Animal Voice: Issue 2, February 2012
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this month's edition:

01. Taoiseach and Tanaiste both opposed to coursing
02. Man beaten while monitoring hunt in County Meath
03. Appeals sent to advertisers at coursing venue
04. "Legal torture": Former Judge condemns coursing
05. Irish Wildlife Trust calling for ban on coursing
06. Joan Collins, TD supports a ban on hare coursing
07. Noel Grealish TD pledges continued campaign support
08. Waterford TD "against any form of animal cruelty"
09. Green Party leader supports anti-coursing protest
10. Farmer saw Ward Union "hunting a stag with dogs"
11. "Delay in prosecuting": coursing case dismissed
12. Tens of thousands witness dreadful plight of hare
13. Canon apology for offence caused by coursing photo
14. Irish badger cull to continue despite low TB rate
15. Absolutely ridiculous: McEntee's coursing claim
16. Bad Hare Days now available for Kindle e-reader
17. Latest Questions and Answers from Dail Eireann
18. Dublin man gets a fine for hare coursing in UK
19. Catholic Canon helped hunt gain access to land
20. ICABS calls on Millstreet to end park coursing
21. Complaint to Kilkenny People about pro-hunt report
22. Brennan Hotels asked to cut links to coursing
23. Woman drives moped into forest to stop hunters
24. Campaign Quotes
25. Letters to Editors
26. Petitions

01. Taoiseach and Tanaiste both opposed to coursing

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore to back a ban on coursing. Both have previously expressed their opposition to the bloodsport.

In an email to ICABS in July 2003, the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny stated "I am opposed to the practice of live hare coursing."

Tanaiste and Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore is also anti-coursing. He is on record as saying: "I am opposed to the blood sports of badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hare coursing and stag hunting." He added that he and his then party, Democratic Left, "strongly believes in protecting our wildlife" and that they are "very concerned about the cruelty and impact on the various species of so-called blood sports."

We are calling on both men to stay true to their beliefs and back a ban on the cruel activity.

"You are among the compassionate majority of Irish people opposed to coursing," we told them. "With the activity now illegal in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, 2012 is the ideal moment in history for the Labour/Fine Gael Government to halt this cruelty and give permanent protection to the Irish Hare."


Contact Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore now. Ask them to back a ban on hare coursing.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048

An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore
Office of the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Iveagh House,
80 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Tel: 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)
Fax: 01 408 2400

Contact all your local TDs now. Tell them you are one of the majority who want coursing banned. Remind them that coursing is already illegal in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Urge them to respect the wishes of the majority of the electorate and back the anti-coursing bill being introduced by Maureen O'Sullivan, TD and Clare Daly, TD.

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

If you prefer to post a letter to your TDs, address your correspondence to:
Dáil Éireann
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

Please also consider organising a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

02. Man beaten while monitoring hunt in County Meath

Man claims beating by men on horseback at Tara
Meath Chronicle, 3rd March 2012 edition

A man using a video camera at the Hill of Tara claimed that he was "beaten and kicked" by men in huntsmen's attire during an incident yesterday (Tuesday, 28 February) afternoon.

Declan Bowens, who is from the Johnstown area in Navan, told how he was chased around the public car park at Tara by men on horseback and then surrounded and beaten by a group of men. A mobile phone photograph of Mr Bowens showed him with the right side of his face bloodied.

His girlfriend claimed she, too, was surrounded and the keys of her car wrenched from her hand. She said that one of her fingers was badly injured in the struggle. The couple also claimed that a tyre on their car had been slashed.

Gardai were called to the scene and the couple made a complaint to them about the incident.

Mr Bowens said that he was monitoring a hunt in the area and was using his camera to film from the car park. He said that men in hunting regalia "chased me with horses around the place". He said: "I am covered in blood, I have a cut over my eye and it is bleeding."

He said there were up to 80 huntsmen and 30-40 dogs in the area at the time.

His girlfriend said that "a few guys on horses were intimidating and pushing against Declan." She added: "They started to attack me. My legs were shaking like jelly. I had my keys in my hand and this particular fellow got them out of my hand. My hand is cut."

Gardai in Navan confirmed that they are investigating an allegation of an assault at the Hill of Tara yesterday afternoon.

03. Appeals sent to advertisers at coursing venue

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has appealed to a number of companies, including Guinness, Shannon Airport, the Irish Independent, Specsavers and the Irish Mirror, to withdraw their advertising banners from Limerick Racecourse during any future hare coursing events.

Irish Council Against Blood Sports monitors were present for the three days of this barbaric activity, which is outlawed in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, due to the cruelty involved. Over the weekend, we saw hares, captured from the wild, running in terror before greyhounds. There were eight incidents where hares were hit by the dogs, pinned and mauled.

These hares were picked up and handed over a fence. We don't know the fate of these poor creatures, but we do know from National Parks & Wildlife reports, obtained by us annually under Freedom of Information, that hares die from such maulings, having suffered broken bones and internal injuries.

In an appeal to the companies, Aideen Yourell, ICABS spokesperson said: "We feel certain that your company would not want to be associated in any way with this backwoods barbarism, so we would appeal to you to not have your advertising banner on display, where these gentle wild creatures are used as live bait in front of greyhounds."

Hopefully, our legislators will do the right thing and bring this barbarity to an end by supporting the Private Members Bill to outlaw coursing, which was recently announced by Deputies Maureen O'Sullivan and Clare Daly.

04. "Legal torture": Former Judge condemns coursing

Retired judge, Michael Patwell, has condemned the cruelty of hare coursing, commenting that hares are "terrified and tortured in a most cruel way". Writing in the Evening Echo, Mr Patwell said that "civilisation still has a way to go" as long as "a poor timid animal can still be taken out of its habitat, confined, hunted, terrified and often brutally killed".

A judge for over 21 years, Michael Patwell presided over the infamous 1994 blooding case involving the son of greyhound trainer, Ger McKenna, in Tipperary. Video footage (filmed by Donal McIntyre for a BBC documentary about greyhound racing - see below) showing greyhounds being blooded with live rabbits at a private training track, was shown in court. Judge Patwell sentenced Owen McKenna and the other defendants to prison terms.

In his Evening Echo column on February 21st, Mr Patwell describes hare coursing as "the legal torture of poor timid creatures" and states that:

* the "netting and handling [of hares] is cruel in itself and often results in these timid and delicate creatures dying or suffering severe injury"

* the confinement of hares in an enclosure "adds considerably to the stress suffered by them".

* "Being naturally solitary creatures, in captivity they are very prone to disease, which can spread more easily when they are kept together in an enclosure."

* During coursing, "the hare is literally fighting for its life. Even though the dogs are muzzled, they still can kill the hare by mauling it into the ground or tossing its delicate body into the air."

* Regardless of how many hares are killed, "it is too many."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports thanks Michael Patwell for speaking out against hare coursing cruelty. We hope many more follow his example and join calls for the activity to be outlawed.

Read the full text of the article below. Find out more about Michael Patwell at

"Pattwell's Verdict"
Evening Echo, February 21st 2012

We are but a week away from the end of the hare-coursing season. Unfortunately for the poor hares we are in a Leap Year, which means that the legal torture of these poor timid creatures can go on for a day longer than in other years. The Irish hare is a protected species under The Wildlife Act, 1976 but is classified as a game species and may therefore be trapped or sold under license during the open season (end of September to the end of February). The license must be obtained from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and it usually allows for the netting by each club of about 75 hares. After the coursing event, the hares are supposed to be transported back to where they were netted and re-released into the wild. Yet one hears reports of hares, having survived a coursing meeting, being passed on to another club to be used again.

In 1993, the government, responding to public concern over the cruel killing of hares during coursing meetings and under political pressure, required the Irish Coursing Club (who control the sport) to change the rules to require that greyhounds are muzzled at enclosed coursing meetings. To be facetious for a moment, nobody figured out how to tell the hares that the dogs are muzzled. Greyhounds used in open coursing still, however, remain unmuzzled.

Remember the Lisbon Treaty? You know, the one we voted to reject but not being satisfied with the result the Government ran the referendum again. Anti blood sport campaigners and animal lovers generally, if they had read Article 13 of The Lisbon treaty, could, initially, have been quite overjoyed, until, that is, they read the sting in the tail. Article 13 reads:

In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage. The saving words for coursing fans are, of course, ….respecting the..cultural traditions of the Member States.

There is no doubt that coursing is a cultural tradition. Arrian, the Greek philosopher, wrote the oldest documented description of hare coursing about the year 180 AD. That certainly establishes the antiquity and heredity of the sport. Since 180 AD, however, very many other practices, common then, have been regulated and banned as human beings evolved and civilisation progressed. We don't cut the heads off convicted criminals anymore; slavery has been legally abolished (whether factually so is another matter); we don't send little children up chimneys to clean them anymore; women can no longer be regarded as chattels. Yet a poor timid animal can still be taken out of its habitat, confined, hunted, terrified and often brutally killed because it has been done for 2,000 years. It seems to me that civilisation still has a way to go.

There are between seventy-five and eighty coursing clubs in Ireland. In the weeks before each meeting, members of the clubs go into the countryside to collect hares in a process known as "netting". This involves shouting, yelling and making loud noises to herd hares into nets that have been strategically placed. The hares are then put into boxes for transport to the coursing venue. This netting and handling is cruel in itself and often results in these timid and delicate creatures dying or suffering severe injury.

The hares then have to be trained. Releasing a wild animal into a coursing field would produce, what coursing supporters would see as, very poor "sport" because the hare wouldn't know where to run. Before the coursing event, therefore, they are put through training sessions to get them familiar with the field and to teach them to run up the centre in order to provide "good coursing".

During these training weeks the hares are kept herded together in an enclosure. This adds considerably to the stress suffered by them. Being naturally solitary creatures, in captivity they are very prone to disease, which can spread more easily when they are kept together in an enclosure.

The coursing field is typically about 370 metres (400 yards) long. A hare is released from one end and given a 90m start before the greyhounds are released to pursue it up the field to the "escapes" at the far end. Typically the dogs catch up with the hare about 50m from the escapes. The first dog to turn the hare wins.

The objective of coursing is to test and judge the athletic ability of the dogs rather than to kill the hare which, being a very agile creature, weaves, turns and dodges skilfully to avoid them. Greyhounds are much bigger and faster. A hare is usually about 3.5 kg in weight whilst a greyhound can be between 30 and 40 kg. With two dogs chasing one hare, the hare is a mere one twentieth of the size of the combined size of the chasing dogs. A hare can reach speeds of up to 40 - 45 km/h. At maximum acceleration, a greyhound reaches a full speed of 70 km/h (within 30 metres from release,) travelling at almost 20 metres per second for the first 250 metres of a race. With odds like those the wonder is that so many hares do make it to the 'escapes".

Thankfully its agility gives the hare an important and often crucial advantage as it seeks, usually successfully, to escape. During the course, however, the hare is literally fighting for its life. Even though the dogs are muzzled, they still can kill the hare by mauling it into the ground or tossing its delicate body into the air. In fact, this often happens.

I have seen a report that suggests that during the course of a coursing season at least 400 hares are killed or so seriously injured that they have to be put down. That figure may be anti-blood-sport propaganda. When I enquired the Irish Coursing Club said, "In the 2010/11 season 5734 hares were captured for the purpose of Park Coursing and 5671 of these were released back into the wild, under the supervision of officers from the National Parks & Wildlife. Of the 63 hares that did not make it, some would have died of natural causes whilst in captivity, some would have been hit by the greyhounds and a decision was made to put them down and a few would have been killed outright."

The national coursing meeting in Clonmel is considered the most important event in the coursing calendar. It is said to attract up to 10,000 spectators and is claimed by its organisers to be worth many millions for the local economy.

At least Article 13 of The Lisbon Treaty, which effectively means our Constitution, recognises that animals are "sentient beings". The best meaning for the word 'sentient' I could find is 'having the power of perception by the senses', that is, be able to perceive or feel things. Nothing but words! Entirely meaningless to the poor creature dying a horrible death so that a few humans, supposed to be sentient creatures too, can have a few moments of sport.

Whether it is 400 or 50, or some number in between, it is too many. Remember too all the hares that survive despite having been terrified and tortured in a most cruel way, all in the name of sport.

05. Irish Wildlife Trust calling for ban on coursing

The Irish Wildlife Trust has joined calls for a ban on hare coursing which they condemn as a "cruel and barbaric practice" which "should have no place in a modern society". The following statement is taken from the IWT website...

The IWT wishes to express its support for a proposed Bill that would outlaw hare coursing in Ireland. The Dail should follow in the footsteps of the Northern Ireland Assembly which banned this cruel and barbaric practice in 2010. It was banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales in 2005 - Ireland is an outlier country in terms of its attitude to animal welfare and conservation of its native wildlife.

The Irish hare is an endemic sub-species to this island, in other words it is found nowhere else in the world. Based on recent surveys the National Parks and Wildlife Service assessed its conservation status as of 'least concern' with a population that is "stable but with population fluctuations" (1). It found that the estimated population of Irish hare was 233,000 in 2006 but nearly twice that, at 535,000 only one year later. A Species Action Plan for the Irish hare, published by the same organisation, states that "populations are thought to have undergone a substantial decline in the past 15-25 years" while "populations have fallen to critical levels in some areas". This document lists the "unsustainable taking of hares for sporting purposes" as one of the current factors leading to the loss or decline of this species (2).

Research into the impacts on hare coursing in Ireland has shown that while the direct mortality of hares during events has fallen to about 4%, the wider impacts to hares are unknown (3, 4).

Aside from the conservation of this unique animal the IWT believes that chasing hares for amusement constitutes barbaric treatment of our native wildlife.

The Irish hare is protected under the Wildlife Act 1976 (as Amended) 2000 and Annex IV of the EU's Habitats Directive, which states that any taking from the wild should be subject to management measures.

As hares can breed at any time of the year it is likely that when hares are taken for coursing leverets (young hares) are left to starve. The IWT believes that our natural heritage should be cherished and respected. A practice which harasses and exhausts animals which have been taken from their natural surroundings, and in the name of entertainment, should have no place in a modern society.

(1) Marnell, F., Kingston, N. & Looney, D. (2009) Ireland Red List No. 3: Terrestrial Mammals, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland. (2) Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government and the Environment & Heritage Service. (2005). All Ireland Species Action Plans Irish Lady's-tresses Spiranthes romanzoffiana; Pollan Coregonus autumnalis; Hare Lepus timidus hibernicus; Corncrake Crex crex. (3) Reid N, McDonald, R.A. & Montgomery W.I. (2007). Factors associated with hare mortality during coursing. Animal Welfare 2007, 16: 427-434 (4) Reid N., Magee C. & Montgomery W.I. Integrating field sports, hare population management and conservation. Acta Theriologic

06. Joan Collins, TD supports a ban on hare coursing

The office of Joan Collins TD has confirmed that the Dublin South-Central Deputy "is in support of a ban on live hare coursing". The People Before Profit politician has previously queried the Agriculture Minister about plans to ban the bloodsport.

On 14 September last, Deputy Collins asked Minister Coveney "his policy on hare coursing" and "his plans to ban this practice". See his response on our Dail Q&A page at

ICABS greatly welcomes Joan Collins TD's stance on this issue. We are urging all TDs to give their backing to the anti-coursing bill being introduced by Deputies Maureen O'Sullivan and Clare Daly.

07. Noel Grealish TD pledges continued campaign support

Galway West TD, Noel Grealish, has pledged his continued support to the campaign to end hare coursing in Ireland. The Independent TD's statement came on 30th January as Deputies Maureen O'Sullivan and Clare Daly announced their intention to introduce a bill to ban the bloodsport.

"I have always pledged my support to this campaign and will continue to do so," he stated.

Noel Grealish, who voted in favour of the ban on stag hunting in June 2010 has also previously expressed his support for the ICABS campaign against foxhunting terrierwork and digging out.

ICABS thanks Deputy Grealish for his support of our campaigns.

08. Waterford TD "against any form of animal cruelty"

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has welcomed a statement from the office of Waterford TD, John Halligan which outlines that he is "completely and utterly against any form of animal cruelty".

The Independent Deputy has previously stated that "hunting animals for pleasure is wrong". Find out more about him and his work at

See the views of other TDs on our Political Views page at If your TDs are not listed, please contact them now and urge them to support a ban on bloodsports and all forms of cruelty.

09. Green Party leader supports anti-coursing protest

The leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, has been thanked for attending the anti-coursing protest in Dublin on 30th January. The former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources was accompanied by Green Party Chairman, Roderick O'Gorman.

The party which pushed through legislation to ban staghunting in 2010 also favours a ban on coursing.

In its 2011 election manifesto, the Greens outlined that when in government, the party would "introduce legislation to ban hare coursing" and "make the hunting of animals with hounds an offence under law".

To find out more about the Green Party, visit

10. Farmer saw Ward Union "hunting a stag with dogs"

A farmer from County Meath has described seeing the Ward Union "hunting a stag with dogs". Speaking on RTE's Liveline, he said he saw a stag "obviously in distress" followed by hounds and people on horseback.

Listen to the 2nd February Liveline discussion at:


According to the Wildlife Amendment Act 2010, "a person who hunts deer with two or more dogs shall be guilty of an offence." If you reside in the area where the Ward Union operates, please familiarise yourself with the Wildlife Amendment Act 2010 and report any breaches to the Gardai.

For the phone numbers of Garda stations, please visit:

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. "Delay in prosecuting": coursing case dismissed

Coursing Club Secretary sees case dismissed
Delay in Issuing Summonses
Sligo Champion, February 15 2012

Summonses against the Secretary of the Tubbercurry and District Coursing Club, alleging that he and others had gone to Oyster Island off Rosses Point to capture hares without permission, were struck out at Sligo District Court by Judge Kevin Klirane, who ruled that there was undue delay in prosecuting the matter.

Michael Kilcoyne, Hexagon House, Urlar, Drumcliffe, was also summoned for making inadequate returns as to the numbers of hares captured and for allowing non-club members to attend at the island in contravention of the club licence.

Judge Kilrane was informed that Kilcoyne did not know until 18 months after the alleged offences on December 15th, 2009, that he was to be prosecuted after summonses had twice been issued, but not served.

The summonses were then served in July last for a court hearing in October, just two months short of two years after the offences were alleged to have occurred.

State solicitor, Mr. Hugh Sheridan, prosecuting under the Wildlife Act, said that it was alleged that 25 people went ashore at Oyster Island for the purpose of picking up hares. The owner of the island, Sheila Mary Galbraith, had not given her permission for them to do so.

Mr. Kilcoyne was also summoned with failing to make adequate returns in respect of the number of hares involved in that there were 47 captured and only 34 recorded.

Defending solicitor, Mr. Eamon Og Gallagher, pointed out that the first summonses were issued on December 12th, 2010, within a matter of days of the twelve month expiry date for such matters. The summonses were for Sligo District Court on March 1st, 2011, but had not been served.

The summonses had then be reissued for June 2011 but again had not been served, Mr. Gallagher explained.

Summonses were finally served on Mr. Kilcoyne on July 29th, 2011, for a court hearing on October 4th and the matter had then been adjourned.

Mr. Gallagher said the delay was "inordinate" in his view.

Mr. Sheridan said he had various requisitions after the first summonses were issued but matters had not changed. He could not, however, explain why the summonses were not served on Mr. Kilcoyne until July, 2011. He had received a letter from a Garda but "none of the boxes were ticked" in respect of various options as to why service had not been completed.

12. Tens of thousands witness dreadful plight of hare

Tens of thousands of Metro Herald readers have witnessed the continuing cruelty of coursing. A front page photo of a greyhound making contact with a hare provided a stark reminder of the suffering of hares snatched from the wild and used as live lures in the blood sport.

In a letter to the editor, one reader said that the image which appeared on the cover of the January 31st edition "made me feel disgusted and sick to the stomach". She criticised the newspaper for its light-hearted treatment of the issue - a caption referred to the hare as being "hareborne" and made no mention of the suffering being caused.

"Hare coursing is classified as a 'blood sport' and should be treated with the same attitude as hunting or badger baiting, and showing photos such as this only serves to perpetuate this barbaric 'sport'," she commented.

If you would like to respond to the photo, Metro Herald's contact details appear below:

SMS: Text MAIL with comment to 53131

13. Canon apology for offence caused by coursing photo

Canon Ireland has apologised for the offence caused by a hare coursing photo in a calendar sponsored by the company. The photo appears in a 2012-13 calendar published by the Irish Independent (in association with Canon) and shows the unleashing of greyhounds at a 1979 coursing meeting in Clonmel.

In a complaint to Canon, ICABS commented:

"For those who abhor cruelty and respect wildlife, it is saddening that, out of an archive of thousands of photos, this animal cruelty scene from Clonmel was chosen. Hare coursing is opposed by a majority in Ireland (including, no doubt, a majority of Canon customers and Irish Independent readers) and most won't want to suffer the month-long sight of a heartless courser unleashing greyhounds to chase a hare which may very well have been caught and ripped apart."

In response, a Canon spokesperson apologised for the offence caused.

"The aim of the calendar was to capture images though the decades, each telling their own stories in a manner unique to their times," he said. "Canon did not have any input or influence on the selection of photographs which was done by the Irish Independent. As Canon takes its social and environmental responsibilities seriously, I have passed your complaint on to relevant parties involved in the publication of the calendar."

ICABS thanks Canon for this response. We are renewing our call on the Irish Independent to keep coursing out of its calendars and to exclude coursing from its "sports" pages.


Please join our appeal to the Irish Independent.

Mr Gerry O'Regan The Editor Irish Independent

Tel: +353 (0)1 705 5333

14. Irish badger cull to continue despite low TB rate

The report below was published in the Irish Times of 13 February 2012. After reading, please click on campaigns at to visit our "Stop Badger Snaring" page.

Irish Times report by
by Marie O'Halloran

The culling of badgers to combat bovine TB is to continue even though the numbers getting the disease are at their lowest since the eradication programme began in the 1950s, said Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Mr Coveney said while nobody liked culling "we have a responsibility to protect our beef herds, in particular, and our dairy herds".

The culling programme had played "a significant and positive role" and only took place where there was believed to be a problem, he said.

There are an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 badgers in the State and since 2000 the number of "reactors" - cattle that have failed the mandatory test for bovine TB - has fallen from 40,000 to 18,500.

The Minister told Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan that in Britain, which did not cull badgers now but would begin a pilot project in the autumn, the number of reactors had increased from 6,000 in 1999 to 33,000 in 2010.

Field trials in badger vaccination were under way and, if successful, they would be incorporated in the eradication programme, Mr Coveney said.

But "it will be some years before the trials are completed and targeted badger removals will continue in the medium term".

Ms O'Sullivan raised the issue during agriculture questions in the Dail this week, pointing to the divergence between research cited by the Minister and research she had received from the Irish Wildlife Trust, "which shows culling of badgers has little or no effect on the eradication of TB and that it increased levels".

She pointed to findings that "even if all badgers in the country were removed the same levels of TB would remain".

Mr Coveney cited research carried out since 1989, including a project in four areas showing an improvement of almost 60 per cent following culling.

Ms O'Sullivan expressed concern about the use of snares, which she said resulted in "extended periods of suffering for badgers, leaving the young unattended".

She asked how could "we as a humane country justify the use of such a cruel instrument".

She also spoke of arrests of people involved in badger baiting in Northern Ireland.

The Minister acknowledged the need for a new approach to animal welfare, and said this would be evident from a new Bill he would publish soon.

15. Absolutely ridiculous: McEntee's coursing claim

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports refutes utterly claims made by Junior Minister Shane McEntee in the Irish Times that "there's no danger to the hare" during coursing.

What planet does this Minister live on? If a hare is forced to run before two greyhounds, muzzled or not, the risk of its being hit, pinned and mauled is clearly there, and this is borne out by National Parks monitoring reports, obtained by us under FOI, year after year.

For example, at Tradaree, 6 hares died of their injuries from being mauled by greyhounds, while 1 was put down directly after a mauling; at Freshford, 6 hares were hit by dogs, 3 injured and 2 died from injuries; at Liscannor, 3 hares were injured, 2 put down and 9 hares "sick or otherwise unfit" after coursing; at Doon, 7 hares were pinned by greyhounds, 4 injured, 2 of which were put down; at Tubbercurry, 2 hares were injured, 2 "sick or otherwise unfit after coursing", with 1 hare "injured in a box … and died"; at Loughrea, 2 hares were injured and put down, while another died "in transit to Mayo"; at Glanworth, 4 hares were injured during coursing and 5 hares were "sick or otherwise unfit" afterwards; at Ennis, 3 hares were hit by dogs, 1 injured and put down, with another dying from its injuries; at Mitchelstown, 6 hares were hit by dogs, 1 put down and 1 found dead in a box, with the vet's report stating that 8 hares were "sick or otherwise unfit" afterwards; at Thurles, 8 hares were hit by dogs, 2 died "overnight" and at Ballyheigue, 3 hares were hit, 1 injured and 1 put down.

It should be noted that not all coursing meetings are monitored by National Parks officials, so we can only conclude that the injuries and fatalities cited above are just the tip of the iceberg.

Deputies Maureen O'Sullivan and Clare Daly are to be applauded for their courage in bringing a Private Members' Bill to banish the barbarity that is hare coursing, and we appeal to any TD in Dail Eireann, with an ounce of compassion, to give their support to this Bill. After all, our neighbours in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all banned hare coursing, leaving our Republic the last bastion of this backwoods barbarism.


If you are one of Shane McEntee's Meath East constituents, please contact him now.

Telephone: 01-6072977
Address: Department of Agriculture, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2


Contact Minister Jimmy Deenihan now and urge him to stop licensing hare coursing.

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 who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to stop licensing this blood sport and put in place permanent protection for the Irish Hare.

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 bring coursing to an end in Ireland.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


16. Bad Hare Days now available for Kindle e-reader

"Bad Hare Days" by anti-cruelty campaigner, John Fitzgerald, is now available as a Kindle e-book.

The popular book contains updated content as well as a selection of photos showing the cruelty of coursing and the ongoing protests against it.

The 61 chapters include "Supper with the hare catchers", "Michael D bids to end hare coursing", "Coping with bullies", "Showdown in Tipperary", "Tricks and Threats" and "An anti-hare coursing protest on Fifth Avenue".

Purchase the Kindle version of the book for around 99 cents at or Amazon UK

Book Cover
Download for free as a pdf (7.8 Mb)

17. Latest Questions and Answers from Dail Eireann

Question 369 - Answered on 14th February, 2012

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures he is taking to ensure that the Ward Union Hunt does not continue to break the law in relation to hunting deer as per Section 23A (1) of the Wildlife Amendment Act in view of the new evidence which shows that they are continuing to hunt stag in contravention of the ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Jimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael):

Officials of my Department monitor compliance with the Wildlife Acts across the country on an ongoing basis and carry out patrols and site visits to enforce the various provisions of these Acts as required. They also investigate reports of breaches of the Acts. Members of An Garda Siochana are also empowered under the Acts to investigate alleged offences and to prosecute, if they see fit.

In this regard, my Department will follow up appropriately on any alleged breaches of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2010 which makes it an offence to hunt a deer with two or more dogs.

Question 434 - Answered on 28th February, 2012

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will ensure that the extra Eur20,000 funding for the capture of feral mink will be used in humane capture practices and that the bounties will engage in only humane practices; if he will address the scope and strategy involved in the capturing of feral mink and the conservation of wildlife under threat of the non-indigenous feral mink population; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D.): A report published by my Department in 2009 estimated the population of wild mink in the State could reach a total of between 20,500 and 33,500 individuals, and identified ground-nesting birds as the species most vulnerable to mink predation. Accordingly, my Department is concentrating its resources on protecting the nesting sites of rare and threatened bird species, including red-throated diver, corncrake, grey partridge, waders and terns, from a range of predators, including mink. Experience has shown that targeted control of predators at specific times can have a significant benefit to the breeding success of these bird species.

With regard to the particular funding referred to by the Deputy, I requested, in granting the funding in question to the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), that, as far as it is possible, special attention should be given to the counties of Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Kerry to enhance work in those areas where my Department has been concentrating its own efforts.

My Department is particularly aware of the potential impacts of mink control on non-target species, especially otter, pine marten and stoat. The funding, therefore, is being provided to the NARGC with a strong reminder that these other species are protected. Accordingly, even accidental capture of such species while targeting mink would be an offence and only acceptable legal forms of live traps can be used, with snares and fentraps expressly forbidden.

Question 576 - Answered on 28th February, 2012

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has considered the shutting down of feral mink farms and other fur farms in the country to help eradicate the problems associated with feral mink; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney): The keeping of mink in this country is prohibited except under licences which are issued by my Department under the Musk Rats Act, 1933 (Application to Mink) Order 1965. Licences are issued if the applicant following an inspection is found to be compliant with a number of conditions. I am satisfied that all licenced fur farms operating in this country meet current national and EU legislative requirements.

With regard to feral animals, my Department's legislative responsibility in the area of animal welfare extends to farmed animals only. Matters relating to wild animals including feral mink fall outside the scope of my function. My colleague the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government through the National Parks and Wildlife Service has, I understand, been overseeing mink control programmes at sites across Ireland in an effort to control ground-based predators.

With regard to fur farming in general, this is a farming activity practised in many European countries. In this context, I set up a Review Group in my Department to review the whole issue of fur farming taking into account existing legislative provisions for the licensing of mink farming and to comment on the economic benefits of the sector. The Group has also been asked to consider the effectiveness of existing welfare controls and make appropriate recommendations. Submissions were invited on the review and a large number were received from interested parties. The Group will take account of the opinions expressed in the submissions received and I will consider what action, if any, to take following the submission and conclusions of the Review Group's findings.

18. Dublin man gets a fine for hare coursing in UK

Man fined £250 after travelling from Ireland to go hare coursing near Boston
Boston Target, February 11, 2012

A man who travelled from the Republic of Ireland to go hare coursing near Boston [Lincolnshire, UK] has been fined £250.

Joseph Kennedy of Stocking Hill, Ballyboden, Dublin, was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim's surcharge after pleading guilty to a poaching charge when he went before Boston magistrates.

Prosecutor Jim Clare told the court that the 33-year-old and two other Irishmen were arrested having been seen using Lurcher dogs to hunt hares on a field in Amber Hill on December 29.

When questioned by police Kennedy denied he was hare coursing and said he had come into the country via ferry and was looking for a pub.

He claimed he was in the field as his dog needed to go to the toilet.

Representing himself in court, Kennedy, pointed out that hare coursing was legal in Ireland and added: "If I've caused any grief I'm terribly sorry."

The magistrates heard the two men arrested with Kennedy had subsequently been arrested for breaching their bail conditions and were due to appear at a later hearing at Grantham Magistrates Court.

19. Catholic Canon helped hunt gain access to land

ICABS has complained to the Catholic Church after it emerged that a member of the clergy acted to persuade an anti-hunt landowner to allow a hunt to access his land.

The following extract from a pro-hunting article in the Kilkenny people last month outlines what happened...

"The late Canon John Kearns, one-time parish priest of Castlecomer, was a keen enthusiast of the North Kilkenny Hunt...

"When the Canon called to a farm in the countryside around Castleomcer there was nothing he liked better than a mug of tea while sitting beside the hob. Canon Kearns is well remembered arriving on house visits in the Comer or Dunnamaggin areas with an old dark green 'tam' perched on the side of his head.

"On one or two occasions when the hunt arrived at the gates of a farm, they found the farmer in an irate mood telling them that he was not allowing the hunt to ride over the land because their horses were 'cutting up' pastures. After having a quick confab together the huntspeople would sometimes send the popular Canon to meet the landowner at the front gate and within minutes the farmer's mood had changed when the Rev Canon asked with a whimsical smile on his face 'be gob do we really do all that much damage on ye? God rest your poor father, sure he never once stopped us.' Within a couple of minutes the horses were trotting over the land with the owner's full permission." (from "Tallyho - Kilkenny's hunts in full flight", Kilkenny People, January 27th, 2012)

ICABS has urged the Bishop of Ossory and the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to remind clergy that hunting and all forms of cruelty to animals are sinful and contrary to the Catechism.


Please join us in urging the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to act to end clergy involvement in blood sports.

Cardinal Sean Brady
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
President, Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Ara Coeli, Armagh BT61 7QY
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Tel: 048-3752 2045 (from the Republic)
Fax: +44 (0)28 3752 6182
Fax: 048-3752 6182 (from the Republic)

Send a copy of your correspondence to the Papal Nuncio

Archbishop Charles John Brown
Apostolic Nuncio
The Apostolic Nunciature
183 Navan Road
Dublin 7
Tel: +353 (0)1 838 0577
Fax: +353(0)1 838 0276

20. ICABS calls on Millstreet to end park coursing

Call to halt coursing held in town park
By Joe Leogue
The Corkman, February 02 2012

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports have called on the people of Millstreet to oppose coursing in the local Town Park following reports of a recent meeting there.

Coursing is once again set to become a national debate, following the announcement that Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan and Socialist TD Clare Daly intend to introduce a Private Member's Bill in the Dail to ban hare coursing.

The meeting has sparked online debate, with users commenting on a website carrying photos of the event suggesting that a mechanical hare should be used instead.

"I don't think, with the greatest respect to everyone, that the town park in Millstreet should be used for hare coursing. This can give us a bad name here in Millstreet at a time when tourism is so important. I'm not what you'd call anti-bloodsports when it comes to game shooting (a quick kill is ok in my book) and I'm not against foxhunting ... but hare coursing I've never liked,' one user said.

"Millstreet has a lot to offer but, please, not this ill-treatment of animals dressed up as sport,' another added.

Philip Kiernan of the ICABS said that photos from the event "show hares desperately running for their lives."

"In these disturbing scenes, there is no mistaking the fear and stress of the hares as they try to escape a mauling from the greyhounds bearing down on them," he said.

"But it isn't just the hares that are victims of this despicable event. So too is the image and reputation of Millstreet itself.

"The hosting of animal cruelty in Millstreet's Town Park represents an unfortunate black mark against a town that has so many positive attractions and associations.

"We call on the decent people of Millstreet to act to keep cruelty out of their park and prevent coursers from tainting the town," Mr Kiernan said.

Millstreet Coursing Club had no comment to make at time of going to press.

21. Complaint to Kilkenny People about pro-hunt report

ICABS has complained to the Kilkenny People editor about the publication of a pro-hunt article which described anti-bloodsports urban dwellers as "naive" and claimed that foxes are vermin.

"Tallyho - Kilkenny hunts in full flight" (Kilkenny People, January 27) outlined that "the anti-hunting people are getting better organised all the time and are continuously recruiting urban dwellers to join them, people who have little or no knowledge of countryside pursuits." These people were described as "naive".

In a letter to the editor, ICABS stressed that hunting is opposed by both urban and rural dwellers. "They have all the knowledge they need to judge hunting barbarism as unacceptable. Anyone with an ounce of compassion will instinctively recognise the chasing of a fox with a pack of hounds and the live evisceration of the creature as completely wrong."

Reference is made in the article to hunt terriermen who, we are told, "play an important part when the fox has gone to ground".

We pointed out to the editor that the role of these merciless thugs is to send a terrier down underground to viciously attack and bite into the cowering fox and hold it in place until hunters dig away the clay from above. The bleeding and terrified fox is then killed.

Also challenged was a claim made in the article that "foxes are classed as vermin". "This is also untrue," we told the editor. "Hunters attempt to perpetuate the myth that the fox is a pest to try and justify their cruelty but the reality is that nowhere in the Wildlife Act is this beautiful animal classed as vermin. To farmers around the country who continue to suffer trespass, damage and verbal abuse, there is no doubt that it is the hunters who are the vermin."

"It is saddening that the Kilkenny People deems it appropriate to publish pro-hunting propaganda and turn a blind eye to the appalling suffering being caused to our wildlife," we added.


Ask the Kilkenny People to stop publishing pro-hunt propaganda and instead expose the cruelty.

The Editor
Kilkenny People
34 High Street

Tel: 056 772 1015

22. Brennan Hotels asked to cut links to coursing

The Brennan Group of Hotels has been urged to disassociate from hare coursing. The appeal follows another of the group's hotels advertising in a coursing meeting booklet.

In the January 2012 booklet for the Sevenhouses coursing club, an advert appears for Springhill Court hotel in Kilkenny. Above the Brennan Hotels logo, the wording in the advert is: "A very warm welcome to all of our English visitors this weekend, and the best of luck to Sevenhouses coursing club".

A link to a gallery of photos showing hares running for their lives at the Sevenhouses meeting has been brought to the attention of the Brennan Group as well as to the manager of Springhill Court hotel.

"It is incredible that a modern hotel chain unashamedly associates with coursing cruelty," we stated in an email to the company. "From a business perspective, it is surprising that you don't take into consideration the fact that businesses which back animal cruelty risk being shunned by potential customers among the majority who oppose bloodsports."

The Springhill Court hotel is the latest Brennan Hotel to be linked to coursing. Previously, complaints have been made to Clonmel Park Conference Leisure & Spa Hotel about the publicisation of hare coursing on its website and a hotel advert in a coursing booklet which welcomed coursers and stated that coursing videos would be shown nightly at the hotel.

Hare coursing subjects hares to an appalling ordeal. They are violently captured from the wild in nets, transported in crates and kept in captivity for weeks before being forced to run for their lives in front of greyhounds. The stress they endure leave them at risk of dying from capture myopathy during or after coursing.

Hares hit by the greyhounds suffer agonising internal injuries such as broken bones and dislocated hips. Every coursing season, hares are injured and killed.


Please join us in appealing to the Brennan Hotels group to act with compassion and fully disassociate its hotels from coursing.

Monica O'Byrne
Sales and Marketing Director
Brennan Hotels Group

Mr S O’Carroll
General Manager:
Springhill Court Hotel
Waterford Rd, Kilkenny
Tel: +353 56 7721122
Fax: +353 56 7761600

23. Woman drives moped into forest to stop hunters

Written by Diane Weisenberger of Hessen, Germany

Push-through hunt - that is what Druckjagd means in German and the local paper said it was coming to my neck of the woods. Deer, boar and foxes would be surrounded in the forest, then pushed into the paths of guns, the veritable carpet bombing of precious wildlife.

I spent two days writing to animal protection groups, trying to drum-up some intervention - "A flashmob," I suggested - but no one replied.

Time for direct action. The morning of the hunt, I rode my Hercules moped towards the hunters. "Here's your bravery test," I whispered into my helmet, then plunged past the armed men and into the hunting corridor. Dulled warning whistles met me up and down the paths. Angry men in green and red waved me off frantically, but silently.

It Was Working!

Up and along the trails I rode, gunshots firing north and south. I wanted them to worry about me - to hesitate in shooting their prey. And it was working.

A huge buck thundered into my path, just feet ahead, running for his existence and in the right direction. I rode behind him until he was safe, past the furious hunters shouting with their hands, "Get out of here!"

Then a panicked young deer, then four more. It was too easy to see them. Bravery test again. I slipped the moped between them and the killers, and again pushed my hoofed cousins to safety. No more shots were heard from that direction.

All It Takes is a Spark

The forest was huge and the push-through hunt thorough. Many fellow Earthlings, beautiful deer, foxes and boar, were successfully murdered that day. All were terrorised. But…five beautiful deer escaped, and many deadly shots were withheld because of my presence.


24. Campaign Quotes

"There are people within Fine Gael who would like to see the ban [on the Ward Union] repealed, but that is not going to happen. This issue was dealt with in the current Programme for Government. President Higgins also has very clear views on this practice." Labour TD, and friend of ICABS, Tommy Broughan quoted in the Sunday Times of February 19th, 2012.

"After two days of coursing at Patrickswell the Irish Cup really needed something special. It came today in the shape of wonder pup Jeru Cavendish. The fully homebred son of Siena Steel - Jeru, owned in Cree, Co Clare by young Miss Jenna O'Donoghue (daughter of South Clare CC stalwart John), trained in Ennis by John Browne and nominated by first time nominator and former Tanaiste, Dick Spring, is JP McManus Irish Cup champion for 2012." from the Irish Coursing club website

Please crush those empty food cans! Ever had your head stuck in a bucket and not been able to get it out? No? Well, lucky you. But if you were dying of hunger and that bucket had a taste morsel in it, you might stick your head in it. Well, many animals have had this experience and it is usually fatal. So, PLEASE squeeze those empty food cans, irrespective of what was in it. That simple one second act might just save a life! From The Cork Animal Care Society newsletter, February 2012.

I notice that coursing apologists very often use diversionary tactics ("whataboutery" some call this) when they can't defend their "sport", like drawing attention to what cats might be getting up to, which has nothing to do with the issue. Or they ramble on about hares getting killed on the roads etc. Dogs get killed on roads too, but that doesn't make dog-fighting any less cruel. These are distinctly separate issues. Each cruel practise must be judged on its own merits. John Fitzgerald, comment on, February 4th, 2012.

"I am calling on this Council to request Minister Jimmy Deenihan to reverse the ban on Stag Hunting with immediate effect as promised by both Fine Gael and Labour prior to the General Election". The motion was proposed by Councillor Tommy Reilly and seconded by Councillor Wayne Harding. From the minutes of Meath County Council's January 2012 meeting.

"South Africa's Lion Industry - The hunting of the [captive] bred lions is not the only reason for complete rejection of this industry as being unethical from the point of view of animal protection. The road to suffering for the lions on the South African breeding farms begins shortly after their birth. Often the lion cubs are separated from their mothers only three days after their birth. This practice has fatal consequences, not including the mental suffering that these animals suffer..." From

"The number of animals used for experimentation in Irish laboratories has rocketed 800% in five years, raising serious concerns among welfare groups. Figures from the Department of Health show 280,000 animals were used in live experiments in 2010, up from just 38,000 in 2005...The type of animals experimented on included horses, dogs, cats, mice, rats, cattle, goats, fish, birds, sheep, pigs, rabbits and guinea pigs. Of greatest concern to campaigners is the fact that more than 80% of the animals used were experimented on under a licence which specifically allows researchers to dispense with the need for anaesthetic." from 280,000 animals used for testing in 2010, Irish Examiner, February 20, 2012

25. Letters to Editors

We don't want fox hunts on our farms
Irish Examiner, February 10, 2012

In recent weeks articles have appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines that seem to glorify fox hunting, an activity that involves people riding roughshod over the rights and livelihoods of farmers.

I would remind the writers of such pieces that breaking and entering and vandalising anybody's property - activities associated with fox hunting - is a criminal offence.

A farmer I know has still not been paid for the loss of his pedigree herd of sheep that were destroyed following the local fox hunts incursion. The loss of this herd has been valued at over €30,000 by his local auctioneer and I can publish this valuation on request.

In 2012 almost all farmers are commercial. They have high input costs and are dependant for their livelihoods on a high return from their crops, livestock, milk, beef and lamb.

No farmer wants his work on his important fences destroyed and vandalised. No farmer wants his livestock terrorised even in sheds and his crops and early grass trampled into the ground.

We appeal to the Government to do us all a favour: ban fox hunting in Ireland as in the UK. At present the farmers and agricultural sector are saving this country. A farm is for the production of food not for the unspeakables in fancy dress engaged in their destructive recreation and pursuit of wily uneatables.

Today, the country is full of equestrian centres offering all kinds of horsey excitement and drag hunting. Are the fox hunts too poor or too mean to join them? Or is it that they so desperately need the thrill of riding roughshod over the rights of the croppy farmer?

Most of us farmers do not want the fox hunt on our land. We do have the right to stop people destroying and vandalising our fences, crops and livestock. We ask hunts to quit provoking or verbally abusing farmers. I would remind them that the farmer holds a vermin licence that allows him to shoot dogs not on a lead that he sees as a threat to his livestock.

Let me say here in all sincerity that we farmers do not want to shoot anyone's dog but we cannot allow our animals to suffer because of irresponsible owners. People have a duty to keep their dogs under control.

To fox hunting people we say: Stay off our land. We croppies will not lie down.

Philip P Lynch
Chairman, Farmers Against Foxhunting And Trespass
Callan, Co Kilkenny

Response to biased hunting article
Kilkenny People, February 2012

Dear Editor,

Having read the article on foxhunting in last weeks paper I was compelled to respond. As a rural dweller and as an individual opposed to fox hunting I found the article highly offensive. The article was one-sided and extremely biased in favour of hunting. Is the author of the article a journalist? Where was the objectivity, the counter argument, the balance? Sadly all of these elements were missing. I would suggest the paper invite one or more of the many animal welfare organisations opposed to foxhunting to be given the same space to present the other side of the argument, to give balance in support of journalistic integrity.

The article itself begins by describing the sight and sound of the mounted hunt to be one of the most spectacular sights to be seen in the Irish countryside. Roads blocked, jeeps and horse boxes parked wherever it suits, arrogant hunters who object at being asked to move, who obstruct the daily comings and goings of rural villages, roads and laneways. Family pets savaged by hunt hounds, terrified and persecuted wildlife, frustrated farmers and land owners disruption and chaos, ah yes a spectacular sight indeed! The detailed description of well dressed gentlemen in scarlet jackets, 'dressed to kill' one might say. The regurgitation of the tired old argument of tradition. Just because something existed in the past should it exist in modern progressive society?

The article mentions the 'terrier men' without going into their role too deeply. These protectors of the rural way of life, of country pursuits and 'field sports'. Whose role it is to flush out the exhausted fox who has finally found solace in an unblocked earth only to be dug out and 'dispatched' as stated in the article. Dispatched - what a lovely way to describe the senseless killing of a living creature, being clubbed to death or being thrown to the waiting pack of hounds. Again the article suggests this rarely if ever happens. However there are many documented accounts of such cruel and callous activity often by disgusted hunters themselves or by hunters visiting from the U.K. now that hunting is illegal there.

The author describes people who oppose hunting and its intrinsic animal cruelty as 'anti- country'. This is specifically offensive to the majority of both rural and urban people who have respect for all of God's creatures. The hunt attempt to present themselves as the voice of rural Ireland. The existence of organisations such as Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass is a direct contradiction to this assertion by the hunt. The hunting fraternity persistently attempt to detract away from the argument of animal cruelty to one of a simple urban/rural divide and misunderstanding on the part of those who live in urban areas. Never mentioned is the many voices of opposition within the rural community. I have seen many a 'Farmers Hunt' largely consist of D registered vehicles owned by urban folk who pay the hunt for the opportunity to be 'pretend' country people for a day.

This article is packed full of colourful propaganda in favour of hunting. Hunting is a self-regulated activity by the Irish Masters of Foxhunting Association. As for the arguments put forward around eating meat and wearing leather shoes, these issues and animal cruelty are entirely different. Most citizens are comfortable in the knowledge that their dinner has not been chased for miles, to the point of exhaustion, has not been dug out of the ground with a terriers teeth buried in its head or finally being 'dispatched' by a pack of hounds and torn limb from limb. The article refers to those who hunt as sports men or women. My interpretation of sport involves equally balanced opponents of similar abilities competing against one another. Hunting groups classify their activity as field sports. I consider field sport to be a good game of hurling with 15 players on either side. Hunting however involves only one fox pitted against dozens on horseback, packs of hounds, foot supporters and those who follow by car. Hunting horns, hounds barking frantically, horses galloping and cries of 'tally ho' - the fox must give it his all to evade this grossly uneven 'field sport'.

Oddly enough the article does highlight the importance of the fox in terms of its role in keeping down the number of rodents. Thus it is fair to say that the fox is in fact an ally to the farmer and the hunt which trespasses, damages crops, cuts up pastures, scatters livestock and damages expensive boundary fencing and ditches is not! In the same edition of the paper Sean Keane has an interesting article about how the fox is now evident around the city. The article suggests that the fox in its urban environment also plays an important role in keeping down the number of feral cats and rodents. What if this issue is raised as being a problem? Would urban dwellers have to endure what rural people suffer? Bring the hunt into the city to solve it. Block High Street with horse boxes, have packs of hounds run amok, have properties trespassed and damaged!

The article goes on to state the without the 'madra rua' the hunt would cease to exist. Again another biased statement. If hunts switched to the practice of 'drag hunting' then of course hunting would survive into the future. Many hunts now exclusively practice drag-hunting. Drag-hunting allows hunts to plan their route thus avoiding unnecessary trespass onto lands, scattering of livestock and of course removes the obvious animal cruelty aspects etc. With drag-hunting hunts would continue to provide employment via kennels etc and also encourage equestrian minded individuals to join the hunt with the exclusion of cruelty. Are some hunts opposed to drag-hunting because there is no 'kill' in a drag -hunt?

To conclude the article the author claims that it would be a pity if children were no longer to witness the picture postcard scene of the mounted hunt in full flight behind the hounds to the thrill of the hunting horn, such eloquent wording. More importantly children should be raised to respect the natural world around them, to respect other peoples property and to never wilfully inflict unnecessary suffering on a living creature, animal or human. Tally Ho indeed!

Darragh Fitzpatrick,
Co Carlow

Taking the hare out of coursing
Irish Examiner, February 03, 2012

I have no problem with greyhounds competing against each other, or with the camaraderie and mighty craic associated with coursing. What I object to is the use of hares and subjecting them to unnecessary suffering.

Muzzling, unfortunately, has not eliminated the cruelty from the practice. Hares can still be mauled by the dogs, pinned to the ground, forcibly struck by them, tossed about like playthings, or otherwise injured. Film footage has been recorded and is available showing such injury being inflicted. The hare is a brittle-boned creature and its internal injuries cannot heal. Injured hares have to be put down.

Why not replace the hare with a mechanical lure as in the other countries that once permitted the live version?

This replicates all the action and excitement of coursing but without the cruelty.

The upcoming Private Members Bill will focus much negative attention on the greyhound industry and on Ireland itself for allowing a practice banned in so many other jurisdictions. I suggest that before this happens the coursing fraternity consider making a truly sporting gesture.

If Republicans could take the gun out of Irish politics, then surely the "doggie" men can take the hare out of coursing!

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

A bad hare day
Metro Herald, 3rd February 2012

I would like to express my disgust at the photo on the front page of yesterday's edition of Metro Herald.

Why the editors chose to print a photo of a terrified and exhausted animal being chased and thrown into the air is beyond me.

The very image made me feel disgusted and sick to the stomach.

The fact that it was presented in a light-hearted way only deepened these feelings.

Hare coursing is classified as a 'blood sport' and should be treated with the same attitude as hunting or badger baiting, and showing photos such as this only serves to perpetuate this barbaric 'sport'.

Maria, Dublin

Course not
Metro Herald, 3rd February 2012

I'd have preferred not to see a picture of animal cruelty on the front of yesterday's Metro Herald. Just because coursing is referred to as a 'sport' doesn't make it right. You only glorified the cruelty being inflicted on these animals.


Coursing cruelty
Metro Herald, 1st February 2012

The only reason the dogs are wearing muzzles is because of the sheer persistence of animal welfare groups.

Previously, dogs were allowed to tear apart live hares - how would you like to look at that picture overy your breakfast?

There is nothing 'natural' about hare coursing. It was introduced to Ireland by the Black and Tans.

The hares are captured and then released, terrified and disorientated, into a fenced run in front of hundred of baying onlookers to be pursued by two trained, blooded greyhounds.

Too many people are either uninformed or hide behind the terms 'natural' or 'sport' to justify this barbaric 'pastime'.

Real Animal Lover,

26. Petitions

End Hare Coursing In Ireland
Stop badger culling and focus on a vaccination programme in Ireland
Stop the Bail-Out for Irish Dog Tracks
Lobby for the urgent need for updated Animal Welfare Legislation in Ireland
Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts
Ban Larsen Traps & Multi Corvid Traps
Keep the ban on foxhunting in the UK

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

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