Animal Voice Newsletter - Issue 11, 2012
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this month's edition:

01. Minister Coveney says he won't outlaw terrierwork barbarity
02. Call for outright ban on digging-out animals
03. Labour Party urged to push for bloodsports ban
04. It's "not appropriate" to outlaw cruelty: Simon Coveney
05. Don't accept an Animal Welfare Bill that allows cruelty
06. Animal Welfare Bill is the stuff of nightmares
07. Clonmel Councillor signs anti-coursing petition
08. Fianna Fail Vice President "strongly opposed" to cruelty
09. Eamon O Cuiv TD against digging out and terrierwork
10. TD Focus: Patrick Deering (Fine Gael, Carlow Kilkenny)
11. Claims Irish Coursing Club lost 1 million Euro due to cover up
12. Exposed: Priest's continued involvement in hare coursing
13. Report recommends continuation of cruel fur farming
14. John Banville: "I'm utterly against the foul practice of hare coursing"
15. Protest song: "Thou shalt not kill"
16. Renewed appeal: Boston College asked to remove hunting from directory
17. Sharon Shannon says "Adopt, Don't Buy"
18. Petition against Oscar nomination of Spanish bullfighting movie
19. TCD spent 368,000 Euro on animals for medical tests
20. Anti-hunt campaigner saves fox from hounds
21. New welfare bill will not ban animals performing in circuses – Coveney
22. Letters to Editors
23. Campaign Quotes
24. Petitions

01. Minister Coveney says he won't outlaw terrierwork barbarity

Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has stated that he will not outlaw the barbaric practice of digging out of foxes and the use of terriers to flush them out. At the committee stage of the Animal Health & Welfare Bill on November 22, amendments to remove the exemptions for hare coursing and fox hunting, put forward by Deputies Clare Daly and Maureen O’Sullivan, were voted down by the committee.

Minister Coveney tried to justify the barbarity of digging out foxes by referring to attacks on lambs. He said he had "spoken to many involved [presumably foxhunters and terriermen] to get a sense of what is happening on the ground" and that "the codes of conduct being implemented on a voluntary basis are fairly good."

"The question is whether we want to ensure that they will be legally enforceable," he added.

It’s hardly surprising that the hunters have told the Minister that their so-called code of conduct is working well and they are adhering to it. They have also clearly repeated to the Minister their ill-founded claims that foxes are a threat to sheep farming. ICABS has refuted this, pointing to lamb mortality statistics which show that fox predation is not a significant factor. The major causes of mortality are abortion/still-birth, exposure/starvation and disease.

A code that allows digging-out and the use of terriers to attack foxes should be firmly rejected by a Minister who insisted in May that he found such practices to be "unacceptable".

If Minister Coveney genuinely finds this indefensible animal cruelty unacceptable, there is only one course of action he must follow and that is to completely ban it.


Contact Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney now and demand that hunting and coursing exemptions are removed from the Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 and that a full ban on digging out and terrierwork is introduced.

Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
CC: (An Taoiseach)
Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Dear Minister Coveney,

I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' call on you to ensure that digging out and terrier work are among the activities outlawed under the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill. These horrendous acts of cruelty are carried out by sadistic individuals and also by merciless foxhunting groups. There is absolutely no excuse for this shameful animal abuse.

I urge you to ensure that the new Bill makes it an offence to dig out any animal, an offence to send terriers or other dogs below ground to catch or attack animals under any circumstances and an offence to use a pack of hounds to harass, attack, injure and/or kill any animal. I also urge you to outlaw hare coursing.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,


Contact all your local TDs today and urge them to back a ban on foxhunting, hare coursing, terrierwork, digging out and other forms of cruelty to animals. For TD contact details, click on Politicians at

02. Call for outright ban on digging-out animals

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is urging Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, to introduce an outright ban on the digging out of animals gone to ground. The call follows comments made by Minister Coveney during a Select Committee discussion on amendments to the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

The Minister indicated that he is considering a code of conduct for those engaged in the cruel practice which involves sending terriers underground to viciously attack foxes.

"We were very taken aback at your comments, during the committee session today," ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell stated in a letter to Minister Coveney. "The idea of a 'code of conduct' for an activity that is inherently and intrinsically cruel is nothing short of bizarre. Digging out a fox that is trying to save its life by going to ground during a hunt, and using terriers to flush the animal out, is cruel, by any basic standard of cruelty. It is inhumane on every level. It must not be allowed to continue under the new legislation."

We pointed to a foxhunting code of conduct introduced in 1999 following the release of a disturbing video showing the suffering caused to animals during digging-out and terrierwork. The video, filmed at a hunt in County Cork, shows a squealing fox being pulled from the ground with a terrier biting into its bleeding scalp.

That code's ‘Rules and Procedures for the Use of Hunt Terriers’ were completely and predictably worthless, given the fact that they do nothing to prevent any of the cruelty associated with digging out and terrierwork.

"Any further code of conduct will be similarly worthless," we told Minister Coveney. "It will not prevent the horrific suffering caused to foxes and dogs (photographs of which have been sent to Coveney). These people will not be controlled by a code of conduct. What is needed is a complete ban on these despicable activities and heavy penalties for those involved"

Earlier this year, the Agriculture Minister condemned digging out as "unacceptable". Speaking in the Seanad on 22 May during a Committee Stage debate on the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, he referred to "undue cruelty such as the digging out of animals when they have gone to ground, which is unacceptable." See video at

03. Labour Party urged to push for bloodsports ban

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Labour Party have been urged to act to stop the new Animal Welfare Bill from allowing some of Ireland's worst cruelty. The suffering caused to animals by coursing and hunting activities has been highlighted to Labour TDs.

"In its current form, the Bill allows some of Ireland's worst cruelty to continue, i.e. hare coursing, foxhunting, terrier-work, digging-out, etc," we pointed out. "Please support amendments to the Bill which are aiming to outlaw these appalling and unacceptable activities. Let history record that the Labour Party did everything possible to save Irish wildlife from the most appalling cruelty."

In its 2011 manifesto, the Labour Party outlined its commitment to helping Irish animals, saying "Labour will ensure that animal welfare is enhanced and protected, and will strengthen legislation on animal cruelty."

Please support us in our call by responding to the urgent action alert below.


Urge Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore, and his party colleagues to push for a ban on coursing, foxhunting, digging-out and terrierwork.

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
Email: (With a copy to Labour Party TDs)

04. It's "not appropriate" to outlaw cruelty: Simon Coveney

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said it's "not appropriate" to outlaw some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals. The Fine Gael Minister made the comment during a Dail speech on the Animal Health and Welfare Bill. Please join us in urging Coveney to reconsider his shameful stance.

Speaking in the Seanad on September 20th, Minister Coveney stated: "It is not appropriate to simply outlaw hare coursing and hunting when they are pursued according to the codes of conduct drawn up by clubs. Considerable numbers of people are passionate about these pursuits and my job is to ensure that standards are met rather than simply outlawing practices."

The Minister has been reminded that the codes of conduct referred to do nothing to eliminate the cruelty.


Tell Minister Coveney you are one of the considerable majority of Irish citizens who want hunting, coursing, terrierwork and digging-out banned and that it is very appropriate for him to ban cruelty in an "Animal Welfare" Bill.

Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

05. Don't accept an Animal Welfare Bill that allows cruelty

Don't accept an "Animal Welfare" Bill that allows hare coursing, foxhunting, digging-out and terrierwork. Please contact all your local TDs now and urge them to support upcoming amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 that seek to improve the Bill to protect animals from Ireland's worst acts of cruelty.

Watch our campaign video at

Phone TDs at 01-618 3000.
Email TDs from
Arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.
For more details, visit

06. Animal Welfare Bill is the stuff of nightmares

Sunday Independent, October 28 2012
by Fiona O’Connell

Halloween is when things go bump in the night. Or 'knock-knock' at the door, as children trick or treat. We were a mercenary bunch when I was at this caper, dumping rotten apples from the 'mean' houses and making a mental note for next year of the nice lady with the sweets.

But spooky stuff has been going on for weeks with the Animal Welfare Bill. Minister Coveney believes blood sports are acceptable because they happen "according to the codes of conduct drawn up by clubs" and "considerable numbers of people are passionate" about them.

So scaring creatures, often to death, is OK if you set ground rules. And love doing it. Creepy. Isn't there a danger overseas extremists might hear about this?

But they already have: hunting clubs are importing practitioners of ghoulish pastimes that are outlawed in their own countries.

Blood sports are big business. Foreign enthusiasts pay top dollar to haunt our wildlife. Which begs the question: is the money to be made out of the suffering of the fox and hare the real 'rural pursuit'?

For the issue of blood sports is always turned into a rural versus urban conflict. An attack on hare coursing is an attack on 'rural traditions'. City slickers should mind their own business.

Yet it's not true that all rural people support blood sports. There was considerable representation from rural communities at the Animal Rights Action Network rally this summer. They displayed not only compassion but also humour, bearing placards that read 'Culchies against Coursing' and 'Down With This Sort Of Thing'.

Why doesn't the minister heed these rural voices? He defines cruelty as causing unnecessary suffering to animals. But how can suffering that is inflicted purely for entertainment be 'necessary'?

Perhaps animal welfare issues should be decided by referendum. Animals, like children, depend on us for protection. If the Government won't fight its corner, shouldn't we?

Because Gandhi said you could judge a nation by the way it treats its animals. Blood sports don't just hurt our wildlife. They also send a message to the rest of the world, that we allow brutal pastimes to happen here that have been banned in most civilised countries.

It's time Minister Coveney heeded the feelings of the majority of Irish citizens -- not just vested parties who abuse our wildlife for fun.

Then the Animal Welfare Bill won't be a trick that betrays these creatures, but a genuine treat that honours them, and our reputation as a compassionate nation.

07. Clonmel Councillor signs anti-coursing petition

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has thanked Clonmel Borough Councillor, Helena McGee, for signing an anti-coursing petition. The Workers & Unemployed Action Group council member admirably added her name to the "Protect the Irish Hare" petition which highlights that the species is "cruelly exploited in hunting, coursing, and trapping practices".

ICABS has urged all the members of the Clonmel Council to join widespread calls for a ban on hare coursing and to work to rid their town of its annual coursing cruelty festival.

"The coursing finals event in Clonmel is the culmination of months of fear and suffering for Irish Hares," we stated. "Every season, official monitoring reports highlight the injuries and death caused to this most gentle of creatures. The hosting of coursing finals mark Clonmel out as one of the world's animal cruelty blackspots and represents a major blemish on the town's image."


Ask Councillor Helena McGee and the other members of Clonmel Borough Council to join calls on the government to outlaw coursing.
Email the Councillors Now

Sign the Petition: "Protect the Irish Hare!"
Sign Now

08. Fianna Fail Vice President "strongly opposed" to cruelty

Fianna Fail Vice President, Senator Mary White, has told the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that she is "strongly opposed to the cruelty and mistreatment of animals" and that she and her party will "do our best to address the issue".

Senator White was responding to correspondence from ICABS in which we highlighted the cruelty of bloodsports, including digging out and terrierwork. We presented photos showing horrendous injuries sustained by Irish foxes when terriers are sent below ground to attack them.

"I find the images provided disturbing and detest the vulgar activities you mentioned in the letter which go on out of public view in the secluded countryside," Senator White stated. "I feel this is an important issue and every politician and lover of animals has a responsibility to raise awareness among the public."

"I commend the Minister [Simon Coveney] for condemning these heartless acts of cruelty and support his statement referring to these activities, such as digging out, as 'unacceptable'," she added.

ICABS has thanked Senator White for her statement. We are asking her and party colleagues to urge Minister Coveney to act to ensure that digging out and terrierwork are among the cruelties outlawed under the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill.


Join us in urging Fianna Fail and all political parties to support the introduction of bans on hare coursing, foxhunting and all forms of cruelty to animals. Please contact the parties now, as well as your local TDs, and call on them to end cruelty.

Micheal Martin, TD
Leader, Fianna Fail
137 Evergreen Road,
Turner's Cross, Cork.

Tel: 021-432 00 88 (Constituency Office)
Tel: 01-618 3000 (Dail)

09. Eamon O Cuiv TD against digging out and terrierwork

ICABS has welcomed a statement from Eamon O Cuiv TD that he does not agree with the digging out of animals or the use of terriers to attack animals that have gone to ground. The Galway West TD expressed his opposition to these cruel activities during the Committee Stage of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill on 8th November.

Addressing Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, Deputy O Cuiv stated: "Will [the Minister] explain whether the use of canines for the hunting of any animal, digging out of any wild mammal gone to ground and the use of terriers to attack and extract the wild mammal above or below ground, is legally permissible? The Bill provides that unnecessary cruelty is not permitted. Is that issue covered in the Bill? I do not agree with that particular procedure but I do not have a problem with normal hunting. Nature can be quite cruel but that appears to be going too far. If the Bill is passed, will the digging out of foxes be legally permissible, given the other terms about cruelty to animals?"

In reply, Minister Coveney referred to the possibility of introducing a code of conduct for terriermen - a move ICABS views as absurd, given the inherent cruelty of digging out and terrierwork.

"The idea of a 'code of conduct' for an activity that is inherently and intrinsically cruel is nothing short of bizarre," we have told the Minister. "Digging out a fox that is trying to save its life by going to ground, and using terriers to flush the animal out, is cruel, by any basic standard of cruelty. It is inhumane on every level. It must not be allowed to continue under the new legislation."

ICABS is urging Deputy O Cuiv to reconsider his stance on foxhunting and coursing which, we have told him, also cause terrible suffering to our wildlife.


Thank Eamon O Cuiv TD for speaking out against terrierwork and digging out. Urge him to recognise the cruelty inherent in hunting and coursing and support efforts to secure a ban on these.

Eamon O Cuiv TD
Constituency Office
Kirwin House, Flood St.

Telephone: 091-562846
Mobile: 087-7711161
Fax: 091-562844

10. TD Focus: Patrick Deering (Fine Gael, Carlow Kilkenny)

Patrick Deering, TD is a member of the Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This committee recently voted down proposed amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to remove the exemptions for hare coursing and fox hunting...

Patrick Deering's director of elections in the 2011 General Election was Phil Meaney - "a member of the executive committee of the Irish Coursing Club and a member of the finance committee of the Irish Coursing Club" (Source Department of Agriculture website, 2011). Phil Meaney was subsequently appointed to the position of chairman of Bord na gCon. According to the Irish Independent of May 1st 2011, "The Government was in one hell of a hurry to appoint Mr Meaney to the top Bord na gCon job. [Agriculture Minister Simon] Coveney even admitted to having been politically lobbied, but insisted that was not a factor...Fine Gael Carlow TD, Pat Deering, conceded that he had lobbied on behalf of Mr Meaney."

11. Claims Irish Coursing Club lost 1 million Euro due to cover up

Tipp FM, 22 November, 2012

Former ICC accountant takes case to Employment Appeals Tribunal.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal has heard that the Clonmel based Irish Coursing Club lost up to 1 million Euro because of a cover up.

County Cork based accountant Edmund O'Brien has taken a case against the club over his dismissal nearly 3 years ago.

Journalist Conor Kane reports that the President of the Irish Coursing Club Brian Divilly told the tribunal that an internal investigation showed the clubs books had been manipulated to allow a former chief executive spend funds on his "personal lifestyle".

Edmund O'Brien was initially suspended in September of 2009 and subsequently dismissed in January of 2010 because he had falsified accounts according to Brian Divilly.

Read more reports about this court case at

12. Exposed: Priest's continued involvement in hare coursing

A greyhound owned by a Catholic priest is listed as a runner-up at Borris-in-Ossory coursing meet (November 2012). Fr Dan Dunne, of Ballyadams Parish, Co. Laois, is said to be the owner and breeder of the dog.

In 2010, a complaint was made to Church authorities after it emerged Fr Dunne was acting as chairman of a coursing development committee that "has been busy organising the Irish Coursing Club Stand [at the Ploughing Championships festival]"

At the time, ICABS stated: "It is utterly shameful that a Catholic priest should be promoting and developing a barbaric activity which has no place in a civilised society and should be long since banned. Not only that, he is in direct contravention of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which clearly states that 'it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly.'"

See images of hares desperately running for their lives at the Borris-in-Ossory coursing meet (Note: This is a link to a pro-coursing website)


Contact the VERY Reverend Dan Dunne. Ask him to show compassion for the Irish hare, one of the gentlest of God's creatures, and end his involvement in the cruel bloodsport of coursing.

Tullamoy, Stradbally, Co. Laois.
Tel: 059-8627123

Demand that the Bishops' Conference act to end clergy involvement in activities involving cruelty to animals.

Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Columba Centre
Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3000
Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6401

13. Report recommends continuation of cruel fur farming

A Department of Agriculture report relating to the cruel fur farming industry has this month been published. The report outlines that, shamefully, a review group "concluded that it did not find the arguments in favour of banning the farming of fur animals in Ireland compelling" and that it therefore "recommends that fur farming be allowed continue".

You can read the report at


Continue demanding a ban on fur farming in Ireland. Contact Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney now.


Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01 661 1013 and 021 437 4862


Dear Minister Coveney,

I support a total ban on fur farming and an immediate closure of Ireland's fur farms.

In these hellholes, animals suffer a horrendous life of misery before being cruelly gassed to death. There is absolutely no justification for the continuation of this cruelty.

Please ban fur farming now.

Yours sincerely,


Witness the cruelty of fur farming in Ireland

14. John Banville: "I'm utterly against the foul practice of hare coursing"

A new ICABS online poster features a quote from award-winning Irish author and playwright, John Banville. Mr Banville has expressed his total opposition to hare coursing, condemning it as a "foul practice".

See the poster at

15. Protest song: "Thou shalt not kill"

Listen to "Thou shalt not kill", a powerful anti-hunting protest song by Don Rosenbaum -


The wild hog asked the deer why do they kill us,
tell me what have we done to deserve so much pain.
They skin us first and after that they'll grill us
as if from the start our birth was in vain.
How can a life that comes in jubilation
be ended so mean and so cruel?
We animals, we were the first creation,
we are living by the rule and for harmony we strive
all our life...

And so it is not royal and far from loyal to all
who are human still, Thou shalt not kill....

The deer then asked the fox why do they chase us
we've done nothing wrong to be struck by a fist.
They mercilessly beat us and erase us
as if we have not the right to exist.
How can a man of honour be so blinded
and how can this bloodshed still be?
When man wants peace I'm sure he's gonna find it,
there's beauty all around, for all creatures he can see
so let it be ...

And so it is not royal and far from loyal to all
who are human still...

Thou shalt not kill for no reason,
so live your life in harmony.
With all the creatures all around
there's nothing better to be found
to give your love to and your sympathy,
it's meant to be...

And so it is not royal and far from loyal
to all who are human still, Thou shalt not kill...

Find out more about Don and his music at

16. Renewed appeal: Boston College asked to remove hunting from directory

Boston College Ireland has been urged to remove hunting from its Irish Sporting Heritage website directory. In a message to the college, ICABS stated: "Terrorising a defenceless animal and encouraging a pack of hounds to rip it to pieces is not sport. It's animal cruelty."

In relation to one of the hunts listed, information is given about meet days, ie "the hunt meet twice weekly, on Wednesday and Saturday, throughout the hunting season which lasts from October to April."

As part of our appeal to Boston College, we have invited them to view our foxhunting cruelty video.


Ask Boston College to exclude hunting from its Irish Sporting Heritage project.

Dr Roisín Higgins,
Irish Sporting Heritage,
Boston College-Ireland,
42 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

Tel: +353 (1) 614 7452

Leave a comment on the Irish Sporting Heritage Facebook Page

17. Sharon Shannon says "Adopt, Don't Buy"

Source: Animal Rights Action Network

Sharon Shannon got the press flashbulbs going off like firecrackers on Galway's Shop Street during her ARAN ad unveiling to encourage people to Adopt and Never Buy! In the new ad campaign, the staunch vegetarian and animal lover poses cheek to cheek with Foxy and Lilly, just two of her many rescued companions - watch the video at

The ad aims to raise awareness about the Irish problem of homeless and abandoned animals and encourages members of the public to adopt a loving animal from their local pound or animal shelter where lots of animals are in need of a good home.

18. Petition against Oscar nomination of Spanish bullfighting movie

Source: CAS International

The Spanish movie Blancanieves (Snow White) is in the race for the award of Best Foreign Language Film in the Oscars of 2013.

Blancanieves is a silent, black and white movie in which bullfighting plays a major role: several scenes with bullfighting have been recorded for this film. From various sources we know that multiple bulls have been used: while the bullfights were filmed, a number of the bulls have been maltreated and finally killed in the arena where the movie was recorded.

CAS International, together with the Spanish platform La Tortura No Es Cultura, the international organisation Animal Defenders International, and the Dutch internet community PiepVandaag, have launched a petition to request the committee for the Best Foreign Language Film to reject Blancanieves.

Please sign the petition

19. TCD spent 368,000 Euro on animals for medical tests

Irish Independent, November 19 2012

Live animals are increasingly being experimented on by Irish scientists, despite controversy over the practice.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent show researchers in Trinity College spent more than 368,000 Euro on live animals in only 12 months to use in tests aimed at treating disease in humans.

The figure is more than double what was spent the previous year.

Dogs, pigs, rabbits, mice and rats have been used in the university's medical experiments, but there is pressure from the EU to find other ways of conducting tests.

The Trinity figures show the huge cost of "maintenance and welfare" during the same period, bringing the bill to 665,102 Euro.

Between October 2011 and last September the university bought 15 pigs, 20,094 mice and 6,579 rats for use in its labs.

The animals are tested as part of the exploration of treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and genetic disorders.

The university said any research carried out on animals requires the prior licensing of the person and the project by the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly.

A Trinity spokesman said all animal experimentation applications are "ethically reviewed" by its Animal Research Committee which ensures whether there is legitimate "scientific justification" for the proposed work.

However, the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society, which is campaigning for an end to the use of live animals, argues that animal experimentation "allows the infliction of pain and suffering".

They fear that animals are placed under undue pain and distress in the name of science, and insist that it is still too easy to resort to using live creatures when alternative means of experimentation should be explored.

From January 1, the EU Directive will mean alternative testing methods should be used if they can produce equally valid results.

The Department of Health said that while it is desirable to replace the use of animals in scientific procedures, these tests continue to be necessary.

- Mark O'Regan

20. Anti-hunt campaigner saves fox from hounds

Watch dramatic video footage showing an English anti-hunt campaigner saving a fox from hunt hounds.

Hunt monitors, led by Judy Gilbert, said if they had not been there the dogs would have killed the fox.

Watch the BBC News report at

In a separate video, also filmed this month, a fox can be seen being bitten and mauled during a hunt.

Foxhunting with hounds was outlawed in the UK in 2004.

21. New welfare bill will not ban animals performing in circuses – Coveney, 26 November 2012

The new Animal Health and Welfare Bill will strengthen obligations placed upon animal keepers and owners in terms of food, housing and general care – but will not place a ban on animals performing in circuses, Minister Simon Coveney has confirmed.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who has brought the bill forward, said it will include welfare issues relating to animals in circuses – which until now has been covered by the Protection of Animals Acts 1911 and 1965.

While the new legislation will see greater responsibilities placed on those caring for animals it will not extend to banning the practice of including animals in circus performances, Coveney confirmed in response to a Parliamentary Question on the matter. Robert Dowds TD had requested Coveney to make statement on "his plans to amend the law to make it illegal for circuses to hold performing animals in captivity and use them as part of their performance".

Coveney said: "With regard to animals performing in circuses, I do not intend to interfere with legitimate recreational and sporting events, including the use of animals in circuses, provided they are carried out in a proper manner and no unnecessary suffering of the animals is involved."

22. Letters to Editors

Protecting the Irish hare
Irish Times, October 25, 2012

Sir, – While welcoming Minister for Arts and Heritage Jimmy Deenihan’s consideration of a ban on the hunting of Kerry red deer and the curlew, I would urge him to go a step further, because this is the same Minister who a few months ago issued a licence permitting the capture of hares in our countryside for live coursing events.

The Irish hare, like the Kerry red deer, is a precious part of our wildlife heritage. It is, in fact, our longest-established mammal, a sub-species unique to Ireland that has been around since the last Ice Age. This iconic creature has disappeared from many districts and has taken a major hit from loss of habitat resulting from modern agriculture and urbanisation. Ireland’s official Red Data Book on flora and fauna lists the Irish hare as a threatened species.

Obviously, the people who got their kicks from targeting and killing curlews and Kerry red deer had little or no political clout, and nobody to effectively argue their case in the corridors of power, as the coursing clubs have done over the years.

There is no excuse for the continued legally of hare coursing, a practice in which these gentle creatures are snatched from their habitats, and then terrorised for the twisted pleasure of humans. Many endure savage mauling or broken bones that cannot heal when the dogs catch up with them. Others may die post-coursing of capture myopathy, a stress-related condition affecting a number of wild species. What have they ever done to deserve this?

Instead of pandering to the coursing lobby, the politicians might for once do what is right as distinct from what is politically expedient and extend complete protection to the hare. That may be a vain hope, given the nature of politics, but I believe the safeguarding of its place in our heritage and ecosystem should take precedence over the “needs” of those who confuse organised cruelty to animals with sport. – Yours, etc,

John Fitzgerald,
Lower Coyne Street,
Callan, Co Kilkenny.

23. Campaign Quotes

Clare Daly TD said she had no problem with circuses that didn’t use animals, "but exploiting animals is certainly a different thing". She also described hare coursing as "appalling" and rejected the claim that it was a rural tradition. "It was a tradition to throw people to the lions in the Colosseum on a Friday night in downtown Rome. It didn’t mean it was a worthy activity." Maureen O’Sullivan TD said there were "huge issues" about fur farms. "In a so-called developed world, that we are killing animals for their fur, it’s just appalling." Irish Times, November 23, 2012

"I live in a rural area and I hate hunting; it is so cruel. Those who enjoy hurting animals should seriously take a long look in the mirror because there is something very wrong somewhere with them." Comment left on ICABS Facebook page,

"The people in this video are the most vile, cruellest and despicable people I have ever seen. You are absolutely disgusting to be taking part in such activity. What on earth makes sickos like this enjoy such torture?" Comment left in response to an ICABS anti-foxhunting campaign video, November 2012.

"I used to love drag hunting, it was a chance to let my horse have a good 'blow-out' over a well planned route, trying his best to outrun all the others, people dressed up and having fun. And because of the planned route there was no chance of going onto land where a hunt was not welcome and causing damage. There is no need for live hunts at all." Comment left on ICABS Facebook Page, 8th November 2012.

"We also need a ban on blood sports in this country. It is a barbaric outdated practice to hunt down mink, hares, fox in a so called ‘sport’ merely for the amusement of humans. And please don’t bother tell me it’s for the good of the countryside.! I have seen defenceless animals torn apart piece by piece which a group of grown men and women stand by and cheer...I have worked on a voluntary basis in animal welfare for over 15 years and the majority of cruelty cases do not make it to the paper. Animals are abandoned, killed and drowned on an almost daily basis in Ireland. And let’s not forget about retired greyhounds who are found in every pound in Ireland or abandoned to live in appalling conditions because they can no longer make money by racing for their owners! It is sickening to see how people disregard their pets and animals like pieces of litter and expect others to pick up the pieces." Mary, Comment on, 8th November 2012

"A hunt master hurled racist abuse at a black anti-blood sports protester...a court heard. David Lee Peters, 33, hurled insults at a group of ‘saboteurs’ who gathered in 4x4 vehicles to voice their protests at a meet in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, on January 7...he was arrested when the anti-hunting group told officers about the alleged racist slur. Today Peters, from Ross-on-Wye, appeared before Hereford Magistrates Court charged with racially aggravated harassment." Daily Mail, 14th November 2012

A lurcher dog began to eat the corpse of another lurcher that was lying dead in a kennel, the trial of a man accused of animal cruelty heard yesterday. Peter Conlon, 29, of Waterville Crescent, Dundalk, had pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty and permitting a carcass to remain unburied in February last year. Dundalk District Court heard how Gardai saw two dogs in the garden and "the first dog had started to eat the carcass of the dead dog." Irish Sun, 25th October 2012

"We have been discussing what we, as a Parish Community, can do to participate in this event [The Gathering]...We also hope in the final quarter of the year to see a number of smaller gathering events to celebrate handball, squash, coursing..." Urlingford Community column, Kilkenny People, 23rd November 2012.

"This year’s Coursing fixture at Ballymeelish, Green Roads will be a three day event and will take place in conjunction with Thurles Coursing Club on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday November 20, 21 and 22. Hare catching continues each Sunday, meeting at Kirwan’s, Esso at 10am. Anyone requiring further details on hare catching, please contact Liam on 087-2861955 or Edmund on 087-6890937 or Canice on 087-2071267." Leinster Express, 23 November 2012

I hope this nightmarish cruelty is brought to an end. I've seen hares at one event crawling away to die after being mauled and pinned to the ground by the dogs, and they called this "sport". Comment left on in response to "New political push against hare coursing". February 1, 2012

A woman who watched her husband being knocked down by a car as suspected hare-coursers fled a field in Suffolk says she thought he had been killed. Police believe the man, who is in his 60s and wants to remain anonymous, was deliberately hit with the car on Sunday morning as the offenders driving a Subaru sped away from land in Hitcham...Suffolk Police says it is looking for a blue 'T' registration Subaru, which may be "extensively damaged". BBC News, 12 November 2012.

"The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today confirmed the appointment of Mr Phil Meaney as chairperson of Bord na gCon...Mr Meaney has also been a member of the executive committee of the Irish Coursing Club (for the past four years) and a member of the finance committee of the Irish Coursing Club." Department of Agriculture website, 13 April 2011

Debate over what constitutes animal cruelty, especially in relation to the practice of docking the tails of dogs, may become heated when the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, 2012, returns to the Dail for a final reading. Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has been under pressure from some rural organisations to allow tail-docking to continue for certain working/hunting dogs, as puppies, so as to prevent future possible injury. Animal welfare groups and veterinary practitioners support the introduction of a ban...Tail injuries to working dogs are said to be much lower than those caused to puppies by botched procedures. The Veterinary Council of Ireland opposes the practice. Mr Coveney should take note. Irish Times - November 13, 2012

24. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now

Ask An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Ban Hare Coursing

Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

End Cruel Blood Sport of Fox Hunting in Ireland

Stop DoneDeal Selling Animals

Tell AVIVA Ireland not to Promote Greyhound Racing in Advertisements

Stop badger culling and focus on a vaccination programme in Ireland

Stop Oscar nomination of Spanish bullfighting movie

Don't Show Bullfights on Public TV!

Ban the use of animals in Irish circuses

Ask Amazon to stop selling cruel traps

Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts

Ban Larsen Traps & Multi Corvid Traps

Say NO to the cruel Toro de Fuego ("bull on fire") event in Spain

Protect Elephants from Ivory Poaching

Stop Bear Farming In Asia

1 Million to Ban the Lion Trade

The horror of Tesco selling live, packaged turtles in their supermarkets

Top ways you can help the campaign

Top ways you can help the campaign
Join our email list and respond to our Action Alerts
Become a campaign supporter and make a donation to help fund our efforts
Contact your local politicians and ask them to support a ban on blood sports
Be our friend on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter and Youtube
Sign up for our free text alert service and receive occasional campaign updates to your phone
Link to our website and display one of our banners
Monitor blood sports meetings in your area and provide us with photos, video and reports.
Write a letter to your local newspaper about the cruelty of blood sports
Sign and collect signatures for our petitions
Organise a fund-raiser to help raise funds for the campaign
Set up an online anti-blood sports group (Myspace, Bebo, Facebook, etc) to cover your area.
Download, print and display our posters and leaflets
Set up an information stand at your school/library/youth group/adult group, etc
Introduce your friends to our website and encourage them to get involved.
Simply keeping your ear to the ground. about any blood-sport related incidents in your area.

Keep hunters off your land

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

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

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

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Make a donation to ICABS

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

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