Animal Voice: Issue 6 - June 2011
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this edition:

01. Urge Minister Deenihan to refuse hare coursing licence
02. Maureen O'Sullivan, TD asks Minister to refuse coursing licence
03. Ireland's largest online bookstore removes bullfight book
04. Ask Easons to stop selling bullfight book
05. PR Association criticised for shortlist praise
06. ICABS highlighted cruelty to awards sponsors
07. Connolly's Red Mills and "country pursuits"
08. Ban on circus wild animals a step closer in England
09. ICABS Mobile Website
10. Death of devoted animal campaigner, Anne Fitzgerald
11. Sharon Ni Bheolain backs spaying/neutering campaign
12. Protect dogs in hot weather
13. Animal lover, Louis Walsh, speaks out against greyhound racing
14. National March for Animals in October
15. New Banner: Call for a ban on blood sports
16. Man's dogs killed and ate puppy
17. Deer hunter sentenced over teacher's death
18. Campaign Quotes
19. Letters to Editors
20. Petitions

01. Urge Minister Deenihan to refuse hare coursing licence

The Irish Coursing Club has applied for a licence to capture and course thousands of hares for the 2011-12 season. Please join us now in urging Minister Jimmy Deenihan to refuse this licence.

To find out more about the cruelty of coursing, click on Campaigns at


Contact Minister Deenihan now and urge him to refuse the coursing licence.

Jimmy Deenihan, TD
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

[with a copy to An Taoiseach]
Tel: (01) 631 3802
Fax: (01) 661 1201

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Deenihan,

I am one of the majority of Irish citizens who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares suffer and die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and refuse to licence this cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Forward a copy of your correspondence to your local TDs:
Find out the name of your TDs and their email addresses.

Write to your TDs at:
Dáil Éireann
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

02. Maureen O'Sullivan, TD asks Minister to refuse coursing licence

In a Dail question, Maureen O'Sullivan, TD has asked Minister Jimmy Deenihan to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club for the 2011-12 season.

Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 207 - Answered on 21 June 2011

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will consider refusing this year’s application from a club (details supplied) for a licence to net hares for the 2011 to 2012 season of enclosed hare coursing or to at least add a number of new conditions to the licence that will eliminate much of the unnecessary suffering to which hares are subjected during the netting phase of the coursing process.

Written Answer. Ref No: 16193/11

Jimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael): My Department has received an application under the Wildlife Acts from the organisation in question on behalf of its affiliated clubs to facilitate the tagging and the capture of hares in relation to the holding of coursing meetings for the coming 2011/2012 season. The application is under consideration and a decision will be made as soon as possible

03. Ireland's largest online bookstore removes bullfight book

ICABS has thanked - Ireland's largest online bookstore - for removing a bullfighting book from sale. In our appeal to the company, we highlighted that "How to Watch a Bullfight" endeavours to attract readers to bullrings where bulls suffer the most horrendous end.

"Please be assured that Kennys in no way condone animal cruelty," a company spokesperson responded, confirming the removal of the book.

A big thumbs up to Kennys for this compassionate move. Visit their website at

04. Ask Easons to stop selling bullfight book

Please ask Easons, BooksUnlimited and your local book shops to follow the good example of and reject "How to Watch a Bullfight".

The book celebrates one of the world's worst forms of animal cruelty and endeavours to attract readers to the blood-drenched hellholes where bulls suffer the most horrendous end.


Please ask Easons, BooksUnlimited and your local book shops to reject "How to Watch a Bullfight".

Eason & Son Ltd
40 Lower O’Connell Street,
Dublin 1,
Phone: (01) 858 3800

BooksUnlimited Office
Northside Shopping Centre
Coolock, Dublin 17
Phone: (01) 847 9740

(If you have time, please compose your own personal, polite letter.)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to appeal to you to please stop selling "How to Watch a Bullfight", a book that celebrates one of the world's worst forms of animal cruelty and endeavours to attract readers to the blood-drenched hellholes where bulls suffer the most horrendous end.

I have watched online videos of bullfighting and I can tell you that bullfights involve the slow, merciless torture to death of bulls. They are firstly stabbed in the back with long lances - the lances penetrate through their skin and painfully tear into their flesh. They are then stabbed with six spiked spears which hang from their bleeding bodies. The bulls are in agony and suffering from severe pain, blood loss and exhaustion when the matador arrives. He goads each bull and plunges a sword between its shoulder blades and into its heart. The bull collapses and its ears and tail are sliced off with a dagger - sometimes while the animal is still alive.

If someone did to a bull in Ireland what is done to bulls in Spain, they would be arrested and prosecuted for extreme cruelty to animal. It is very regrettable that you are endeavouring to profit from a book that celebrates this disgusting barbarity.

I appeal to your sense of compassion to reject this book and withdraw it from sale.

Thank you very much. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours faithfully,


05. PR Association criticised for shortlist praise

The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) has been criticised for applauding "all" those shortlisted for a PR Excellence award and for saying they "can afford to be proud." ICABS has expressed disgust at the statement, pointing out that an animal cruelty campaign was on the shortlist.

The association's website proclaims: "Congratulations to all our 2011 winners, who received their Award at the Conrad Hotel on 17 June. And well done too to everyone who made this year's very competitive shortlist - you can afford to be proud. Now in its 18th year, the PR Awards for Excellence reflect the scale and diversity of the great work being done the length and breadth of Ireland and we look forward to seeing the results of more great campaigns next year."

In an email to PRCA Chairman, Laurie Mannix, we stated: "Given that one of those shortlisted was a campaign that defended some of Ireland's most disgusting cruelty to animals, it is indeed regrettable that the PRCA deems it appropriate to make this statement. Those who defend activities such as foxhunting, deerhunting and hare coursing should feel not pride but absolute shame."

"It reflects very poorly on the PRCA - an association purportedly concerned with 'public relations' - that the stance adopted in relation to animal cruelty is so out of step with public opinion in Ireland," we added. "Opinion polls show that a majority here want blood sports and other forms of animal abuse outlawed."

The PRCA co-hosted the Awards for Excellence in Public Relations 2011 at which the RISE cruelty campaign did not win an award.

Thanks to all the individuals and groups who joined us in complaining about the inclusion of RISE on the shortlist.


Ask the Public Relations Consultants Association to clarify its stance on animal cruelty.

Laurie Mannix
Public Relations Consultants Association
8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: (01) 661 8004
Fax: (01) 676 4562

06. ICABS highlighted cruelty to awards sponsors

ICABS contacted the three main sponsors of the "Awards for Excellence in PR" to highlight the animal cruelty defended by the shortlisted RISE campaign. We urged Supervalu, RR Donnelley and Fennell Photography to support our call for RISE to be removed from the shortlist.

RISE regrettably remained on the list but thankfully did not receive an award.

07. Connolly's Red Mills and "country pursuits"

An article in the Summer 2011 edition of pro-bloodsports magazine, Countrysports and Country Life, has reported that "the Connolly family has a long association with country pursuits and are actively involved at present."

The hunting and shooting magazine highlights a new Connolly's Red Mills "Country Dog Food" range, quoting the company as saying "whether it's walking, flushing, pointing or setting, it will give your dogs just what they need."

Red Mills, which also produce pet food such as Leader, Winner and Super Premium Cat, has been previously criticised by ICABS over its association with the cruel blood sport of hare coursing.

Despite assuring us that they had "very strict policies against associating our brand with such sports [as hare coursing]", an advert for Red Mills appeared in the booklet for the Thurles and District Coursing Club meeting last year.

In addition, the company was a "sponsor of the presentation sheets" at the Edenderry coursing meeting and also advertised in the club's booklet. According to a report on a coursing website, one of the events at the Tipperary and District Coursing Meeting in February 2010 was the "Red Mills All Age Cup". At a coursing meeting in Templetuohy in January, one of the events listed was the Red Mills All Age Bitch Stake.


If Red Mills' association with "country pursuits" would make you choose an alternative brand of pet food, please contact the company now.

Mr Michael Connolly
International Business Director
Red Mills
Co Kilkenny
Tel: +353-(0)599775800
Fax: +353-(0)599775378

08. Ban on circus wild animals a step closer in England

An end to the use of wild animals in English circuses may be in sight after MPs gave their backing to a ban. Tory MP, Mark Pritchard's motion was this month approved in the House of Commons in a move hailed by the RSPCA as a "massive step forward" for animal welfare.

"We hope that this vote is the start of a new era for the tigers, lions and other magnificent animals forced to endure circus life, whose welfare needs have been ignored for far too long," spokesperson Dr Ros Clubb said.

Animal Defenders International spokesperson, Jan Creamer added: "The public demands a ban, animal welfare groups demand a ban and now politicians have made it abundantly clear that they demand a ban."

Quoted on the BBC News website, Mark Pritchard MP outlined how he was "threatened" by No 10 Downing Street and told the prime minister would look upon it "dimly" if he pressed ahead with the anti-circus debate.

But undeterred, the debate proceeded and the proposed ban received unanimous support from MPs of all parties.

Mr Pritchard described the use of wild animals as cruel and outdated - comparing it to outlawed practices such as dog-fighting and badger-baiting - and insisted that the UK should "lead not lag the world" in animal welfare.

He argued there was overwhelming public support for a ban and more than 200 MPs supported the move.


1. Send a message of congratulations to Mark Pritchard - - and encourage him to keep pushing until the ban becomes a reality.

2. Contact all your local TDs and ask them to support legislation banning the use of wild animals in circuses in Ireland.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses at

09. ICABS Mobile Website

Catch up with ICABS campaigns on your mobile phone or internet-enabled device

Newly added: Action Alerts page. Please spare a few minutes to respond to our action alerts during your coffee break or while on the bus.

10. Death of devoted animal campaigner, Anne Fitzgerald

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports was saddened to learn of the untimely death of Anne Fitzgerald, a deeply compassionate and caring individual who was devoted to animal rescue and protection. Anne, who worked with the Cork Animal Care Society, will be sadly missed by all those who knew and loved her.

Her selfless care and devotion to animals was legendary, and her death will leave a huge void in the animal welfare and activist community.

Anne was a great campaigner on all animal welfare issues, and attended many anti-blood sports protests. Last October, she travelled all the way from Cork to Edenderry in Co Offaly to take part in an ICABS/ARAN protest against coursing. She was truly committed to abolishing cruelty to animals and making this planet a better place for them.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to her loving family and friends at this very sad time.

Ni beidh a leitheid aris ann. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

Tributes to Anne

"Anne's deep and abiding Love for animals knew no bounds. Her compassion to all those creatures that share our planet with us reached out and touched any creature that needed her. In Anne's case it can be said that she went the extra mile, if that is what it took to save a life." Albert Kleyn, Chairman, Cork Animal Care Society

"Anne was an extremely dedicated and active member of the Cork Animal Care Society who devoted her life to helping animals and specifically cats...For those who knew Anne, she was on the front lines at any chance she could in order to help expose the ugly face of animal abuse. There was never a time I can remember where she would not go out of her way to attend our demonstrations for the animals." John Carmody, Animal Rights Action Network

"The world of rescue in Ireland has lost one of its most compassionate members today." East Galway Animal Rescue

11. Sharon Ni Bheolain backs spaying/neutering campaign

Sharon collars her pet cause
Irish Independent, May 28 2011

RTE news anchor Sharon Ni Bheolain is backing a campaign to neuter dogs because of the large numbers of unwanted pets put down every year.

Last year saw the shocking destruction of 5,296 unwanted dogs.

However, the figures for 2010 were a marked improvement on the year before when almost a third more dogs were put down.

"One in three dogs who go through the pound system will not make it out alive," said Ni Bheolain.

She was speaking at the launch of Spay Ireland 2011 in Dublin yesterday.

Ireland remains one of the worst offenders in Europe when it comes to disposing of unwanted pets.

12. Protect dogs in hot weather

(From the ISPCA website)

Caring for animals in hot weather is important. Please read the following important points to ensure that your pet is not in danger from the heat.

All animals need a constant supply of fresh drinking water.

Dogs have no sweat glands and can only lose heat by panting. Make sure they have plenty of water to help them cool down. Check and fill their water bowl regularly

Don't exercise dogs in the heat of the day. First thing in the morning, late afternoon or evenings are the best times.

Watch for warning signs. If your dog pants quickly, looks very tired or collapses, it could be suffering from heat stroke. Put it in a cool, shady spot and spray the back of its neck with cold water immediately. Contact a vet for further advice.

Please remember never leave an animal alone in a car in warm or sunny weather, even in the shade or with the window partly opened, temperatures soon soar.

13. Animal lover, Louis Walsh, speaks out against greyhound racing

Dogs are not machines
Louis Walsh adds name to celebrity campaign to stop Chinese greyhound tracks
Irish Daily Mail, May 13, 2011

by Eva Marie Gibney

Louis Walsh has criticised the treatment of greyhounds in China and a state agency's plans to develop racetracks there. The animal lover said his friend Linda Martin had made him aware some time ago of the 'torturous conditions' the animals are subjected to in the racing industry. The pop mogul said yesterday: 'It's an issue that's very close to my heart. I'm an animal lover. I can't help it. I love animals, and any sport that subjects animals to such torturous conditions is a sport that I cannot support.'

His comments come following the Irish Greyhound Board's announcement that it plans to develop greyhound racing links in China with a view to developing and managing racetracks in the country. The announcement came after the Department of Agriculture blocked plans by IGB to export Irish greyhounds to China for racing.

'We just don't know how they're being treated over there but there are reports of awful cases of cruelty towards the dogs and that is something which I feel strongly should be stopped,' Walsh said.

'It was Linda Martin who initially said it to me about the cruel treatment of greyhounds and I was appalled.'

'I'm all for the exportation of Irish goods, but not at the cost of a poor animal who will be mistreated and harmed over there. It must be stopped.'

Walsh has also lent his support to a campaign by Irish celebrities to stop the attempts by IGB to develop Chinese racetracks.

His name appeared alongside a host of other celebrities in a letter to the Irish Times this week supporting the ban on exporting greyhounds to China.

In the letter, actor Brendan Gleeson, singer Imelda May and accordionist Sharon Shannon cited 'well-documented' evidence of cruelty, which included 'evidence of dogs and cats being thrown alive into boiling water and then skinned alive, to eventually end up for sale in open markets.'

Andrea Corr, Damien Dempsey, Paul Brady, Christy Moore, Mary and Francis Black, Damien Rice, Louis Copeland and DJ Ian Dempsey were among the 37 celebrities who added their names to the cause.

The letter stated that: '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.'

It added: '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.' They described it as a 'sinister' move.

John Carmody of the Animal Rights Action Network Ireland yesterday called on the chief executive of IGB, Adrian Neilan, to step down.

He told the Mail: 'I have never heard of such a disgusting and twisted business plan.'

14. National March for Animals in October

The Animal Rights Action Network has announced Sunday, October 30th 2011 as the date for its 'Have a Heart for Animals' national march and rally.

Says spokesperson John Carmody: "This year, our march and rally promises to be even bigger and better than previous years -and of course with lots of positive changes. We plan on having an extended march route, which will take us down through Dublin's vibrant O'Connell Street and on through the city centre, to be watched by many thousands of onlookers."

The event will include presentations from speakers from various campaign groups who will update attendees on efforts to bring in new legislation to protect Irish animals from cruelty.

When: Sunday, October 30th, 2pm sharp (runs until around 5pm)
Meet at: Garden of Remembrance, O'Connell Street, Dublin.

15. New Banner: Call for a ban on blood sports

Click on "Links" at to see our latest online banner.

The banner asks people to "Call for a ban on blood sports" before displaying the phone numbers for the Dail and Seanad - 1890 Deputy (1890 337 889) and 1890 Seanad (1890 732 623) (or 01 618 3000 if calling from within the Dublin area).

Please display our banner on your website or blog. Thank you.

16. Man's dogs killed and ate puppy

Irish Examiner, June 11, 2011
By Claire O'Brien

A man whose dogs killed and ate his girlfriend's nine-month-old puppy has been banned from ever owning more than one dog.

Wesley Rooney of 12A Carra Vale, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty to six counts of having no licence for the six dogs found on his premises when gardai received a report that a child had been attacked in his garden on February 26.

However, when Garda Tomas Blake arrived he found three of Rooney's six dogs eating his girlfriend's long-haired fox terrier.

Rooney told Mullingar District Court that the pup was normally kept in the house and they'd forgotten to bring in the house pet.

He said he feeds his dogs on meat scraps from the butchers and some were used for hunting rabbits.

Garda Blake said it was not the first time he'd been called to the house because of problems with the dogs in an estate where there are many children.

Judge Seamus Hughes described photos of the injuries to the pup as horrific.

He adjourned the case until July 8 for Rooney to facilitate the dog warden in removing three of his four dogs, and to save Eur500 for the ISPCA.

17. Deer hunter sentenced over teacher's death

from The Dominion Post (New Zealand), 2nd February 2011

A Hamilton man who shot and killed a Lower Hutt woman as she brushed her teeth at a Conservation Department campground near Turangi last year has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail.

In the High Court at Rotorua this afternoon, Justice Priestly sentenced Andrew Mears, 25, of Hamilton, to two and a half years in jail, as well as $10,000 reparation for the death of Lower Hutt teacher Rosemary Ives, 25.

Mears pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Taupo District Court in December.

Mears had been illegally spotlighting deer with friends from the back of a ute [utility vehicle] near the Kaimanawa Forest Park campground on October 22.

He had mistakenly identified the headlight worn by Miss Ives as the eyes of a deer and shot her in the head at a distance between 15 and 26 metres.

Justice John Priestley told Mears he had "failed to exercise the judgement and commonsense" of a responsible hunter and his actions were of "sheer carelessness and stupidity."

"A much-loved young woman and talented teacher was killed by your stupidity," he said.

Mears had breached his hunting permit conditions by shooting at night in a public park and had failed to identify his target.

Mears ignored basic shooting rules and had "absolutely no idea" what was in the firing zone, he said.

It is the first time a person has been convicted of manslaughter for a hunting homicide in New Zealand, Justice Priestley said.

Home detention was not an appropriate sentence because of the seriousness of the offending.

Mears was given credit for an early guilty plea and genuine remorse and an offer to pay $10,000 to the victim's family was "reluctantly accepted" by the Ives.

They intend to donate the money to a charity.

Holding a sprig of rosemary and displaying a photograph of her daughter, Miss Ives' mother, Margaret McFarlane, delivered an emotion-charged victim impact statement. She spoke of the excruciating pain she had experienced at the loss of her firstborn, describing her as her soul mate.

She roundly criticised a justice system that did not allow for Mears' associates to be charged in relation to her daughter's death and slammed the screening of a television programme in which Mears appeared without Miss Ives' family's knowledge or approval.

She also slammed the need for a post-mortem examination of her daughter's body when the cause of her death was obvious, calling the autopsy an "unacceptable desecration" of her daughter's body.

With her daughter's death New Zealand had lost the country's first Montessori-trained secondary teacher. A secondary teacher herself, Mrs McFarlane said she could no longer continue her career and her husband was on leave without pay while helping support her in her grief.

In his victim impact statement, Miss Ives' partner Adam Hyndman, who was with her when she was shot, said her death had not been some unlucky accident.

Neither Mears nor his three associates had returned to help him and others who attempted to resuscitate Miss Ives with CPR.

He had endured seeing her die before him and continued to see images every day of her face torn apart by Mears' bullet.

"She was a joyous woman, so filled with life, our home has become an empty house," Mr Hyndman said.

Defence lawyer Roger Laybourn submitted home detention would be an appropriate sentence and not a "soft option".

Mears had fully accepted responsibility for killing Miss Ives and had apologised to her family through counsel and the media in a public expression of remorse.

It was unfortunate there had been a communication breakdown, meaning her family had not known Mears was to appear on national television. He had appeared on it not only to express his remorse but so his actions could become a deterrent to other hunters.

Mr Laybourn noted the victim's family had not been willing to participate in a restorative justice conference.

18. Campaign Quotes

"I negotiated with Fine Gael in the run up to the wildlife act amendment banning carted stag hunting, which was introduced by the Greens, to repeal that amendment when in government. I received a firm commitment on this issue in writing from the Leader's Office...Well, Fine Gael is now in government and the first thing we expect as a matter of some urgency is for them to make good on this commitment." Des Crofton, NARGC, Irish Countrysports and Country Life magazine, Summer 2011

"Guinness is synonymous with Ireland in the way the Royal Family is with London and bullfighting is with Spain" Sean McCrave, chief executive of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (, Irish Independent, May 26 2011. ICABS has pointed out to the IAPI that a majority of Spaniards are against bullfighting and that associating bullfighting with the country is now considered outdated and offensive.

"Speaking after the awards ceremony, Liam Cahill [RISE campaign] said: 'It would have been good to have won an award...'" From a report on a point-to-point website which noted that RISE didn't win a PR award.

One leaked cable reveals how former minister and current Fianna Fail vice-president Mary Hanafin briefed the American Embassy on tense ongoing coalition negotiations. The word "PROTECT" appears beside her name in the cable, meaning her identity and/or her comments were not to be made public. Ms Hanafin last night confirmed she gave the briefing at the behest of US Ambassador Dan Rooney. According to the dispatch, Ms Hanafin made a number of derogatory comments about her Green Party coalition partners. "She said she had the impression that, if some of the Greens had their way, the Programme for Government would emphasize 'hares, stags and badgers while everyone else in the country is drowning in this economy'," Ambassador Rooney told Washington in the cable. Ms Hanafin refused to say last night if she stood over the remarks attributed to her. From WikiLeaks: How the USA got access to Ireland's secrets, Irish Independent, May 31 2011

A quiet street has become the centre of an animal rights row after "marksmen" were called in to shoot foxes. Residents near Talacre Park in Kentish Town staged a protest after a neighbour used a pest controller to cull urban foxes that had been digging holes in his garden...Karen Heath, who runs Camden-based animal organisation The Mama Cat Trust, posted leaflets through his neighbours' doors in a bid to halt the killing after she saw foxes being trapped in the garden. She said: "I was so upset when I saw a trap in his garden with a baby cub trapped in it. It was in great distress. "I begged him to let me deal with the problem for free in a humane way. I offered to cancel my animal rescue trip to help him but he wasn't interested. From "Cruelty claim as Kentish Town resident arranges fox shootings", Camden New Journal, 2nd June 2011

"A cruel dog breeder disposed of dead puppies by putting them through a mincer, it was claimed at a court hearing. Shamed Henry Williamson pleaded guilty to six charges of causing unnecessary suffering to puppies and dogs. The case has horrified the animal cruelty inspectors who have described Williamson as callous and savage. Lisburn City Council said the cruelty case was one of most serious its dog wardens have ever witnessed. Stephen Philpott of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) told how he saw "blood, guts and animal fur" in a mincer at Williamson's filthy premises and also believes still-born pups were fed to ferrets at the site." Irish Independent, June 27 2011

"This is not a time for hunting, shooting, fishing groups to be complacent. There is still much to be done to defend hunting and shooting from the many threats which come from every direction." Des Crofton, NARGC, Irish Countrysports and Country Life magazine, Summer 2011

19. Letters to Editors

Foxes should be spared countryside cruelty
Irish Independent, May 28 2011

While urban living may pose hazards for young foxes in terms of heavy road traffic (Irish Independent, May 27), the countryside is certainly no rustic idyll for these vulnerable creatures. Masquerading as pest control, thousands of foxes are shot, snared, trapped and hunted with dogs in this country, despite the fact that there is no evidence to show that they are a significant threat to agriculture.

Indeed, eminent zoologist Professor James Fairley has stated that "many allegations of lamb killing (by foxes) are based on insufficient or even nonexistent evidence". Foxes are afforded little or no protection under our inadequate animal welfare laws. Shockingly, it's even legal to dig out foxes from their earths. This barbarism involves so-called terriermen pitting their dogs against foxes in underground battles. This small, wild canine deserves, at the very least, legal protection from this horrific cruelty.

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

Our record on animal welfare still shameful
Irish Independent, June 28 2011

The use of wild animals to entertain in circuses will be outlawed thanks to the recent legalisation passed in the British parliament.

For the sake of the thousands of animals used for this so-called "entertainment" throughout the world, I hope that other countries will endorse this compassionate move, and let these animals live out their lives in the wild where they belong.

Ireland, of course, lags well behind civilised countries in the field of animal welfare.

Being recognised abroad as the "puppy farm capital of Europe" and the recent worldwide negative press on the plight of Irish horses and greyhounds has done little to contradict our shameful but well-deserved reputation.

Eila Moloney
Rossa Avenue, Limerick

Irish are shameful in care of our animals
Irish Independent, June 30 2011

I am writing to endorse the sentiments expressed in the letter by E Moloney (June 28).

The successful ban in the UK of the use of wild animals in circuses is surely an act of compassion that should be applauded by anyone who has witnessed first hand the cruelty and abuse inflicted on these defenceless creatures.

When one considers the abysmal existence and suffering of millions of animals throughout our planet we surely do not deserve to be called the most evolved of the species.

We Irish in particular are shameful in our care and regard for our animals.

Catherine O'Brien
Finglas, Dublin 11

RISE campaign of misleading PR
Meath Chronicle, 15th June, 2011

Dear sir - The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports is shocked and baffled at the nomination of pro-blood sports lobby group RISE (Rural Ireland Says Enough) for a major PR award.

RISE has been shortlisted in the Public Relations Institute of Ireland's 2011 list of PR Awards for Excellence. We object to RISE being shortlisted, not just because it promotes blood sports, but because it has in our view misrepresented the true nature of these activities in its campaign leading up to the Dail vote on the bill to ban carted stag hunting. For example, it claimed erroneously, and repeatedly, that the deer used in the carted stag hunt did not suffer as a result of the chase, and that the activity posed no risk whatsoever to road users, both of which claims were utterly false and easily refuted.

Furthermore, we believe RISE does not deserve the award for the very obvious reason that it failed in its primary objective, which was to prevent the passage of the staghunt ban. This setback for the group was not the final nail in its coffin: that came later when its attempt to have the staghunt ban overturned was decisively rebuffed.

It claimed to have a commitment from Fine Gael that in government the party would repeal the ban. But when the agreed Programme for Government was published, there was no mention in it of any such pledge or intention, and then the Labour Party made it clear that it would not support any such move to reinstate carted stag hunting.

The highpoint of the RISE campaign was when it mustered supporters from around the country to picket last year's Green Party Convention.

We would therefore argue that RISE's CV is one of failure and not achievement, and is marred by the group's deployment of misinformation to drive home its message that blood sports are humane and ethically defensible activities. There are many excellent media savvy voluntary groups in Ireland that are, we would suggest, more deserving of a PR award than a set of people who seem to think it's okay to cruelly kill wild creatures, or frighten the living daylights out of them, for fun.

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

Cruelty group shortlisted for award
The Irish World newspaper
14 June 2011

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is absolutely shocked and horrified to learn that the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) has short-listed the RISE campaign (set up last year to campaign against the ban on the Ward Union deer hunt with dogs) for an excellence in public relations award.

Surely the Public Relations Institute should have its finger on the pulse in terms of public attitudes to cruelty to animals, and not be seen to honour or condone those promoting cruel blood sports activities irrespective of how "slick" their campaign might appear.

In the event, thankfully, the RISE campaign, despite being well funded by those involved in the Ward Union hunt, did not succeed and their barbaric deer hunt has been consigned to history.

The presence of RISE on the awards shortlist is an insult to all the dedicated and hardworking animal welfare groups who campaigned tirelessly for many years, on a voluntary basis, for an end to this cruel hunt. Moreover, and most importantly, it shows total disregard by these PR gurus for the suffering of vulnerable animals.

In correspondence to PRII CEO Gerry Davis, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports challenged the short-listing of RISE on the grounds that it drew criticism for spreading misinformation and for disrespect shown by supporters towards elected public representatives (both forbidden under PRII codes of conduct)..

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has launched a campaign video - - in which we highlight the animal cruelty defended by RISE. A link to the video has been sent to all members of the PRII's National Council.

We believe that RISE should be eliminated from the PR Institute's shortlist, not only because it defended some of Ireland's worst animal cruelty (foxhunting, coursing and the now banned Ward Union deer hunt) but also due to the disrespect shown during the campaign to elected public representatives and to the criticism it received for spreading misinformation and untruths.

Aideen Yourell,
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Don't blame slug for road plan delay
Irish Examiner, June 30, 2011

YOUR report of last week's meeting of Kerry County Council treated us to a re-run of the 'environmentalist and the snail' story (Snail blamed for delays to Cork-Kerry road plan, June 22). We were told a judicial review on behalf of the snail by "environmentalists" was holding up the road.

The judicial review that is currently delaying the road has been taken by residents near Carrigaphooca Castle. The grounds are an error in law relating to the assessment of the impact, the failure of the OPW (who own the castle on our behalf) to make a submission, and rights of way. It has nothing to do with the protected Kerry slug.

A survey was finally triggered at the planning stage by environmentalists' whistle blowing in Brussels. The survey revealed that this area of the woodland was as worthy of protection as the other side of the road, which was designated as an SAC under the Habitats Directive in the late 1990's.

If the boundaries had been done on scientific grounds from the outset, the snail issue would never have arisen, because the woodland and gorge where it lived would have been protected and the route would have avoided the area from the outset. Ironically, neither the Kerry slug nor the castle need have caused any delay to the Macroom bypass, which is rightly at the heart of the intense local pressure to build this road. The castle is six kilometres from Macroom and the snail more than twice that. The Macroom bypass is actually part of the planned Cork-Killarney dual carriageway. If the council had settled for a bypass alone it could have been build years ago. In fact, the appeals board inspector recommended against the road widening to the west because the volume of traffic drops so drastically after Macroom.

The Kerry slug can be easily identified because it is the only slug that curls into a ball when poked. One can hardly blame it, given the angry councillors roaming the countryside.

Tony Lowes
Friends of the Irish Environment
Eyeries, Co Cork

20. 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
Save the Saddest Dolphins
End Dog Racing on Macau: Nearly 400 Dogs Killed Every Year
Demand Protection for the Danube Delta Wild Horses!

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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