Animal Voice: Issue 10, October 2011
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this month's edition:

01. Former ICABS vice-chairman is Ireland's 9th President
02. Deer hunt "will be back" - Minister for State Shane McEntee
03. Adidas asked to scrap bullring ad
04. Vote for ICABS in video award contest
05. New Tony Gregory book published
06. Larsen traps removed from Mr Middleton website
08. 3 Euro for killing a mink
09. New campaign video: Make foxhunting a thing of the past
10. Animals and the Presidential Election
11. 50 Euro fine for owner of animals found "eating at fence posts due to hunger"
12. Kerry blow-torch trap horror
13. Ask students union to stop cruel eating of live fish
14. Carlow men convicted of trapping wild birds
15. Maximum fine for illegal hare coursing
16. Farmer fined for using illegal trap
17. Urge Minister Coveney to stop licensing fur farms
18. ICABS response to matador goring
19. Meet the bull saved from bullfighting cruelty
20. Penela becomes anti-bullfight city
21. Bullfighting barbarity condemned in TLS
22. Campaign Quotes
23. Letters to Editors
24. Petitions

01. Former ICABS vice-chairman is Ireland's 9th President

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports congratulates Michael D Higgins who will become the 9th President of Ireland. Michael is a former vice-chairperson of ICABS.

During the presidential campaign, his team issued a statement to remind voters that "Michael D Higgins has a long track record of commitment to the campaign against bloodsports."

ICABS is delighted that the new President is anti-bloodsports. We wish him well in his Presidency.

QUOTES: Michael D Higgins and Blood Sports

"I must say it is absolutely outrageous to suggest that I and any Member of the Labour Party are in favour of cruelty to animals or bloodsports." Comment made during a debate on the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 which banned the Ward Union staghunt, 24 June 2010. Michael D Higgins spoke out against the bill that banned the Ward Union hunt but absented himself from the final vote on medical grounds.

"Michael D Higgins has a long track record of commitment to the campaign against bloodsports." Michael D Higgins Campaign Team, Oct 24, 2011

02. Deer hunt "will be back" - Minister for State Shane McEntee

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is deeply concerned at a statement from Minister for State, Dept. of Agriculture, Shane McEntee, that "the time is coming shortly when the Ward Union will be back under the legislation introduced by Michael D. Higgins in 1996." His remarks came during a Senate debate on the Greyhound Welfare Bill on October 25th, 2011.

The cruel Ward Union deer hunt was banned in the summer of 2010, after a 20-year campaign by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports and other animal welfare groups. Fine Gael, in their election manifesto, stated that they would reverse the ban on the hunt, but Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is on public record as stating that Labour would not support this.

We call on the Labour Party to trenchantly resist all moves by Fine Gael to reinstate this cruel hunt, whereby a vulnerable deer is brought out into the Meath countryside and hounded around by a pack of dogs, followed by riders on horseback, leaving it at risk of injury and even death.

We know from official National Parks monitoring reports on this hunt that deer have died from choking, drowning, motor accidents, and aneurisms from the stress of the chase. The hunt also posed a clear risk to motorists with deer being chased along roads and into the paths of vehicles.

It would be an utterly shameful move for Fine Gael to reverse the widely welcomed ban on the Ward Union deer hunt. Ireland's record in legislating against cruelty to animals is dismal, and were it not for the Green Party, a ban on the Ward Union would not have been achieved. We now lag far behind our neighbours in Northern Ireland who, back in 1997, stopped the County Down deer hunt and recently banned hare coursing.

Update: Please see "Hunting lobby to press FG on promise to lift stag hunt ban"
(Irish Times, November 4th, 2011)


Please contact Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, and urge him to halt any attempt by Fine Gael to reverse the Ward Union ban.

Eamon Gilmore TD
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade
Dail Eireann, Dublin 2

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

Contact Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, and demand that he keeps the Ward Union ban in place.

Enda Kenny, An Taoiseach
Department of the Taoiseach
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01-619 4020 / 619 4021 / 619 4043
Fax: 01-6764048

We need as many people as possible to urgently contact TDs all around Ireland, asking them to block any attempt to bring back the Ward Union.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

03. Adidas asked to scrap bullring ad

ICABS has joined calls on Adidas to drop a bullfighting-themed advert which shows a basketball player in a bullring with matadors.

The ad, which was filmed in the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, can be viewed below

A strong complaint has also been made to the company about a "matador-inspired" Adidas track top and shorts.

The Torero Superstar Track Top "fuses the legendary track jacket style of the Adidas Superstar with the matador's flamboyant 'suit of lights'" while the Adidas Torero Shorts are "inspired by the flamboyant style of the matador's 'suit of lights'" and contain "matador-inspired embroidery, tassels, sequins and crystals".

In an email to the Adidas head office, ICABS stated: "We wish to express our great disappointment and disgust at your new bullfighting-themed commercial which shows a basketball player in a bullring. It is absolutely incredible that Adidas would jeopardise its international image by associating with bullfighting - one of the world's most horrendous acts of cruelty. It is also extremely surprising that your company would deem it appropriate to produce and market 'matador-inspired' products."

"Surely Adidas is aware of the fact that bullfighting is opposed by a majority of people around the world, most of whom would surely share our view that using an animal cruelty theme in a marketing campaign is in very poor taste indeed," we added.


The International Movement Against Bullfights ( asks you to urgently contact Adidas and demand that they scrap the offensive advert and product range. If the bullring ad prompts you to boycott all Adidas products, please make this clear in your correspondence.

Email Adidas Now:,,,,,,,

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am one of the majority of citizens in Europe and around the world opposed to bullfighting. I am contacting you to strongly complain about the Adidas bullfight-themed advert which features a basketball player in a bullring.

Using an animal cruelty theme to market an Adidas product is in very poor taste and is likely to alienate the millions of people around the world who view bullfighting as unacceptable.

I also wish to register my disbelief that Adidas has produced "matador-inspired" track tops and shorts.

Considering the violence and cruelty of matadors, it is incredible that you would choose these despicable characters as inspiration for Adidas products.

Please disassociate from bullfighting and immediately drop the offensive marketing campaign and product range.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,


04. Vote for ICABS in video award contest

Please cast a 5 star vote for our "Make foxhunting a thing of the past" campaign video in the Better Together awards 2011. Help us win the 3,000 Euro prize for campaigning activities. According to the rules, you may vote once every day up until November 11th.

Vote now by clicking on the 5 stars at:

After voting, you may, if you wish, make a donation to ICABS from the voting page. The entrant with the greatest number of donations will win a 10,000 Euro prize.

We would be grateful if you could tell all your friends to vote and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thank you.

05. New Tony Gregory book published

A new book about former ICABS vice-president, the late Tony Gregory TD, has just been published by O'Brien Press.

According to the publisher: "This is the biography of a true Irish political legend. As harsh economic times return to Ireland, it is time to celebrate this inspirational Irishman who made his name as a grass-roots community activist and went on to hold the balance of power in Ireland. Tony Gregory's political life has left an exceptional legacy."

The book by Robbie Gilligan - a Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin - covers Tony's career "from local agitator to elected politician, and the campaigns from 1978-2009".

"Tony Gregory", 256 pages, O'Brien Press Ltd (10 Oct 2011), ISBN-10: 1847172261, ISBN-13: 978-1847172266

06. Larsen traps removed from Mr Middleton website

ICABS has welcomed the removal of cruel Larsen traps from the website of Dublin garden shop, Mr Middleton. The suffering caused to trapped birds was highlighted to the store as part of an ICABS appeal.

Thank you to everyone who supported our action alert.

You can find Mr Middleton at 58 Mary Street, Dublin 1 or check out their website at

Find out more about our campaign to secure a ban on Larsen traps - click on Campaigns at


08. 3 Euro for killing a mink

The Irish Independent (November 1st) has reported that Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan "has announced that he is about to introduce a bounty for dead mink".

The 1st November report claims that mink are "believed to be harming populations of native ground nesting birds and game birds" and that the 3 euro bounty per mink is expected to "increase the 5,000 mink being trapped or shot here every year by at least 10pc".

ICABS has expressed concern to Minister Deenihan about the move and the suffering that will undoubtedly be caused by mink hunters.

Last year, the then Environment Minister, John Gormley, outlined in a Dail reply that "mink found in the wild in Ireland are descended from animals that escaped from fur farms".

Minister Deenihan has been told about a National Parks and Wildlife Service-commissioned report which admitted that escapes from Ireland's mink fur farms would invalidate any attempt to eradicate feral populations.


Please join us in urging Minister Deenihan to prioritise the permanent closure of Ireland's mink fur farms instead of wasting taxpayers' money on a bounty scheme.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan
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

09. New campaign video: Make foxhunting a thing of the past

One day, foxhunting will be a thing of the past. Help us make history for Ireland's wildlife. Please support our campaign for a ban on foxhunting.

Watch our new campaign video now

Foxhunting involves many acts of cruelty, beginning with the killing of defenceless foxcubs at the start of the season. New hounds are brought to earths where they are introduced to the taste of fox blood and goaded into attacking the young foxes.

In the months that follow, countless foxes will be chased to exhaustion across the Irish countryside. When caught, they are knocked off their feet and brutally bitten and torn apart by the pack of hounds. Foxes that succeed in finding temporary refuge underground are dug out with spades and killed.

A ban on this cruel blood sport is long overdue. Please support our campaign now and help save Irish foxes from the horrors of hunting.


Opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want foxhunting made illegal. Make your voice heard. Demand a ban on this horrendous cruelty now.

Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please join us in appealing to the Minister for Agriculture to give wild animals the same protection that is given to domestic animals. Tell the Minister that since all animals are capable of suffering, all animals should be protected from cruelty. Urge the Minister to amend the Protection of Animals Act so that foxes and all wild creatures are protected from unnecessary cruelty.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Appeal to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs

Please also contact the Minister with responsibility for the Wildlife Act. Urge him to amend the Wildlife Act so that foxes are given full protection from the cruelty of hunting with hounds.

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

Tel: (01) 631 3802
Fax: (01) 661 1201

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to replace foxhunting with the humane alternative - drag hunting.

Drag hunting sees the hounds chasing an artificial lure instead of a live animal. This form of "hunting" is already practised successfully by a few groups in Ireland. In a modern and civilised country like Ireland, there should be no place for foxhunting, particularly when a transition to drag hunting would be simple.

We desperately need your help to convince the government that it is time to ban foxhunting. Please write to all of your local politicians and ask them to express their opposition to this blood sport.

If possible, get your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. We need as much help with this campaign as possible.

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Write to your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

10. Animals and the Presidential Election

Thank you to everyone who read and shared our "Presidential Election 2011" booklet. The booklet, which revealed the views of the candidates in relation to animal cruelty issues, was read over 1,000 times in the run-up to election day.

Readers were reminded that winning candidate, Michael D Higgins, is a former vice-chairperson of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.

You can see the booklet online 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. 50 Euro fine for owner of animals found "eating at fence posts due to hunger"

Source: ISPCA website,

A Sligo man was convicted on one count of animal cruelty at Sligo District Court. Two other charges were struck off on condition that James Patrick Curley pays a total of Eur1817.99 in costs to the ISPCA and a veterinary surgeon who attended the scene. In addition to the costs Judge Kevin Kilrane imposed a fine of Eur50.

Mr Curley of Cooga, Easkey, Co. Sligo was remanded in custody for three days in March of this year in relation to the same matter.

The case was instigated when ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley responded to a report by a concerned member of the public on 4th February 2010 in Loganima, Culleens, Co. Sligo. He discovered the carcass of a donkey, a further 8 donkeys in poor condition and 4 horses, one of which was thin.

Some animals also had hoof problems and skin conditions. There was no sign of a water source or of supplementary feeding. The animals had been chewing the bark from hedges and even eating at fence posts due to hunger.

Mr Curley was identified as the owner of the animals and he surrendered the 8 donkeys and one horse to the care of the ISPCA. The animals were removed with the assistance of the Sathya Sai Sanctuary. Unfortunately, one donkey was put to sleep on veterinary advice later that day while another two aborted foals at later dates.

Inspector McGinley said "It has been a long, slow process. We are glad that the case has now been finalised."

12. Kerry blow-torch trap horror

Thanks to the Joe Kennedy for highlighting the cruelty of Larsen traps in the Sunday Independent of October 23 2011...

In an act of time-delayed perversion, two youths had tied a cat by the leg to a peg embedded in sand several metres from the slowly encroaching tideline. As the sea advanced, the animal grew more frantic as it scrambled to stay ahead of the water. The youths lay on the strand, laughing and drinking beer. They had picked up the cat outside a house on their way to the beach.

A parallel narrative described a farmer's impatience with a sheepdog pup which was not reaching quickly enough the necessary requirements of flock husbandry.

The cat was slowly and pitifully drowned by the incoming sea. The farmer eventually threw the puppy over a cliff to its death on the rocks below.

When the author, John McGahern, once told me that this horrific story (titled Creatures of the Earth) had been earlier declined by an international magazine, I felt the theme could have been a deciding factor.

In Ireland, perhaps because we are closer to the earth, we seem at times to be inured to such matters. For my own part, in a lifetime of newspaper work, I had come upon as bad, and worse, in real life, and not necessarily from rural Ireland which by times gets the blame for every dog's dinner.

A horror story to equal anything from the creative imagination is revealed in an e-mail from ICAB, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports. The heading tells all: "Blow-torched birds prompt call for cruel trap ban".

Magpies, and some crows, had been caught in Larsen traps in Kerry and had been burned to death while imprisoned.

The original news story appeared in The Kerryman and was described as "one of the most sickening cases of animal cruelty ever seen in the county". A "barbaric gang" is blamed, and a local wildlife conservationist Mike Mitchell is quoted as saying: "They are simply getting a kick out of it ... by burning them alive ... This is psychopathic behaviour."

Larsen traps use a live decoy to attract other birds of its kind. They get curious and fall through a spring door. Their use has economic advantages in magpie and scald- crow culling.

Magpies, which have reached almost pest proportions, according to one prominent naturalist, get a bad press as predators of songbird eggs and nestlings. But this is the way of nature and in fact they will seek out and eat almost anything they can find.

Years ago, in this column, I wrote about the use of Larsen traps in magpie control -- where they might be located and how they could be made. There were complaints, and support. These birds were attractive and intelligent. They were also the "pimproll gangsters" of the hedgerows.

Now I am embarrassed at ICAB's generosity in quoting a supportive piece, rather than a negative one, from an early column. This related to the famous naturalist of a century ago, WH Hudson, who wrote of a caged magpie pushing scraps to a robin with a damaged beak which visited the prisoner daily.

The burning alive of any wild creature is a horrific business. ICAB has brought the incidents in Kerry to the attention of Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan.

It is also calling for a complete legal ban on Larsen traps which, incidentally, is the case in Denmark where they originated.

13. Ask students union to stop cruel eating of live fish

Please join us in calling on the National College of Ireland's Students Union to stop the cruel eating of live fish. According to RTE's Liveline show in October, students swallowed live goldfish as part of a horrific "Iron Stomach" event.

The National College of Ireland, who stressed that the event was organised by the Students' Union ("an entirely autonomous organisation run completely independently to the college") said in a statement:

* National College of Ireland has not and never would hold a competition for eating live goldfish or any of the other items that were reported to be involved. * We take this very, very seriously from both an animal welfare and a student welfare perspective and had we been notified, the matter would have been thoroughly investigated under the college's disciplinary procedures. Now that it's been brought to our attention we will certainly be launching a full investigation. * The college itself does not and would not condone anything that involved the eating of a live animal and would certainly have stepped in to prevent the event from taking place.

"NCI now calls on The Union of Students in Ireland to open a national dialogue with their members about what is appropriate for events organised by Students' Unions on all third level campuses," the statement added.

ICABS is disgusted to learn of this event which we believe breaches the Protection of Animals Act. In an email to the students union, we stated that "such cruelty reflects poorly on the National College of Ireland students union. We urge you to investigate this, take appropriate action and move to reassure people that events involving cruelty and killing will not form part of future Students Union events."


Please join us in urging the NCI Students Union to act to stop events involving cruelty and killing.

Peter McDonnell
Students Union President

Sent a copy of your correspondence to the Students Union of Ireland - - and ask them to convey to students unions around Ireland that animal cruelty is unacceptable.

14. Carlow Men Convicted of Trapping Wild Birds

Source: ISPCA

Two men were convicted of offences under the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended) at Carlow District Court after they pled guilty to illegally trapping protected wild birds. Paul Kelly and Martin Lannigan, both with addresses at Crossmeen, Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow were fined Eur500 each.

The case resulted from a raid on a property owned by Mr Lannigan on the 3rd February 2010. Gardai conducted a search under warrant and were assisted by members of the ISPCA Inspectorate.

In excess of 30 protected wild birds were discovered in captivity with some being employed as live lures in cage traps. Any birds which it was suspected were wild were initially seized but were set free the following day when a court order authorising their release was obtained.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling who attended the scene commented "It appeared to me that the birds were distressed and some had caused damage to their wings and faces from trying to escape through wire and bars".

15. Maximum fine for illegal hare coursing

The following report appeared in the Meath Chronicle of October 5th, 2011. ICABS congratulates the NPWS rangers involved in this successful prosecution and welcomes the maximum penalty imposed. However, many would agree that the NPWS should be working to stop all forms of coursing and stopping its own licensing of enclosed hare coursing which causes huge disturbance to the Irish Hare species and results in injuries and deaths...

Wildlife Service hails first illegal coursing convictions in county
Meath Chronicle, 5th October, 2011
by Paul Neilan

The first convictions for illegal hare coursing in the county has been hailed by the Parks and Wildlife District Officer.

Last Wednesday, 28th September, at Navan Court, three men pleaded guilty to coursing without a licence and were each fined the maximum Eur1,000 on two charges while a third resulted in the Probation Act being applied.

The conviction of the two Galway men and a Louth man for the offence at last February at Danestown, Balrath, is the first of its kind here, according to Dr Maurice Eakin of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is based at Kilcarn, Navan.

"This is the first case ever taken to the courts in our district (Meath, Louth and Dublin)," said Dr Eakin.

"Illegal coursing is particularly prevalent in the northern and middle parts of Meath and Louth, as the large, flat fields are perfect for the lurcher dogs.

"Getting all the evidence needed to prosecute is difficult and luck plays a big part. More often, we chase them around the countryside and, on one occasion, follow them to the border.

"This is first time I've ever heard of a judge imposing a maximum penalty for a wildlife crime. Illegal hare-coursing is considered to be one of the most grievous wildlife crimes by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)," he added.

Coursing is licensed under the Wildlife Acts (1976 and 2000) to the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) and, as a condition of this licensing system, hares netted for coursing are released back into the wild. Illegal coursing occurs when men with lurcher-type dogs hunt the hares in the open countryside. The hunt continues until the dog catches and kills the hare or the hare escapes.

"Local staff of NPWS were delighted to be able to assist An Gardai Siochana in bringing the present case against the three defendants to a successful prosecution outcome. They were particularly encouraged by the attitude of Judge Patrick McMahon and the imposition of heavy fines," said Dr Eakin.

16. Farmer fined for using illegal trap

The following report appeared in the Sligo Champion of October 12 2011...

A farmer who used a 25 year-old trap to try to catch grey crows because they were plucking the eyes out of his sheep and lambs didn't know it was illegal to do so, Sligo Court heard.

Michael Flatley, Aughris, Templeboy, said that while he was aware the traps were no longer available to buy, he was not aware that it was illegal for farmers to use them. Judge Kevin Kilrane was informed by defending solicitor, Ms. Deirdre Munnelly, that Flatley had " terrible problems" with grey crows and lost a number of sheep and lambs as a result of having to put them down.

He was prosecuted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment.

State Solicitor, Mr. Hugh Sheridan explained that the defendant had a trap which was not licensed and not capable of being licensed on his lands at Aughris on June 30th, 2010.

In a statement to Tim Roderick, District Conservation Officer, Flatley confirmed that the trap seized was his and had been in his possession for the best part of 25 years.

He set it on a fence pole and baited it with a rabbit with the intention of catching grey crows.

"The reason I set the trap was to control crows which have been harassing my sheep, taking the eyes out of my sheep when they are on their back. As a consequence of this, I have had to put down several of my sheep," Flatley said.

Ms Munnelly stated that the defendant had no idea it was illegal to have such a trap in his possession. He had placed it on a pole to keep it away from other animals and people.

Judge Kilrane fined Flatley Eur50 with Eur500 costs.

Note: ICABS has been told by the NPWS that the trap in question was a gin trap set on a fence post (often referred to as a pole trap). If you are aware of anyone possessing or using these illegal traps, please contact the NPWS now - Tel: 01-888 2000 or Email:

17. Urge Minister Coveney to stop licensing fur farms

Figures obtained by CIWF from the Central Statistics Office in Ireland show that, in 2009 141,301 mink pelts and 106 fox pelts were exported from the Republic of Ireland. From January to July 2010, 85,977 mink pelts and 675 fox pelts were exported.

Foxes and mink live a life of misery on fur farms. The foxes are electrocuted to death and the mink are gassed to death before their skins are ripped from their bones.

Mink farms in the Republic of Ireland are licensed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Fox fur farms require no licence.


Please email the Minister for Agriculture and appeal to him to make fur farming illegal in the Republic (as it already is in Northern Ireland)

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Witness the cruelty of fur farming in Ireland

18. ICABS response to matador goring

ICABS has little sympathy for the bullfighter gored at a bullfight in Zaragoza in October. This man engages regularly in the torture of animals for entertainment, so what can he expect? The terrified and enraged bull, in pain from being stabbed with lances and hooked spears embedded in its flesh, will try to ward off its torturers in the only way it can.

As for the audience screaming in horror at the incident, where is their sense of horror at the barbaric treatment of bovines in Spanish bullrings?

Thankfully the Spanish region of Catalonia has banned bullfighting. Let's hope that other regions of Spain will follow suit; and for those going on holidays to Spain, we appeal to them to stay away from the bullrings. Every visit by a tourist to a bullfight perpetuates the cruelty.

19. Meet the bull saved from bullfighting cruelty

Check out "Fadjen", a touching short film by Pablo Knudsen about a Spanish bull saved from certain suffering and death in a bullfighting arena.

The 14-minute documentary aims to shatter myths perpetrated by the bullfighting industry that bulls are aggressive and violent. It shows Fadjen relaxing in a field with his saviour, Christophe Thomas, going for a walk with him and hanging out with a pair of playful goats.

You can watch it below

20. Penela becomes anti-bullfight city

Thank you to everyone who contacted the authorities in Penela, Portugal to appeal for an end to bullfighting in the city.

Although the bullfight sadly went ahead on October 2nd (the first ever in Penela), the good news is that a motion calling for a ban on bullfighting in the city has been overwhelmingly approved. According to International Movement Against Bullfights, at a general assembly of the City Hall of Penela, the motion was passed with 21 votes in favour, 0 against and 1 abstention.

Congratulations to Penela on becoming the latest in a growing list of anti-bullfighting cities.

21. Bullfighting barbarity condemned in TLS

Extracts from a Times Literary Supplement review of a pro-bullfighting book entitled Into the Arena (29 September 2011). The full review by Mark Rowlands (author of The Philosopher and the Wolf and The New Science of the Mind) is well worth reading. You can find it at

"The moral case against bullfighting is straightforward: making an animal suffer unnecessarily is morally wrong. Opinions vary concerning when suffering qualifies as necessary, but it is widely accepted that suffering undergone in the name of entertainment is unnecessary. This is the primary justification for the banning, in much of the developed world, of a wide variety of blood sports, including, dog-fighting, cock-fighting, bear-baiting, bull-baiting, deer-coursing and fox-hunting."

"The World Society for the Protection of Animals estimates that around 40,000 bulls are killed each year in Spain's 600 bullrings and 3,200 bullfights. Around 210,000 bulls die annually in Latin American bullfights. There have, reportedly, been fifty-two matador deaths in the arena since 1700 - five matadors have died in the ring since the mid-1990s and some ten in the past fifty years. The ratio of dead bulls to dead bullfighters is generally understood to be several hundred thousand to one."

"Bullfighting has recently been banned in Catalonia, and has been banned in the Balearic Islands for some time. In Spain, recent surveys suggest that 70 per cent of the population are uninterested in the activity and, among people aged fifteen to twenty-four that figure climbs to 82 per cent. It is to be hoped that this is an indication that bullfighting will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of history, along with the other blood sports. No matter how much one tries to spin a narrative of heroism, culture, art, tradition; no matter how many ad hominem manoeuvres one makes, the truth is always the same. Bullfighting is the deliberate and gratuitous inflicting of suffering and, ultimately, death on a creature that is essentially helpless - done in the name of spectacle."

And finally, a quote from the book's author - Alexander Fiske-Harrison - in which he notes the similarities between bullfighters and psychopaths: "I cannot help but remember research done on bullfighters by the Madrid psychiatrist Jose Carrasco, finding much lower than average levels of monoamine oxidase, a similar neurochemical phenomenon being found in those members of the prison population who have been classified as clinical psychopaths."

ICABS NOTE: Incredibly, this pro-bullfighting book has been shortlisted in the William Hill "Sports" Book of the Year Awards 2011 - Please telephone a complaint to +44 020 8918 3600 or email William Hill at;;

22. Campaign Quotes

"450 foxes throughout the Republic of Ireland are to be tested for Trichinellosis over a 6 to 8 week period...Foxes are to be procured [i.e. shot dead] by the regional game council [i.e. shooting clubs] whom have kindly agreed to participate...The fox should be doubled bagged in black (to avoid confusion with the green bags used for badgers) heavy-duty black plastic bags and the ends tied tightly. Please only put one fox in each set of bags. Make sure that one form accompanies every fox. Foxes should be stored as close to 4 centigrade as possible. Do not freeze the foxes as this renders them unsuitable for testing." From a Department of Agriculture document on the NARGC shooting group website.

Zanesville, Ohio, sheriff's deputies armed with assault rifles opened fire on dozens of "mature, very big, aggressive" lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, and bears who had escaped from a private menagerie in Ohio after the farm's owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead and the animals' cage doors were left open and fences unsecured. Chimpanzees and orangutans were found locked in cages inside the house. At least 30 animals have been killed, and several more remain at large., October 19th, 2011

"I am proud to have established in law my philosophical belief in the sanctity of life - including fervent anti-fox hunting and hare-coursing beliefs...Succeeding with my case was all I ever wanted to achieve. Therefore I was happy to accept the first offer made to me on behalf of Orchard Park, alongside a public apology, in respect of a defamatory memo written about me to their staff." Statement from English gardener, Joe Hashman, following an employment tribunal in October. BBC Dorset News, 27 October 2011, reported that the tribunal ruled that Mr Hashman was unfairly dismissed from his job at a garden centre because of his anti-hunting beliefs.

Oxford animal theologian Professor Andrew Linzey has been awarded a top university honour for his pioneering work around the world. The University of Winchester is to recognise Professor Linzey with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his work in animal theology in a graduation ceremony on 9 November. Professor Linzey, who is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, said: "I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, who are in the forefront of pioneering this subject internationally. From a news release, 3 November 2011.

23. Letters to Editors

Matador goring underlines cruelty inherent in blood sports
Galway Advertiser, October 13, 2011.

Dear Editor,

Are there no depths to which we humans won't sink when it comes to ill-treating animals?

According to media reports, spectators at a bullfight in the Spanish city of Zaragoza (on October 7) screamed in horror when a bull pinned the matador to the ground and gored him. He suffered eye, bone, muscle, and skin damage and had to receive plastic surgery in a five-hour operation to repair his face.

Yet, while understandably shocked by this incident, the fans had not displayed any similar empathy for the bull's plight. Before it attacked the matador, the bull had been lanced and speared several times and the razor sharp objects dangled from its torn, bleeding, and exhausted body.

The crowd in the stadium had been loudly cheering and shaking with hearty laughter throughout the bull's pain-racked ordeal. There was no shocked collective intake of breath when each of the stabbing implements was thrust into its flesh.

One wonders if we have come all that far since the days of the blood-soaked coliseum.

Not that we in Ireland can lecture the Spaniards about animal welfare. Here, we still have public exhibitions of cruelty to animals organised nationwide by more than 70 coursing clubs. The captive hares are terrorised, mauled, and tossed about by dogs within the confines of a wired enclosure.

The hare, unlike the bull, is utterly defenceless, a timid creature that poses no threat to humans nor indeed to other animals. But like the bull, it serves as a mere pawn in a one-sided game of terror and suffering staged for the amusement of human beings.

Among the supporters of this barbarism are clergy and senior politicians.

But there may be hope for the animals. Just a fortnight before the goring of the matador in Zaragoza, Catalonia witnessed its last ever bullfight. It is now banned in that region of Spain, as hare coursing has been banned in Northern Ireland since February of this year.

However long it takes, I believe we should press for the abolition of blood sports worldwide. Animal cruelties aside, these relics of a dark past demean all of us and undermine our status as the "higher beings" on this planet.

Thanking you,
John Fitzgerald
Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports

Hedge cutting and bird life in Co Westmeath
Westmeath Examiner, October 2011


One really could despair at the lack of coherent, joined-up thinking in our county council. At present, notices are being issued to landowners ordering the cutting of roadside hedges and bushes, at the very time when they are laden with berries and other fruits crucial to the survival of birds over the winter.

So, we do not allow cutting in the spring so as to let the birds nest, lay and raise their young. Then we destroy food which is essential to their survival. Could one of your intrepid reporters ask for an explanation of the thinking behind this behaviour? I would be fascinated to hear it!

Richard Murphy,
PRO, Westmeath Environmental Group
Coralstown, Mullingar

24. 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!
Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts
Stop the Bail-Out for Irish Dog Tracks
Call for action against illegal bird trapping in Cyprus
Ban Larsen Traps & Multi Corvid Traps
Save the Turtles in Costa Rica!
Ban bullfighting groups from Facebook
Help stop the dog cruelty! (in China)

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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