Animal Voice: Issue 5 - May 2011
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this edition:

01. Ask PR Institute to drop cruelty campaign from awards shortlist
02. TV3's "Truth" documentary was not based on "scientific evidence"
03. Irish personalities calling on Dept to block IGB involvement in China
04. Limerick hotel asked to disassociate from coursing
05. "Animal Padre" commends ICABS on appeals to Church
06. Ask your TDs to support a ban on foxhunting and coursing
07. Jedward says "Adopt, Don't Buy"
08. Ecuador votes to ban bullfighting and cockfighting
09. ICABS calls for IGB to abandon China plan
10. IGB scraps deplorable plan to export greyhounds to China
11. Irish Daily Mail exposes sad plight of greyhounds in China
12. Spoof burglars film exposes hunters' arguments
13. Campaign Quotes
14. Letters to Editors
15. Petitions

01. Ask PR Institute to drop cruelty campaign from awards shortlist

ICABS is calling on the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) to drop the RISE campaign from its 2011 Awards shortlist. In an email to the group's CEO, we highlighted that the campaign was criticised for spreading misinformation and that the deerhunt ban it fought was widely welcomed by the Irish public.

In our letter to PRII CEO, Gerry Davis, we questioned the inclusion of RISE on the shortlist for the so-called 2011 Awards for Excellence in Public Relations.

"The RISE campaign was a highly reprehensible campaign," we stated. "It attempted to block a ban on the Ward Union carted deer hunt - one of Ireland's worst examples of cruelty to animals. This internationally condemned activity, now thankfully illegal, involved taking out a pack of hounds and chasing a terrified, farm-bred deer across the countryside. Carted deer hunting was cruel from beginning to end. Among the victims of the Ward Union were a deer that died from fractured ribs, a deer that died as a result of 'dry drowning' having fallen into a quarry, a deer that dropped dead with a ruptured aorta, a deer choked to death in a wood and a deer that died from a ruptured aortic aneurism."

The RISE campaign aimed to convince the public and politicians that "Hunting is not cruel to the deer" and "is not a danger to the public". We have presented Mr Davis with evidence showing that both of these claims are untrue.

This includes details of an incident in December 2009 in which a hunted deer jumped on to a road, was struck by a car, smashed into its windscreen and suffered a fractured leg before hobbling away in agony. It was later caught and shot in the head. The occupants of the car were said to be badly shaken and lucky to be alive.

Referring to Section 7 of the Code of Lisbon to which the PRII subscribes ("Any attempt to deceive public opinion or its representatives is forbidden") and to the Code of Athens which discourages the circulation of information which is "not based on established and ascertainable facts", we pointed out that the RISE campaign was criticised for scaremongering and spreading misinformation.

Meath Councillor, Shane Cassells, is on record as saying; "I was very pleased to speak out against the MISTRUTHS which the RISE campaign are using to try and advance their cause."

Senator Ivana Bacik too was unhappy with RISE, describing their tactics as "UNACCEPTABLE" and stating that they engaged in scaremongering (Seanad debate, 30th June 2010).

Government Minister, John Gormley, was also very critical of the RISE campaign. In the Winter 2010 edition of Country Sports and Country Life magazine, he is quoted as saying "RISE's campaign was one not based on any foundation of respect. Its supporters and representatives continued to make a series of FALSE CLAIMS that the Greens' policy was opposed to shooting and angling, which is simply NOT TRUE. RISE supporters went to extreme lengths. For example cars outside a church belonging to people attending a religious service organised by Mary White TD were covered with leaflets saying Greens RIP. In another instance eggs were pelted at cars."

The Irish Times of June 29, 2010 reported that "members of the Rural Ireland Says Enough! (RISE!) campaign group...booed and jeered" Minister John Gormley and Minister of State Mary White as they attended the opening of a library in Borris. The report outlined that eggs were placed on the bonnet and inside the interior of the Minister's State car and that Gardai had to remove Rise! stickers which protesters attached to the state car. Minister Gormley described the protesters' behaviour as "MALICIOUS" and "UNACCEPTABLE".

In the Offaly Express of May 11, 2010, the then Councillor, and current TD, Barry Cowen, similarly criticised RISE. He stated: "Having recently attended a public meeting organised by RISE, I feel it necessary to re-affirm the Bills' contents and refute the claims by RISE that there is some wider agenda...RISE are WRONG to suggest there is some wider agenda. Minister Gormley recently confirmed the legislation will not have any implications for other country pursuits such as fox hunting, hare hunting, hare coursing or deer stalking. This bill only affects those involved in stag hunting, any suggestion otherwise by RISE is MISLEADING and FALSE."

ICABS has suggested that RISE could be replaced on the shortlist with the successful, positive, public relations campaigns by animal welfare groups which were instrumental in securing a historic ban on carted deer hunting.

"This campaign was based on an approach the Public Relations Institute would surely favour," we remarked. "This involved the presentation of evidence-backed facts, a respectful approach to lobbying politicians, good-natured demonstrations and helpful collaboration with members of the public negatively affected by hunting."


Please lodge a complaint with the CEO of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and ask them to drop the RISE campaign from their shortlist.

Mr Gerry Davis
Chief Executive
Public Relations Institute of Ireland
8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 661 8004
Fax: +353 1 676 4562
With a copy to:
Barry Kenny, President, PRII National Council 2011

02. TV3's "Truth" documentary was not based on "scientific evidence"

TV3 has said that its "The Truth About Irish Blood Sports" documentary was not intended to reflect scientific evidence but rather personal opinions. The significant statement was part of a response to an ICABS complaint about the propaganda-filled programme.

In the reply, forwarded to ICABS by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, a TV3 spokesperson says: "The programme was an exploration of people's opinions of hunting and coursing and was not intended to be based on scientific evidence."

The series of "Truth" documentaries, presented by Henry McKean, were originally claimed by TV3 to provide a "look at the real story" behind the issues covered. However, without a focus on the well-documented evidence, the truth about blood sports was always going to struggle to emerge.

In our complaint to the programme's producer back in March, ICABS observed that it didn't appear that the purpose had been to uncover the truth, despite its title.

We criticised the lack of proper research which would have helped convey the real truth about foxhunting and coursing.

The evidence the documentary chose to sidestep, shows the truth to be that foxhunting and hare coursing are inarguably cruel from beginning to end and that the suffering inflicted on animals is integral and not isolated, as suggested.

ICABS hopes that TV3, despite having rejected the complaint, will revisit the issue of blood sports in the future and produce an evidence-based expose about the shocking suffering caused to our wildlife by hunters and coursers.

03. Irish personalities calling on Dept to block IGB involvement in China

Brendan Gleeson and other stars from the world of entertainment are among a group of 37 who are urging the Department of Agriculture to block plans by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB/Bord na gCon) to help establish greyhound racing in China.

In a letter published in today's Irish Times, the musicians, actors, comedians, designers, etc condemn the IGB's proposal as "cynical", "sinister" and "ominous".

While welcoming the Department of Agriculture's rejection of an IGB attempt to export Irish greyhounds to China, they go on to point out that the IGB in China would have to get greyhounds from elsewhere. Regardless of the origin of the dogs, the grave welfare concerns remain the same.

"They will have to get greyhounds from somewhere for this cruel sport...In China, there is a massive amount of well-documented evidence of dogs and cats being thrown alive into boiling water, and then skinned, alive, to eventually end up for sale in open markets," the 37 outline in their letter. "The Department of Agriculture may sign off on this new proposal. Now they need to take responsibility for deciding whether or not Ireland's reputation is worth more than the money that may be generated by this ominous project."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports commends all who signed this letter and who are speaking up loudly for the welfare of animals. You can see the full text of the letter below.

Greyhound racing in China
Irish Times, May 12, 2011

Madam, - While we are relieved that Bord na gCon was denied permission to export Irish greyhounds to China, we remain alarmed that they are nevertheless going to attempt to develop and manage racetracks there. This is not just a cynical move, but a sinister one. They will have to get greyhounds from somewhere for this cruel sport.

Unlike other breeds, greyhounds tend to be portrayed as commodities. But they are not machines. They are creatures who feel. Yet their lives are so undervalued, they are regularly subjected to neglect and abuse all over the world. In China, there is a massive amount of well-documented evidence of dogs and cats being thrown alive into boiling water, and then skinned, alive, to eventually end up for sale in open markets.

The Department of Agriculture may sign off on this new proposal. Now they need to take responsibility for deciding whether or not Ireland's reputation is worth more than the money that may be generated by this ominous project.

Lately we have seen how Irish society has been shot to pieces by State and semi-State bodies abdicating themselves from responsibility and by overbearing greed and arrogance running rough-shod over sense and compassion. We have seen that those who try to speak out against the establishment, for whatever reason, are often ridiculed as fools or worse. And we have seen how Ireland has fallen in terms of our pride and reputation.

Irish people are compassionate. Very recently, we spoke out loud and clear on the issue of cruelty to Irish greyhounds. This outcry shouldn't be seen by those making this important decision as ending with the welfare of Irish dogs. This extends to all greyhounds, no matter where they come from. At this point in our country's affairs, let us dispense with greed in favour of humanity. - Yours, etc,

Brendan Gleeson; Christy Moore; Paul Brady; Louis Walsh; Damien Rice; Imelda May; Darrel Higham; Damien Dempsey; Andrea Corr; Paddy Moloney; Louis Copeland; Eleanor Shanley; Ian Dempsey; Linda Martin; Declan O'Rourke; Luka Bloom; Luan Parle; Donal Lunny; Mundy; Frances Black; Lucia Evans; Barry Murphy; John Reynolds; Mary Black; Liam O Maonlai; Lenny Abrahamson; Mark Rowlands; Glenda Gilson; Jerry Fish; Ciara Sidine; Gavin Friday; Tommy Tiernan; Jack Lukeman; Pat Shortt; Jon Kenny; Sharon Shannon; Geraldine Murphy.

04. Limerick hotel asked to disassociate from coursing

The Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick has been asked to disassociate from the cruel blood sport of coursing. The Irish Coursing Club website lists the hotel as one of the sponsors at the Irish Cup coursing event.

The coursing connection was also highlighted in a report in the Kerryman newspaper in March - "There was some Kerry success at the Irish Coursing Cup meeting Limerick last weekend as Homestead Kerry (Castle PinesGold Sunrise) showed terrific gutso to collect the prize for Dan Lynch in the Woodlands House Hotel Irish Purse."

ICABS understands that the hotel was venue for a Limerick Coursing Club event in February at which a preview of the 2011 Irish Cup event was scheduled to be shown.

In a letter of appeal to hotel proprietor, Mary Fitzgerald, we pointed to the suffering caused to Irish hares by coursing.

"Hare coursing is an extremely cruel activity which results in stress, injury and death to hares," we stated. "We hope the Woodlands House Hotel will show compassion and end its sponsorship of coursing."

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

The Woodlands House Hotel has also been criticised for suggesting that visitors to the area take part in hunting. In a list of "top visitor attractions in Adare as recommended by us", the hotel states: "Adare is also well renowned in Hunting Circles as a meeting point for local hunts, The hunting season runs from November to March and arrangements can be made with local hunts if you wish to go hunting during your stay."


Ask the Woodlands House Hotel to permanently end its sponsorship of hare coursing and stop recommending foxhunting on its website. If its stance on coursing and foxhunting would make you choose a different hotel, please make this clear in your correspondence.

Mary Fitzgerald
Woodlands House Hotel
Telephone: + 353 (0)61 605105 or +353 (0)61 605100
Fax: + 353 (0)61 396073

05. "Animal Padre" commends ICABS on appeals to Church

The "Animal Padre", Reverend James Thompson, has commended ICABS on our ongoing appeal to the Church to prohibit clergy involvement in blood sports and condemn the cruelty.

"Allow me to congratulate you on the wonderful work you are endeavouring to do, especially in trying to disturb the consciences of clergy who could do so much for the animals, yet do nothing," the Wales-based priest wrote in an email.

After reading on our website about priests blessing foxhunts and attending hare coursing meetings, Rev Thomson asked: "Where has the spirit of St Francis gone within today's church communities?"

He added: "As an octogenarian priest, it disturbs me immensely that the church which claims to be the ark of salvation is so far removed from Noah's ark. He included them in, while today's church casts them out!"

While many members of the clergy in Ireland would oppose animal cruelty, there sadly remains a small minority that shamefully support hunting and coursing. ICABS continues to urge Church authorities to take action to prevent priests from associating with blood sports. We have asked the Church to preach a message of compassion and condemn as sinful any participation in blood sports. Find out more on our Campaign Page

ICABS has thanked Rev James Thompson for his words of support. Find out more about him, his books and his tireless and wide-ranging work for animals at

Read about his blessing of a horse sanctuary in Galway last year -

06. Ask your TDs to support a ban on foxhunting and coursing

Demand an end to foxhunting and coursing in Ireland. Contact all your local TDs and ask them to support a ban on these horrendous blood sports.

For more information, click on Campaigns at

07. Jedward says "Adopt, Don't Buy"

Animal-loving duo, Jedward, recently posed for an ARAN poster encouraging people to adopt homeless pets instead of buying from breeders.

Check out the cool poster now.

Visit your local animal rescue centre and dog pound to find animals waiting for good homes. Always adopt - never buy.

08. Ecuador votes to ban bullfighting and cockfighting

The Irish Times has reported that bullfighting will come to an end in Ecuador after the electorate voted in favour of a ban. In an historic May 7th referendum, Ecuadorans also voted to ban cockfighting.

"Bullfighting has long been a traditional pastime of Ecuador's European-descended elite," wrote Tom Hennigan from Sao Paulo. "Its supporters sought to portray the proposed ban as an attack on their freedom of expression and cultural heritage and claimed an end to the spectacle would leave 100,000 people out of work. However the poor indigenous majority, from which President Rafael Correa draws his support, was little moved by the appeals to what many see as a European tradition."

Mr Correa hailed the result a victory for his "citizens' revolution" and praised voters for not being scared off by a "ferocious opposition" and a corrupt press. "We have beaten them all," he told supporters at a victory rally.

While the bullfighting ban prohibits the killing of bulls, so-called Portuguese-style bullfighting may continue. In this, bulls are taunted, terrorised and injured but not killed in the ring. They may be killed afterwards.

The Irish Times highlighted that all kinds of bullfighting have almost disappeared from the country's 3rd largest city of Cuenca, after a 2004 local ban outlawed the killing of bulls in the ring but allowed the Portuguese version.

ICABS congratulates the people of Ecuador for making the compassionate choice and voting to ban cockfighting and the killing of bulls in bullfighting arenas.

09. ICABS calls for IGB to abandon China plan

ICABS has called on the Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, to urge the Irish Greyhound Board to abandon a proposal to help establish greyhound racing in China.

In a letter to the Minister, we welcomed the news that plans to export greyhounds to China have been scrapped but expressed concern that the IGB is continuing to consider associating with China.

"The many people in Ireland and around the world who opposed the idea of Irish greyhounds being used in China would almost certainly be equally opposed to the use of greyhounds from anywhere, given China's poor animal welfare record," we told the Minister. "We believe that if the IGB helps establish greyhound racing in China, and animal cruelty is subsequently exposed, it will reflect very badly on Ireland."


Please email the Minister now. Urge him to order the IGB to completely abandon the proposal and play no role whatsoever in establishing greyhound racing in China.

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 (0)1 618 3753
(CC: Shane McEntee, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture)

10. IGB scraps deplorable plan to export greyhounds to China

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that following a meeting, the Irish Greyhound Board has agreed to "modify its proposal to exclude the export of greyhounds from Ireland [to China]". The U-turn was made amid growing international opposition and fears for the welfare of greyhounds.

The positive development came to light following a Dail Question from Labour Party TD, Joe Costello who called on the Agriculture Minister to "clarify his policy regarding the export of Irish greyhounds to the People's Republic of China".

"The proposal of Bord na gCon to set up a racing franchise and export Irish greyhounds to the People's Republic of China has given rise to considerable concern among animal rights and welfare groups and ordinary dog owners," the Dublin Central TD stated. "I am sure the Minister of State and every Deputy will have received numerous letters and e-mails on the issue in recent days raising concerns about the possible export of greyhounds to a country which has no animal welfare legislation and no regulation, supervision or mechanism for protecting such animals. There is no ban on the killing of dogs there and we are all aware that some dogs are regularly eaten or are on the menu in China. Obviously, there is considerable scope for abuse under the circumstances."

Responding, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Shane McEntee, TD said: "The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is aware that Bord na gCon is exploring possible business opportunities in China and has been in contact with the Department in this regard. Today I met the chairman and chief executive of Bord na gCon to discuss the proposal. I made it clear that I am not in a position to approve the project as presented. It was agreed that Bord na gCon would modify its proposal to exclude the export of greyhounds from Ireland but would continue to explore possibilities of developing the proposal to assist in the management of greyhound racing in China."

Thank you to everyone from Ireland and around the world who made their voices heard and saved Irish greyhounds from a "dire and unthinkable" future in China. Email the Agriculture Minister now ( and demand that he orders the IGB to play no role whatsoever in establishing greyhound racing in China.

11. Irish Daily Mail exposes sad plight of greyhounds in China

The Irish Daily Mail has exposed the sad and shocking fate of greyhounds in China. In a special investigation feature (7th May 2011) by Simon Parry, racing greyhounds in a Chinese compound are compared to "prisoners on death row" - all are destined to die.

"This is greyhound racing Chinese-style and this is the depressingly cruel industry Ireland's greyhound racing authority, Bord na gCon, controversially wants to expand to cities across China," Mr Parry writes.

Animal Asia Foundation warns in the report that if Ireland brings greyhound racing to the rest of China, greyhounds could be beaten to death with clubs or end up being sold into China's mass dog meat and fur industries.

Director David Neale describes an unofficial greyhound racing track he saw earlier this year at a safari park in Shanghai. Describing the animal welfare situation as "horrendous", he says: "It was a park where they still did live chicken feeding for entertainment. They also had live animal performances with bears, tigers and lions with their teeth removed. The welfare of the dogs wouldn't be a consideration at a track like that. We are against greyhound racing in principle, but for it to expand in a country which has no animal welfare legislation is something the Irish greyhound racing board should seriously consider."

Read the full article

12. Spoof burglars film exposes hunters' arguments

ICABS representatives were happy to attend the launch this month of a film aimed at exposing the nonsense of hunters' arguments for the repeal of the UK Hunting Act.

Launched in the House of Commons in London, the League Against Cruel Sports' spoof film purports to be from the National Association of Burglars. It includes interviews with burglars who claim that the Theft Act is unfair as it "breaches human rights, criminalises a traditional activity, and was passed by MPs who'd never been burgling".

"The film's a bit of fun but it makes an important point," said Steve Taylor, the League's head of campaigns and communications. "The hunters are the only group of criminals in society who flirt with this idea that they are in some way victims of the law, rather than transgressers of it."

The film concludes with remarks from League chairman, Professor John Cooper QC, in which he describes the Hunting Act as "setting the standard for the type of society we all want to live in".

You can watch the film on the League website

13. Campaign Quotes

"Snare injuries [to foxes] include injury to the limb, chipped teeth from chewing at it, underlying tissue damage". From the Irish Wildlife Matters website - Visit for valuable information about rescuing and caring for injured wildlife.

"The board [Irish Greyhound Board] made a surplus in Ireland last year of Eur2.7 million but its finances have been under pressure in the recession. This year it will receive Eur11.4 million from the Horse Greyhound Fund, which is administered by the Department of Agriculture. This compares with Eur15.8 million in 2008. In addition, attendances at race meetings have almost halved over the past six years, falling to 800,000 last year." The Irish Times, May 6, 2011

"The Irish Coursing Club's downfall would be a great boost to the cause of animal welfare in Ireland and to hare conservation nationwide. More than 70 enclosed hare coursing clubs all over Ireland are affiliated to it, each of which organises events that consist of terrorizing live hares for the purposes of gambling and recreation." From Great News from Commercial Court, a post on Indymedia

14. Letters to Editors

Greyhound racing in China
The Irish Times, May 9, 2011

Madam, As an international greyhound protection organisation, we welcomed the decision from the Department of Agriculture in refusing approval of the Irish Greyhound Board's plans to export Irish greyhounds to China (Home News, May 4th).

We welcome this because we know that it would have been impossible for the board to offer exported greyhounds a "strong welfare framework". Thanks to greyhound racing, over 15,000 greyhounds are "put down" every year in the UK and Ireland alone, after failing to make the grade as racers or when their "careers" on the tracks come to an end. We also deplore any further involvement by the Irish Greyhound Board, in furthering greyhound racing in China . It may well be a "great business opportunity" for a few but would mean the violent deaths of thousands and thousands of greyhounds, wherever they came from.

Eva Hopkins,
Greyhound Action UK,
PO Box 127, Kidderminster, England.

Eagle group's claims fly in face of the facts
Irish Examiner, May 06, 2011

IN ITS efforts to re-introduce an extinct species, the Golden Eagle Trust is sadly advocating the killing of existing species. The trust's website discourages farmers from threatening eagles by illegally poisoning foxes and suggests that they instead shoot them.

This flies in the face of the facts which show that foxes do not actually pose a threat to sheep farming. In An Irish Beast Book, zoologist Professor James Fairley affirms that "many allegations of lamb killing are based on insufficient or even non-existent evidence." This is backed up by the National Parks & Wildlife Service who confirm that "foxes seldom kill and eat young lambs".

Also objectionable is the trust's suggestion that farmers use Larsen traps to control crows and magpies. These cage traps have been condemned as "inherently cruel" by the RSPCA and are illegal in Denmark from where they originated in the 1950s. Birds caught in Larsen traps desperately bash against the sides in futile bids for freedom. Many suffer broken beaks and cut heads before they are pulled out and strangled.

Crows and magpies may not glide as gracefully as eagles, and foxes may not move as majestically, but they are all equally deserving of life, nonetheless.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

McEntee's hypocrisy on animal welfare
Meath Chronicle, 11th May, 2011

Dear sir - While welcoming Bord na gCon's decision not to send Irish greyhounds to China, I am taken aback by the claim by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Shane McEntee, that "Ireland attaches a high priority to animal welfare and, alongside our EU partners, is working to promote better animal welfare internationally".

Aside from the fact that Mr McEntee himself has been lobbying hard to reverse the ban on carted stag hunting, which was outlawed on both animal welfare and road safety grounds by the previous government, there is the fact that Ireland still permits live hare coursing, a practise that disgraces our country and projects a deeply negative image of our greyhound industry.

Though Fine Gael included a pledge to bring back stag hunting in its election manifesto, the Labour Party has thankfully blocked efforts to reinstate the hounding to exhaustion and injury for "sport" of farmed or semi-domesticated deer. But hare coursing continues unabated, with more than seventy clubs licensed by the State to capture hares and subject them to the terrors of live baiting in a wired-off park or enclosure.

Muzzling of greyhounds only serves to prevent the physical tearing apart of hares. It cannot protect them from being knocked about and tossed into the air like rag dolls, or from dying as a result of a condition called stress myopathy, which affects hares that have been ill-treated by man or forced to undergo an unnatural or deeply stressful ordeal.

How can Ireland be said to accord a "high priority" to animal welfare and to be concerned about how other countries treat animals, when our government allows a form of organised animal cruelty that is banned in most of the countries where once it flourished? South Australia was the last Australian state to prohibit hare coursing in 1985. Scotland followed in 2002, England and Wales in 2004. Hare coursing came to an end in Northern Ireland last year after a debate and vote on the issue in the Larne Assembly.

We are one of the last outposts of this throwback to the dark ages. To suggest that a country that enshrines hare coursing as a legal "pastime" is committed to the welfare of animals in Ireland and internationally is a gross insult to the intelligence of people everywhere.

John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports,
Callan, Co Kilkenny.

Truth about blood sports? Not likely
Metro Eireann, April 15, 2011

Henry McClean promised that his TV3 documentary, The Truth About Blood Sports, would be a "real eye-opener". It certainly was. The coursing and hunting fans he interviewed educated us all about how wonderful their sports are. Not only that, but we learned from them that the hare and the fox, far from being upset by their treatment at the hands of the lovely sportspeople, actually enjoy it as much as the men and women who put them through their paces.

There we were all these years, us opponents of blood sports, thinking that coursing was cruel, just because we saw hares being chased into nets and shaking with terror when captured. We thought they were having a bad time when we read reports obtained from the Parks and Wildlife Service relating to the 2009-2010 coursing season, showing that hares died from "severe knocks" sustained during coursing, of badly broken legs, of hares dying from various ailments in the paddocks and compounds maintained by coursing clubs.

We were equally misguided, if the coursing fans are right, when we expressed concern about the stress endured by hares when removed from their natural environment, confined in close proximity to other hares, and of the effects on them of being manhandled and transported around the country in small cramped boxes to coursing venues.

We had been concerned too about the welfare of this animal that is prone to stress myopathy, a condition that arises from frightening or traumatic situations that can result in the death of hares even after coursing has concluded.

Sure, what were we worried about? The hares were enjoying it all along! They get dosed by the nice coursing folk at holiday camps, the big doggies have nothing personal against them, and the whole game is "woven into the fabric of rural life". Do hares appreciate what these fine people do for them, I wonder?

And the fox loves being hunted. "I'd say he enjoys it," one hunting fan assured us in the documentary. Again, we had the idea that setting 20 or 30 dogs after a fox, hunting it to exhaustion and then having the skin ripped off its bones, might be cruel, or at least a little unfair to the wily creature. But the fans were confident that he gets a mighty thrill from the experience.

If you doubt this, just pick up the mangled carcass of a fox when the hounds have finished with it and wipe from blood from its face. If you examine it carefully, you might detect the faint trace of a smile. Then you'll know it died laughing.

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

Greyhound racing is only about money
Irish Examiner, May 11, 2011

THE decision by this government not to allow the export of Irish greyhounds to China has, thankfully, spared many hundreds of these gentle creatures an appalling fate.

That the Irish Greyhound Board would have even considered sending dogs to a country which doesn't officially recognise the concept of animal welfare in its laws comes as no surprise to those familiar with the practice of greyhound racing in this country.

This so-called sport is about one thing - and one thing only - money. The term "animal welfare" has only recently entered the lexicon of the IGB and remains very low down its list of priorities. It is estimated that a shocking 10,000 greyhounds are killed here annually - either because they have outlived their usefulness on the track or because they never made the grade in the first place.

Dogs which actually make it to the track routinely sustain serious injury. Fractures, broken hocks, injured toes, torn muscles, strained tendons and arthritic joints are commonplace. And despite some drug testing on the part of the authorities, many Irish raced dogs suffer from being administered drugs such as cocaine, Viagra, nandrolone and steroids - all of this is well-documented.

Given that an even worse situation exists in China, as evidenced by much recent media coverage, the Irish Greyhounds Board, as a semi-state body, should be made withdraw from all future involvement with syndicates promoting the development of greyhound racing in China. And every effort must be made to ensure that Irish dogs will not end up in China via private groups or individuals operating without "official" IGB approval.

Nuala Donlon
Irish Animal Welfare Forum
Rooskey, Co Roscommon

Focus on profit not welfare?
Galway Independent, 04 May 2011

Dear Editor

The Irish greyhound industry is contemplating a canine version of a Chinese takeaway. The plan is to export Irish greyhounds to China to develop their greyhound and gambling industries.

The Irish greyhound will be seen a product to export to mainland China by those in the Irish greyhound industry eager to make a profit. What will not enter their scope of thinking will be the animal welfare implications.

Every aspect of this proposal reeks of profit before compassion. Is the Irish greyhound industry so in need of new markets that it is willingly to sell it so called integrity for the proverbial thirty pieces of yuan?

The Irish greyhound suffers appalling treatment in Ireland from those greyhounds owners, breeders and trainers who emote animal welfare concerns but in reality, only see greyhounds are a means to a profit.

Should Irish greyhounds end their days under Chinese skies, it will mean once again Irish society has allowed the export of live animals for profit while abdicating all animal welfare responsibility to the importing country.

Yours Sincerely,
John Tierney, Waterford Animal Concern,
Larchville, Waterford

15. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports In Ireland Now

End Hare Coursing In Ireland

Ban Irish Fox Hunting

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)

Please make a donation to ICABS

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

Keep hunters off your land

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

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

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

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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.

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