be a "coursing video [at the hotel] every evening from 5pm".

See photos of hares running for their lives at the national coursing meeting (link to pro-coursing website)

"Those of us who oppose cruelty to animals dressed up as sport can now make our views known to the hotel," a CACS spokesperson stated. "Let them see that people who care about animals will think twice about ever setting foot in their hotel..."


Ask the Hotel Minella to permanently disassociate from hare coursing. If its association with the cruel blood sport would make you avoid the hotel, please make this clear in your correspondence.

Tel: 052-6122 388 or +353 52 6122388 (from outside Ireland)
Fax: 052-612 4381

08. Limerick hotel offered special rate for coursers

The Savoy Hotel in Limerick has been criticised for advertising in the booklet for the National Coursing Finals in Clonmel in February. The advert showed a photo of a coursing greyhound along with the offer of a "Special Rate for Irish Cup Meeting".

In an email to manager Ronan Branigan, ICABS expressed disappointment that the hotel was offering discounts to those involved in animal cruelty.

"Coursing is an extremely cruel activity which results in stress, injury and death to hares," we stated. "We are calling on the Savoy Hotel to please show compassion for the Irish Hares and no longer advertise in coursing booklets or give special offers to coursers."

We drew to Mr Branigan's attention photos from this year's Irish Cup coursing meeting showing hares being terrorised by greyhounds


Ask the Savoy Hotel to give a commitment that they will no longer advertise in coursing publications or offer special rates to coursers.

Ronan Branigan
The Savoy Hotel
Henry Street

Tel: 061-316311 (from Ireland)
Tel: 00353 61-316311 (from outside Ireland)

09. Panda asked to scrap hunting website advert

Waste Collection company, Panda, has been asked by ICABS to stop advertising on the Hunting Association of Ireland website.

In an email to the company, we highlighted that among the cruel activities featured on this site are foxhunting, harrier hunting and beagling.

"We invite you to visit which features videos showing the suffering caused to wildlife by hunting activities," we stated, adding that "hunting is opposed by a majority of Irish people."


Please contact the Panda company and ask them to stop advertising on the Hunting Association of Ireland website. If its connection to hunting would make you choose an alternative waste collection service, please make this clear.

Eamon Waters
Managing Director
Bauparc Business Park
Navan, Co. Meath

Phone: 046 9024111 or LoCall 1850 62 62 62
Fax: 046 90 24 189

10. FBD Insurance policy covering hunters for injuries and damage

FBD Insurance is offering cover to hunters who cause damage and injury during hunting activities.

In a booklet dealing with FBD Liability Insurance, a number of questions and answers are presented, including:

I own a horse and go hunting - any cover here?
The standard FBD Public Liability policy provides cover for damage caused to property or injuries caused to third parties while you are hunting on horseback.

How are animals covered while away from the farm? For example, animals at shows, horses at shows or at the hunt
You are covered under your public liability insurance for any injury or damage that these animals may cause to members of the public or their property

ICABS has complained to FBD about its pro-hunt policy.


Urge FBD to stop accommodating those involved in animal cruelty.

FBD Insurance,
PO BOX 11225,
Dublin 12.

Tel: Locall 1890 617 617

ICABS advises anyone who experiences hunt trespass to immediately contact the Gardai and urge them to prosecute. We also recommend that legal advice is sought with a view to pursuing a claim for compensation. In all cases, take photos and/or video of the trespass and damage. For more information, please click on "Farmers" at

Please make a donation to ICABS

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

11. Another cat brutally killed by hunt hounds

Another cat has been brutally killed by a pack of hunting hounds. The incident, which took place at the end of January, is the latest in a growing list involving pets being attacked during hunts.

The distraught and outraged owner told ICABS that when she heard yelping and animal cries in her garden, she looked out the window and was shocked to see hounds chasing something into a hedge.

"I then saw a hunter come in my front gate and run up the lawn to where his dogs were going wild at the trees," she recalls. "I remember feeling rooted to the ground unable to believe what I was seeing, I knew they were savaging some poor animal, it was only when the hunter bent down and picked up my dead family pet cat by the hind legs that I realised in further horror what had happened - my beloved cat had been cruelly savaged to death, purely because the poor thing was too old to run away quick enough."

She says that the hunter then ran off with the dead cat and that pleas for the body to be returned have been ignored.

Horseback hunters in front of her property "fobbed my tears off saying nothing had happened".

After the incident was reported to the Gardai and the hunt was cautioned, a member of the hunt came to apologise and, to add insult to injury, left a box of chocolates for the absent cat owner.

"If I had been there," she says, "he would have had the chocolates thrown back in his face."

This is just latest upsetting incident in which pets have been attacked and killed by trespassing hunts (please scroll down for some of the previously reported attacks). These incidents subject pets to a horrendous death and are traumatic to pet owners. They are also a reminder of the savage deaths suffered by thousands of wild creatures around the country every year.

ICABS advises anyone who experiences hunt trespass to immediately contact the Gardai and urge them to prosecute. We also recommend that legal advice is sought with a view to pursuing a claim for compensation. For more information, please visit our Landowners page.

12. Irish Coursing Club ordered to pay 640,000 Euro damages

ICC to pay Eur640k damages
By Fiachra O Cionnaith
Irish Examiner, March 10, 2011

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has been ordered to pay Eur640,000 in damages to a private firm and could face further costs after a court case relating to a disputed land deal next to its grounds.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke announced the verdict at the commercial court yesterday as part of a long-standing case taken by developer company Greenband Investments.

The move potentially places a question mark over the financial stability of the Irish Coursing Club, with a trustee of the group previously stating substantial costs arising from the case could have "a major effect on the club".

Mr Justice Clarke awarded the damages to the private firm during a hearing yesterday and is due to provide a written verdict on the case and a relating issue today.

While the Eur640,000 expense is a fraction of the original Eur5.9 million claim, a decision on further costs to be awarded will not be made until another hearing planned for March 30.

The case, which was originally taken against the ICC in June 2008, relates to the coursing organisation's interest in land next to its Powerstown Park stadium premises in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Greenband Investments sued the ICC to compel it to complete the sale of part of the lane way after claiming its Ä31m retail development would be jeopardised if this did not take place.

It claimed it made a written agreement with the ICC trustees in March 2008 to buy the lands for a sum of Eur100,000 and had paid a deposit of Eur10,000.

Greenband Investments claimed the ICC was aware at all times the purchase of the lands was part of a larger scheme of development by the private firm.

While the ICC had previously been told it would have to pay damages as a result of the dispute, the exact cost was not made clear until yesterday's commercial court hearing.

In a statement responding to the news, the ICC said it needed to discuss the verdict with its members.

"The original claim was Eur5.9 million. Now that we know the damages we will be in a position to consider our position.

"We will meet our senior counsel and review the judgment and, of course, we will also report to our members before we decide what our next step will be," the statement read.

The written verdict from Mr Justice Clarke will be made later today.

13. Badger baiting on the rise: ISPCA

In the Sunday Business Post of 21st February 2011, the ISPCA warned that badger baiting is on the rise.

This illegal blood sport involves bringing dogs to a badger sett to attack and kill the creatures within.

The ISPCA told the Business Post that it is currently caring for a number of terrier dogs found with "horrific" injuries to their neck and lower jaw - injuries consistent with the kind suffered by dogs involved in violent encounters with badgers.

If you have any information about badger baiting activities, please contact the Gardai immediately and help them catch the sick individuals involved in this barbarity.

For the phone numbers of Garda stations all over Ireland, please visit: You can also pass on information to the ISPCA National Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

14. Photos and video from anti-FG/staghunt protest

Thanks to the ICABS supporters who joined us on February 23rd at the ARAN protest against Fine Gael's pledge to reverse the ban on staghunting.

Click on the link to see a selection of photos and video from the protest.

15. Club website urged to exclude groups involved in killing animals

Please join us in asking clubs website,, to remove listings for fox hunting and hare hunting groups.

In an appeal to the Bantry-based site, ICABS stated that hunters "cause horrendous suffering to animals and are responsible for destroying Irish wildlife, ie tens of thousands of creatures killed in our countryside".

We asked the company to show compassion and stop affording such groups the opportunity to publicise themselves.


Email "Please exclude hunting groups from your clubs list" to or write to OnlineClubMembers, Old Market House, Upper Main Street, Bantry, Co Cork.

16. Donedeal helping to find homes for rescued animals

Classified ads website, DoneDeal, has launched a Rescue Centre Programme which is aiming to help find homes for rescued animals.

The programme is open to all animal rescue centres in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Approved centres are being offered free advertising in the animals sections.

Find out how to apply at

17. Man arrested following seizure of 2 stags in Northern Ireland

The BBC has reported that a man has been arrested after the Ulster SPCA and local PSNI police seized a vehicle and trailer containing two stags which, it is believed, were about to be released for illegal carted deer hunting.

The trailer was reportedly registered to the County Down Hunt, but the hunt master said he knew nothing about the events.

According to the BBC report, for over a year the USPCA had been monitoring a group of people they believed were organising stag hunts in County Down. That surveillance led them to conclude that a hunt would start on Tuesday outside Loughbrickland. Several 4x4 vehicles, horseboxes and horse lorries were observed arriving at the location where the hunt was believed to be starting from and then leaving.

Stephen Philpott from the USPCA said he believed that there had been a conspiracy to commit an offence under the welfare of animals act.

"How can anyone else call it anything else other than cruelty," he was quoted as saying. "First of all there's the stress they suffered in the back of that box, it was pitiful. And then to put them through another 20 miles of stress being chased by dogs horses and people. It needs to be put an end to."

The stags were later released into the wild.

You can read more and watch the BBC TV news report at

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports congratulates the USPCA and the PSNI for this successful operation and also the BBC for highlighting it.

18. Dail Question: Larsen Traps

Question 398 - Answered on 25th January, 2011

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 196 of 13 January 2011, the justification for allowing the use of the Larsen cage trap, the unnecessary and wilful cruelty of which has been confirmed by various officials and organisations.

Written Answer. Ref No: 3362/11

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr O Cuiv): As stated in the previous reply to Parliamentary Question No. 196 the Larson cage trap complies with the provisions of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (Approved Traps, Snares and Nets) Regulations 2003 and I have no plans to change the Regulations in this regard.

19. Cruel mouse test to be ended in EU

Source: PETA UK

PETA campaigning has led to a humane alternative replacing a cruel mouse test, saving hundreds of thousands of mice...

For decades, mice across the world have been routinely subjected to a cruel test to determine whether batches of shellfish intended for human consumption are contaminated with dangerous toxins. Mice are injected in the abdomen with extracts from the shellfish: if they die (slowly and in pain), the batch is infected; if they don't, it isn't and the batch is deemed safe for human consumption. Humane alternatives to the test have been available for many years, but the process of changing regulations to mandate their use has been very slow. In January 2010, after consistent pressure from PETA, the European Union introduced a new law that will finally get rid of the mouse test for most shellfish - for good. Approximately 300,000 mice will be spared each year as a result.

What Do the Tests Involve? Mice are injected with extracts of batches of shellfish from different shellfish beds - these tests are conducted routinely and repeatedly because the toxins can emerge at any time. The physical experience of the injection has been compared to injecting a human being in the abdomen with six litres of vinegar, and the toxins themselves can cause paralysis and severe pain. If two out of three mice die within 24 hours of the injection, then the test is deemed "positive" - ie, toxins are present. Despite the extremely severe suffering that often results from the test, it is not even always accurate - in fact, scientific studies have found that in some circumstances, it wasn't capable of detecting levels of contamination that were above the safe limit set by the EU. In other words, the "mouse bioassay", isn't just cruel; it cannot be relied upon to protect people, either.

In contrast, the new test - known as LC-MS, or liquid chromatography mass spectrometry - measures the actual amount of toxin in the shellfish.

What Does the New Law Say? The new law makes the LC-MS method the "reference method" for one of the main classes of shellfish toxin so that it must now be used instead of the mouse bioassay. Although in certain circumstances, the mouse test is still permitted, alternative methods are already in use for other classes of shellfish poison, and the vast majority of uses of the mouse test will be permanently ended. Disappointingly, even though other EU laws state that non-animal methods must always be used instead of animals when they are available, a "transition period" will allow EU countries to continue using the mouse test until the end of 2014. Fortunately, many countries already use the alternative methods, and the UK government has indicated that it intends to phase out the mouse test almost immediately.

Testing on animals is cruel and unnecessary. Sign the pledge to commit to choosing products that are not tested on animals and not supporting companies that abuse animals -

20. Clonmel coursing protest - media coverage

Coursing protest at Clonmel venue
The Irish Times - February 3, 2011

A group of up to 50 anti-blood sport protesters staged a low-key picket yesterday in Clonmel outside the venue for the final day of the annual National Coursing Meeting.

Organisers of the protest, which lasted for about two hours near the gates of Powerstown Park, Clonmel, said that the Republic remained "the last outpost of this backwoods barbarism" now that hare coursing had been banned in Northern Ireland.

However, Irish Coursing Club chief executive DJ Histon said the sport is licensed by the Department of the Environment and is strictly regulated.

Anti-coursing campaigners vow to fight on
By Conor Kane, February 3, 2011

Anti-coursing campaigners have vowed to continue their fight despite the likelihood of their only political allies being voted out of the Dail.

A group of up to 50 anti-blood sport protesters staged a low-key picket yesterday in Clonmel outside the venue for the final day of the annual National Coursing Meeting.

Organisers of the protest, which lasted for about two hours near the gates of Powerstown Park, said the Republic remains "the last outpost of this backwoods barbarism" now that hare coursing is banned in the North.

However, Irish Coursing Club chief executive DJ Histon said the sport is licensed by the Department of the Environment and strictly regulated. "We have upwards of about 10,000 people here and 20 or 30 outside the gate so we outnumbered them in that regard anyway."

The club had "no issue" with anyone protesting, he said. "I'd say let people come themselves and make up their own minds."

Irish Council Against Blood Sports spokeswoman Aideen Yourell said they were "very happy" with the turnout for the protest and vowed to continue their fight for a ban on hare coursing, despite the departure of the Greens from government.

"I suppose if the Green Party had remained in government for a little while longer, there was a possibility, because we did get the [Ward Union] deer hunt outlawed," she said afterwards.

It was difficult to keep animal rights issues on the Fianna Fail/Green government's agenda, she said. "There were only six of them [Greens] and Fianna Fail are so pro-coursing."

They are concerned, however, that Fine Gael in government will not only refuse to consider a ban on coursing but will also repeal the legislation banning the Ward Union hunt in north Dublin and Meath.

"It would be utterly shameful because to get that [banned] was just a major thing. We're hoping we'll have a new political landscape and there will be a change in policy."

However, campaigners didn't trust Labour to promote their agenda following that party's decision to vote against the legislation banning the Ward Union hunt. "Labour have let us down very badly over the stag-hunting," Ms Yourell said. "It was shocking and appalling what they did. Any promises made by them, I wouldn't trust."

More than 30,000 people are estimated to have attended the three-day National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel.

21. Shooters upset by emailers

Members of the electorate who emailed Fine Gael to complain about their shameful stance on deerhunting have been branded "extremists" by the director of a shooting group.

Des Crofton of NARGC (whose members are responsible for the blasting to death of thousands of Irish birds and animals every year) moaned that "animal rights activists have targeted Fine Gael candidates with scurrilous adverts, emails and in some constituencies, leaflets demonising them for their consistent support for fieldsports."

The advert in question was placed in 18 newspapers by ICABS. It showed a bleeding deer at the end of a hunt and alerted voters to a pledge by Fine Gael that they would reverse the ban on deerhunting. It encouraged people to vote for compassionate candidates and to tell Fine Gael that they didn't want the ban reversed.


Email a message to Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny - (CC - and make it clear to him that you do not want a reversal of the stag hunting ban.

SAMPLE LETTER (If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below)

Dear Mr Kenny,

I totally oppose your party's pledge to reverse the ban on stag hunting.

As one of the majority of Irish people who want all blood sports banned, I urge you to scrap this shameful pledge and instead commit to bringing all forms of cruelty to an end here.

Thank you. I look forward to your reply.


22. Campaign Quotes

The Greens were hit hard at the General Election but we are committed to our principles. Join the Green Party today. From the Green Party website -

A Co Sligo farmer is due be sentenced on Thursday after admitting cruelty to animals which a judge heard were so hungry that they were eating fence posts in a field. Pending his sentencing the judge remanded him in custody. James "JP" Curley of Cooga, Culleens, Easkey, Co Sligo, pleaded guilty at Sligo District Court yesterday to three counts of cruelly ill-treating two donkeys and a horse in February 2010. He also admitted one count of allowing a carcass to remain unburied on his land. Curley claimed that animals were being fed hay and meal by his teenage son but Judge Kevin Kilrane told the accused that he was blatantly lying. The judge said that the animals were "utterly and absolutely starving". Irish Times, March 22, 2011

I found it as factual and informative as a documentary on quantum physics would be if it were made by Walt Disney. From a comment on about Henry McKean's "The Truth About Irish Blood Sports", March 2011. See more comments at

I've been a vegetarian now for the last 14 years and its just been great - I love it!!! Vegetarianism is such a big part of my life and I feel so passionate about animals. Don Mescall, Irish Singer and songwriter for Ronan Keating, Backstreet Boys, Rascal Flatts, Lulu, Boyzone, etc. Check out his website at

Enjoy the country life lads, just in case it doesn't last much longer! A comment from a hunter on a pro-hunting forum on, 18th March 2011

If you leave the road, you become a guest on the farmer's land and you should behave accordingly. Do not get into such a position as to head the fox, as to do so is to spoil your own and everyone else's sport. Be as quiet as possible. If you see the fox, let it get well past you before signaling the huntsman with a holloa, holding up your cap or a white handkerchief. From the Galway Blazers website, March 2011

The ISPCA is disappointed to hear that in the Fine Gael manifesto they are threatening to reverse the ban on stag hunting should they get into government. The ISPCA is asking Fine Gael to abandon this statement and instead commit to bringing all forms of animal cruelty to an end. ISPCA website, 17th February, 2011

On July 5th l998, the first Greyhound Sanctuary named 'Avalon' was opened in Ireland. It is situated at Flesk, Gurteeny, Woodford, Co. Galway. This was made possible thanks to Johanna Wothke, the founder and president of the German animal welfare organisation called Pro Animale fur Tiere in Not e.V. This year, the organisation acquired more land and built a Horse Sanctuary nearby. Pastor James Thompson - the Animal Padre - was asked to take part with Johanna in the opening on September 25th, and to bless the Sanctuary. From the Spring 2011 newsletter of Quaker Concern for Animals

The owner of a midlands puppy farm where 50 dogs were rescued from what were described as deplorable conditions by gardai and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals last November is not now expected to face charges. It is understood that gardai have accepted that the owner had entered into the breeding venture with no experience and was overwhelmed by costs and work. Sunday Independent, 9 January 2011

An angling body has condemned the "crazy" actions of a fisherman suspected of inserting a lead bar into a live fish in order to win a competition. The angler is believed to have forced the lead bar down the fish's throat in the hope of winning between 100 and 150 Euro. Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs chairman, John Chambers described the angler's actions as "cruel" and crazy. Fish caught in competitions must be able to swim away for inclusion in scoring. Irish Times, January 26, 2011

Early humans may have preferred the fox to the dog as an animal companion, new archaeological findings suggest. Researchers analysing remains at a prehistoric burial ground in Jordan have uncovered a grave in which a fox was buried with a human, before part of it was then transferred to an adjacent grave. The University of Cambridge-led team believes that the unprecedented case points to some sort of emotional attachment between human and fox. From Past Horizons, Adventures in Archaeology, January 28, 2011

Visitors to many licensed Irish zoos are in danger of being attacked by a variety of the animals and birds on show and are exposed to infections such as salmonella and bird flu. A report on more than 200 zoos throughout the EU found conditions in many of them were "appalling" for the animals and the public. Irish Examiner, February 3, 2011.

We had a quick bit of craic with the farmer, then tipped in an earth we have permission to work but that is in full view of a road. But with light fading fast, it was an ideal spot for us to do. We entered [the terrier] and was soon at a mark of 1.0m. After a quick dig, we broke through to him with four in the stop. A record for us. It must be the wet weather or maybe there chasing the vixens about. From a hunting website forum, Jan 16 2011

Bord na gCon, the Irish greyhound board, wants to export dogs to China as part of an international expansion that could result in it operating racing stadiums there. The move is opposed by Irish animal welfare groups, which say other countries refuse to sell greyhounds to China. Dogs too slow to win races are routinely slaughtered and even eaten, they claim..." A number of countries which export greyhounds to China are already under pressure to stop because dogs that do not race well are routinely killed," Orla Aungier, of the Dublin SPCA, said. "If Irish greyhounds are sent to China it would be almost impossible to monitor their welfare. We are urging Bord na gCon to reconsider their plans and to think about how devastating this move will be for the welfare of Irish greyhounds." Chinese set to take away Irish dogs, Sunday Times, 27 February 2011

The Turf Club authorities have stressed their commitment to maintaining drug testing levels in Irish racing despite recent cutbacks in funding. That news came after yesterday's statistical report for 2010 by racing's regulatory body which revealed two positive tests in horses from 2,860 samples taken during the year. One of those positive tests came in a point-to-point, while the other case has yet to be heard at Turf Club HQ but is believed to be relatively routine. Irish Times, 15th February 2011

The ISPCA has welcomed the prosecution of a woman who treated her dog so badly it had to be put down. Liz O' Flaherty, of Freemont, Co Cork was convicted yesterday of animal cruelty at Mallow District Court and was fined and banned from owning a pet. The animal welfare organisation found the St. Bernard dog severely infected, after her collar became embedded into her neck. She was also fearful and had a severe case of dermatitis. Irish Sun, 19th March 2011.

23. Letters to Editors

Coursing is indefensible -- even hares that escape soon die
Irish Independent, March 28 2011

In his shameful defence of coursing, Brian Purcell of 'The Apprentice' claims that "the hare always gets away" (Irish Independent, March 20).

National Parks and Wildlife Service monitoring reports show that his statement is completely false. These routinely record the hares that have not got away, including ones killed after suffering agonising injuries such as dislocated hips and broken legs.

In coursing clubs in Mr Purcell's native Kerry, hares have been mauled so severely by greyhounds that they had to be put down.

The hares that do get away have not necessarily survived the ordeal of being netted from the wild and used as lures. Their welfare has been seriously compromised and they are at risk of succumbing to capture myopathy -- a stress-related condition that claims victims weeks and months later.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Support for a ban on cruel sports
Irish Independent, March 14 2011

Richard Power, huntsman, was partially correct when he stated (Letters, March 7) that there were "at least 20 people" protesting outside the festival of cruelty, ie, hare coursing, in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, last month. There were at least 20, plus many more, as TG4 News footage shows, with a long line of protesters outside the venue, cheered on by honking horns and 'thumbs up' from motorists and others in solidarity with our cause.

There may well have been thousands inside watching hares run for their lives and gambling on the outcome, but as they say "might is not right". The vast majority of Irish citizens abhor cruelty to animals and are opposed to hare coursing and other bloodsports, as independent polls since the mid-1970s show.

Our near neighbours in Northern Ireland have outlawed live hare coursing, while deer hunting with dogs is illegal on grounds of cruelty to animals. In stark contrast here in the South, Fine Gael is poised to overturn the ban on the cruel Ward Union deer hunt. Enda Kenny says there will be strict conditions, but no amount of conditions, strict or otherwise, will prevent the suffering of a vulnerable creature pursued by dogs across country.

Hopefully Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, who stated recently on radio that his party would not support the reversal of the deerhunt ban, will honour his pledge on this cruelty issue.

Aideen Yourell
Spokeswoman, Irish Council Against Blood Sports,
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Animal Welfare Not Served by Coursing
Limerick Leader, March 2011

In the Limerick Leader of March 12, there was a cover spread (Leader 2 section) over two pages on the issue of live hare coursing, with no less than nine pictures of coursing fans and dogs about to be slipped and a picture of a hare being coursed.

It's not the first time that your paper has sought to present blood sports in a positive light, and the report seeks to tell us that the welfare of the persecuted animals is well served by the existence of blood sports.

Animal welfare is not well served at any level by blood sports. To argue otherwise is to engage in subjective rhetoric. What is worrying is that a newspaper such as yours should present a one-sided picture of what is now a controversial issue for half a century at least.

Brendan Purcell, Ballingarrane,
Rathkeale, Co. Limerick

Shocking Animal Cruelty
Irish Voice, February 03, 2011

While our wildlife was struggling to survive in recent Siberian conditions, it was "sport" as usual for the country's foxhunts whose terrorization and killing continued.

The activities of one was outlined in a disturbing Farmers' Journal hunting report. Sixteen mounted followers of the Westmeath hunt, along with 29 hounds, found a fox that was caught and "chopped." Later on, another fox was "overhauled before he managed to put any distance between himself and them." Both "chopped" and "overhauled," in hunting terminology, mean that the fox was caught by the hounds and brutally killed.

One can only imagine the gruesome scenes of suffering as these foxes were attacked, torn apart and disemboweled by the pack.

The fox which was chopped was, no doubt, a disappointment to the hunters as it was immediately caught on sight and failed to give the followers a run for their money.

Hunters claim that it's the thrill of the chase, and not the kill, that excites them.

But then they should switch to drag hunting which sees the hounds following an artificial scent laid down along a designated route. This guarantees constant movement for the riders and eliminates the element of cruelty.

The majority of Irish people, including country dwellers, value our wildlife and are opposed to the hunting of animals with dogs. We cannot call ourselves a civilized and compassionate nation as long as such barbarity is permitted.

Aideen Yourell
Spokesperson, Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Fine Gael lost out in election hunt
Irish Independent, March 8 2011

In his letter to your paper (March 7), Richard Power suggests the proposed ban on stag hunting caused minimal, if any, damage to the Fine Gael vote in its pursuit of a majority.

He based that assumption on the small number of protesters at the annual coursing event in Clonmel.

Perhaps Mr Power would check out the Fine Gael website prior to the week of the election and read the large number of hits from concerned people who stated they had intended voting for the party prior to the ban but unlike Mr Power could not, in conscience, do so.

Numerous comments were also posted on a number of welfare sites throughout the week. Your own journalist Ian O'Doherty expressed the views of many potential Fine Gael voters in his article, 'Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory' (Irish Independent, February 17).

The Greens were not consigned to the history books for their stance on animal welfare. Their fate was sealed by their acquiescence to Fianna Fail's policies which brought this country to its knees.

Mr Power, it would appear, supports this so-called sport. Mark Twain is most apt in his description of this writer and his ilk when he said: "Of all the creatures ever born, man is the most despicable of the brood; he inflicts pain knowing it to be pain and calls it sport".

John Daly
Arklow, Co Wicklow

I refused to vote FG due to blood sport U-turn
Irish Independent, March 9 2011

In response to Richard Power's letter on the issue of stag hunting, I am proud to say that I am one of the voters who intended to vote for Fine Gael but changed my mind when I discovered their intention to go back to the dark ages by re-introducing this barbaric practice, and I am sure that many more of the 70pc of the population who oppose blood sports did the same.

If Mr Power does his sums he will see that 70pc of 4,500,000 amounts to 3,150,000 which puts the 20,000 attending the festival of cruelty in Clonmel in perspective.

Frank O'Connor
Inniscarra, Co Cork

Hunting whitewash
Irish Daily Mail, March 28, 2011

It's not surprising that Henry McKean failed to unearth The Truth About Irish Blood Sports in the TV3 documentary. Not only were the fox hunters expectantly awaiting his arrival, they were put in charge of chauffeuring him around and invited to do the filming themselves.

Instead of the investigation into the grisly reality of hunting, McKean happily handed over camcorders to the hunters and entrusted them with the task of capturing the moment a fox has its back and neck broken and its intestines bitten out by the hounds.

Predictably, it became clear that the foxes would all be getting away today and that the only footage the horse-cam was going to pick up was that of hunters smiling innocently...

Philip Kiernan Irish Council Against Blood Sports

We need to keep FG's hunting bias on tight lead
Irish Examiner, February 25, 2011

Fine Gael have stated in their election manifesto that they will keep "communities vibrant" by reversing the ban on the Ward Union stag hunt.

Their idea of "vibrant" obviously means red-coated thugs on horseback charging across country after a pack of dogs in pursuit of an unfortunate deer, with groupie road followers driving around in convoys, hogging the roads and making a nuisance of themselves.

It seems that Fine Gael are genetically disposed to bloodsports, as history will testify. According to the Kilkenny Journal of August 5, 1922, a journalist who accompanied a division of the 'Free Staters' on their way to recapture Callan from the Republicans, reported that they were detained on the road by a badger baiting session, which they stopped to watch for 20 minutes, with "officers, men, doctors, nurses and all the rest held up, and to tell the truth splendidly entertained by a badger's struggle with country dogs".

Fast forward to 1972, and at a Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Liam Cosgrave, in a blood-curdling outburst, warned his leadership rivals, "... some of these commentators and critics are now like mongrel foxes; they are gone to ground but I'll dig them out, and the pack will chop them when they get them."

Let's hope Fine Gael don't get an overall majority. They need a civilising hand to keep their blood lust in check.

Eadaoin de Oirghiolla
Muileann Cearr, Co na hIarmhai

Stags put FG out of hunt for a majority
Irish Independent, March 01 2011

Fine Gael has gained a significant number of seats in this election. However, for the scent of a stag they lost numerous votes that could have provided an overall majority.

As your columnist Ian O'Doherty and other letters to this paper stated, the proposed reversal of the hunting ban alienated many people who have compassion and respect for these regal animals.

Eamon Gilmore has stated that Labour will not support the reversal of the ban. Let us hope that his party will not renege on their commitment.

Tom Ryan
Clondalkin, Dublin

FG needs to reverse stance on stag hunting
Galway Advertiser, February 24, 2011.

Dear Editor,

Anyone who cares about animal welfare should be aware that Fine Gael, if elected, plans to reverse the ban on stag hunting. It is in their manifesto - page 26. Please see the following extract:

5. Community and Rural Affairs
5.3 Keeping Communities Vibrant
Rural Activities: Fine Gael will reverse the ban on stag hunting.

Conversely, please note the following extract:-

1. Agriculture and Seafood
1.8 Animal Welfare
Outdated Legislation: We will enact new animal welfare legislation to update existing animal welfare rules which are outdated and need to be reformed.

All-island Approach: We will encourage greater co-operation across the island of Ireland on animal welfare issues.

Considering that deer hunting with hounds (and coursing) is banned in Northern Ireland, it is difficult to see the rationale in these FG statements or how these policies can be equated. Is this not more of the 'lack of joined-up thinking' which has got us to where we are today.

A welcome move towards a more humane society was achieved when the present Government introduced a ban of stag-hunting. However Fine Gael are already giving way to vested pro-hunting interests, many of which are well funded (Galway Tent or what!). This is akin to Fianna Fail giving in to the pressure of developers' demands (and, look at where this has got us).

The chances of FG being concerned about the plight of the ill, elderly, special needs, disenfranchised, etc, are very slim if they see nothing wrong with blatant cruelty to animals, any animal (two or four legged). Research has shown that there is a connection between cruelty to animals and humans, and many who go on to abuse humans have started with abusing animals. It's a question of sensitivity. 'Once we grow callous, we cannot feel fully for anyone - not even ourselves' - Gloria Steinham.

Recent media exposes have shown that animal welfare needs to be addressed in this country. I would suggest that the abuse of animals can also affect tourism as many (civilised) people cannot abide the sight of starving horses, chained dogs, stray animals, etc. The sight of frightened stags being chased into school yards, people's back gardens, injured on the roads, etc, will do nothing to entice tourists here. The sight of such inhumanity lingers and would prevent anyone with any modicum of compassion from revisiting this country.

So, Fine Gael, let's keep the ban on stag hunting in place as a step towards achieving a more compassionate society to the benefit of all citizens. Please do not give in to the pressure of vested negative interest. The additional bonus will be that the image of this country will improve and consequently, our economy through tourism and culture.

Aine Ni Shionnaigh
Co Na Gaillimhe

24. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports In Ireland Now
End Hare Coursing In Ireland
Ban Irish Fox Hunting
Say No To Irish Greyhounds Being Sent To China
Lobby for the URGENT need for updated Animal Welfare Legislation in Ireland
Canada: End the Seal Hunt Now!
Stop the subsidies to A Coruna bullfights
Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts
Help end the suffering of bulls in Nimes (Please print and collect signatures)

Top ways you can help the campaign

Please make a donation to ICABS

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

Keep hunters off your land

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

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

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

Animal Voice - Subscribe

To receive "Animal Voice" by email every month, please send "Animal Voice - Subscribe" to

Make a donation to ICABS

Please consider making a small donation to ICABS. For more details, please click on the button below or follow this link to find out how to become a campaign supporter. Thank you.

Top | Newsletters | Home