Animal Voice, Issue 12, December 2012
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this month's edition:

01. Happy Christmas from all at ICABS
02. Clergy out of Cruelty: Please sign our new petition
03. Animal Voices Radio: The Fight to Ban Blood Sports in Ireland
04. Four months detention for man who threw rabbit in Liffey
05. Dramatic and on-going decline in Irish hare numbers
06. Farmers take court action over hunter's paedophile accusation
07. Quaker Concern support calls for bloodsport ban
08. Fiona O'Connell: This savage behaviour is a bloody disgrace
09. Death of ICABS founder member Hilda Allen
10. The politician, the priest and the millionaire's wife
11. Ask Westmeath newsagents to stop selling foxhunt calendar
12. Pizza prank politician returns "distasteful" ICABS appeal
13. Costa Rica passes law banning hunting as a sport
14. Ask Johnston Press to keep coursing out of sports pages
15. Netherlands to ban fur farming - but not until 2024
16. Dail Q&A: Fur farming won't be banned in Ireland
17. Anti-fur protest - Saturday 22nd December 2012
18. TD Focus: John McGuinness (Fianna Fail, Carlow Kilkenny)
19. Investigation begins after injured buzzard found
20. Video: Hare chased through saturated coursing field
21. Letters to Editors
22. Campaign Quotes
23. Petitions

01. Happy Christmas from all at ICABS

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2013.

We wish all our friends & supporters a very happy, healthy holiday!

Thank you for all your support throughout the year. We look forward to your continued support in the new year.

02. Clergy out of Cruelty: Please sign our new petition

Please sign our new petition calling on the Bishop of Kerry to end clergy involvement in cruel hare coursing and to stop the inclusion of coursing in the parish newsletter.

03. Animal Voices Radio: The Fight to Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

Source: Animal Voices website -

In 2010, John Fitzgerald spoke with Animal Voices about hare coursing, a "sport" in which captured wild hares are made to run for their lives from greyhounds. Now, Fitzgerald returns to tell us about a landmark event in animal protection in Ireland: the first updates to anti-cruelty laws in over a century.

Animal advocates want the new law to ban hare coursing and fox hunting. These blood sports have more victims than just the hares and foxes: the greyhounds sent after the hares, and the terriers sent into holes to kill hiding foxes, also suffer for the sake of human entertainment.

The pro-animal campaigners have some powerful allies, such as politicians Maureen O'Sullivan and Clare Daly, and even Prime Minister Enda Kenny has admitted a personal dislike of hare coursing. The pro-blood sports lobby, however, is well-funded and has attracted a range of allies from hunters to Spanish bullfighters, who fear that their practices may be the next to go if hare coursing and fox hunting are outlawed.

Listen to the John Fitzgerald interview at

04. Four months detention for man who threw rabbit in Liffey

Man locked up for rabbit river toss
Irish Independent, December 04 2012

A youth has been sentenced to four months' detention for throwing a homeless man's rabbit into a river.

The animal's owner, John Byrne, had been begging on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge when his pet Barney was snatched from his arms and callously thrown into the River Liffey.

The 37-year-old risked his life by jumping in after his beloved pet and giving him the kiss of life before both were rescued by firefighters.

Gary Kearney pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to animal cruelty and torture.

The 20-year-old, who is originally from Crumlin, also admitted breach of the peace during the incident on July 3, 2011.

Sentencing Kearney, Judge Bryan Smyth said it was a serious matter.

Outside the court, Mr Byrne, who has been living on the streets for 23 years, said he was in shock when he saw his pet swimming around in circles, looking up at him.

"I wasn't going to leave him there," he said. "I had to get him, I had to jump in to get him. Barney died in my arms. I got him under the bridge and gave him the kiss of life."

Within days he was given a Compassionate Citizen Award for going above and beyond the call of duty to help an animal in need.

His story touched the hearts of thousands of people nationwide, with many offering donations and food.

Press Association

05. Dramatic and on-going decline in Irish hare numbers

The Irish Hare Initiative has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to retract his claim that the "hare population is significantly increasing".

Coveney made the statement in the Dail after pointing to hare surveys which estimated that Irish hares in the Republic numbered approximately 233,000 in early 2006 and 535,000 in early 2007.

"Whilst the figures you quote are correct, your assertion that the 'hare population is significantly increasing' is without foundation and extremely misleading," Mike Rendle of the Irish Hare Initiative stated in a letter to the Minister. "Indeed the most recent and robust time-series data suggest that our Irish hare population continues to suffer a definite downward trend."

He continued: "The increase quoted in the period 2006-2007 is not exceptional for Irish hares given the cyclical nature of their population trend. Indeed such an increase may be predicted every three years. However, the decrease in each cycle is greater than the increase thus resulting in a net reduction in hare numbers. This pattern is supported by other, quite separate, time-series hare counts. So, notwithstanding a regular and predictable cyclic component to current Irish hare dynamics, the population is experiencing an on-going downward trend. As the [accompanying] graph clearly shows, counts of Irish hares have fallen by 50 per cent since 2004."

The Belfast-based Irish Hare Initiative has called for an end to the persecution of hares.

"Given the dramatic and on-going decline in hare numbers, any activity such as coursing that is likely to place unnecessary pressure on this already vulnerable species should be reviewed and outlawed," they told Minister Coveney. "The Northern Ireland Assembly has already outlawed hare coursing and we would like to see the most robust protection given to this declining species throughout our island."

Visit the Irish Hare Initiative website at

06. Farmers take court action over hunter's paedophile accusation

Two farmers have taken a defamation case against a Kilkenny Hunt chairman after he allegedly accused them of being 'a pair of paedophiles'.

Kilkenny Circuit Court heard this month that Hubert and Norman Daniels of Rathielty, Rathmoyle, Kilkenny took the action against hunt chairman Edward (Ned) Norris of Danesrath, Knocktopher after he allegedly called the brothers 'a pair of paedophiles' on November 12th, 2004.

The Irish Independent of December 4th 2012 reported:

Hubert Daniels said that on November 12, 2004 he was "encircled" by the defendant when the hunt was in the area. "He shoved his face into my face and, at one point, his nose came in contact," he said. He was "frightened", he said, and subsequently heard Mr Norris saying that he and his brother were "a pair of paedophiles". His counsel, Shane English, asked how he felt about this, and Mr Daniels said: "I felt that hatred, wickedness and evil had come into my presence. I felt devastated, dehumanised, degraded, down to the level of a dirty paedophile. Mr Norris had "stated that myself and my brother are a pair of paedophiles, one of the most evil creatures on this earth, in my opinion".

The court case was adjourned until February 4th, 2013.

For more details on the case, read the following media reports:

Irish Independent
Head of oldest hunt denies calling brothers paedophiles

Kilkenny People
Brothers take action over paedophile accusation

Irish Times
Farmers allege defamation by Kilkenny Hunt chairman over 'paedophile' slur

07. Quaker Concern support calls for bloodsport ban

Quaker Concern for Animals ( has joined calls for an Irish ban on digging out and terrierwork.

Group spokesperson Marian Hussenbux reminded Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore about a 2011 manifesto commitment that his Labour Party "will ensure that animal welfare is enhanced and protected and will strengthen legislation on animal cruelty."

ICABS thanks Quaker Concern for Animals for their support.

08. Fiona O'Connell: This savage behaviour is a bloody disgrace

Sunday Independent
December 9th 2012

Animals are part of our lives, from pets to the less fortunate that become dinner. Both jockeys and big bets ride on the backs of horses, while some steal furry creatures' coats.

The Minister for Agriculture is responsible for their welfare, as well as for the rest of a sector that's particularly important in this country. Perhaps that's not fair on him. But it's increasingly obvious that it's not fair on the animals.

Take blood sports, which most people here abhor. Yet Simon Coveney believes it isn't "appropriate" to outlaw them. But even he recognised that certain practices were beyond the pale when he referred to the "undue cruelty" of digging out and terrier work. Last May he deemed them "unacceptable".

But now he's had a change of heart. He thinks "the codes of conduct being implemented on a voluntary basis are fairly good". Apparently "the question is whether we want to ensure that they will be legally enforceable".

It looks like the minister is pandering, yet again, to a powerful lobby. And trying to fob off the rest of us with empty words. For no "code of conduct'' changes the fact that allowing the digging out of an animal that's trying to save its life by going to ground during a hunt, and using terriers to flush it out, is brutally cruel. Even pro-blood sports politicians like Eamon O Cuiv condemn it.

Indeed, Fianna Fail vice-president Senator Mary White reacted strongly when the Irish Council Against Blood Sports presented her with photos showing the savage reality of these activities.

"I find the images provided disturbing and detest the vulgar activities...which go on out of public view in the secluded countryside," she stated. "Every politician and lover of animals has a responsibility to raise awareness."

The committee which voted down proposed amendments to the Bill that sought to remove exemptions for hare coursing and fox hunting includes Fine Gael TD Patrick Deering. He lobbied for his former Director of Elections, Phil Meaney, to be appointed to the position of chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board. Meaney is a member of the Executive Committee of the Irish Coursing Club. Coveney has admitted to having been politically lobbied on his behalf, though he insisted this was not a factor in Meaney's appointment.

Perhaps we need a minister solely for animal welfare. We could afford it, if we culled a few 'committees'. Ironically, they remind me of the ones in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Because it's time to replace the 'Napoleon' and 'Snowball' power pigs with an honest 'Boxer', who will work like a horse on behalf of all the 'Four Legs' of Ireland.

09. Death of ICABS founder member Hilda Allen

We are sad to report that the death has taken place of ICABS founder member, Hilda Allen. Inspirational anti-blood sports campaigner, Hilda, passed away on Saturday, November 24th 2012 at the age of 93.

Hilda and her husband, Sean, from Dublin, were a formidable duo in the campaign to outlaw hare coursing all through the 60s and 70s. Sean died in 1979, and Hilda carried on campaigning for many more years.

Hilda and Sean recruited many leading lights into the campaign, including celebrities such as comedienne Maureen Potter, actors Des Perry (of Tolka Row fame) and John Cowley (of the Riordans).

They co-ordinated a huge logistic undertaking in 1976, collecting in excess of 100,000 signatures for a petition against hare coursing, the largest petition in the history of the state at that time, which was presented to the government.

Sadly Hilda didn't live to see the end of hare coursing or foxhunting, but was gratified to see otter hunting and the Ward Union deer hunt banned.

ICABS will continue to carry on the work that Hilda and Sean began, and hopefully in the not too distant future, the campaign that they devoted their lives to will at last triumph, and we will see these cruel activities outlawed.

May Hilda rest in peace.

10. The politician, the priest and the millionaire's wife

Among those linked to the tawdry coursing scene in recent weeks are a politician, a priest and the wife of multi-millionaire, JP McManus.

At the Knockgraffon coursing meet in November, the owner of a winning greyhound is listed as The Coalition Syndicate. ICABS can reveal that one of the members of this syndicate is Tipperary South Fine Gael TD, Tom Hayes. Hayes who was last year photographed at a foxhunt meet is on record as saying "I love what is good in rural Ireland, whether it is coursing, hunting hares, beagling or whatever."

In February 2012, he announced that "1 million Euro has been secured for the redevelopment of Clonmel Greyhound Stadium following discussions with Bord na gCon", adding that he expected to see the entire project "completed in time for the 2013 coursing season".

The owner of a runner-up greyhound ("Bridie's Dashing") at the same coursing meet is listed as Catholic priest, Fr Maurice Brick. Despite complaints to church authorities, Brick has remained involved in the activity. He first came to the attention of ICABS in 1999 when his greyhound won the coursing finals in Clonmel.

Responding to criticism at the time, he refused to acknowledge the cruelty. Speaking on the Pat Kenny Radio Show, he outlined how a former parish priest acquired a dog for him in 1994 and that he has since been involved in what he described as the "whole phenomena" of coursing.

He went on to claim that those in his parish who are opposed to live hare coursing would "respect my involvement in it [because] of the fact that it is well intentioned". One caller into the show, however, reflected what might perhaps be a more likely response from such parishioners. Caller John's remark was: I am amazed that a priest condones blood sports - If I was in that parish, I would refuse to attend Mass officiated by Fr Brick.

Brick is said to have named a coursing dog after his housekeeper. One courser is quoted as saying "Fr Maurice Brick was a curate, and he used call all his dogs "Curate this", or "Curate that", but he was promoted to parish priest there lately. Now he has a dog called "Parish Chart", and the bitch, "Bridie's Best". Bridie was his housekeeper, and she'd look after his dogs when he couldn't do it himself."

Brick is currently based in the Lixnaw Parish in County Kerry. The Lixnaw coursing club lotto results are regularly featured in the parish newsletter.

Meanwhile, "Mister Music" - the winning greyhound at last month's Thurles coursing meet - is listed as being owned by Mrs Noreen McManus. A photo showing a hare desperately trying to escape from her greyhound can be viewed at (Note: this is a link to a pro-coursing website)

Noreen McManus is the wife of millionaire businessman and coursing sponsor JP McManus. Earlier this year, at a coursing meeting sponsored by JP McManus, ICABS monitors filmed hares being terrorised and hit - See footage below.

Fleeing hares could be seen trying to evade capture but on several occasions, they were unsuccessful. The dogs battered them, pinned them to the ground and mauled their delicate bodies. Their pitiful cries were clearly audible. ICABS has called on McManus to end his sponsorship.


Contact these individuals and ask them to show compassion for Irish wildlife and end their involvement in cruel hare coursing.

Tom Hayes, TD
Upper Gladstone Street, Clonmel
Co Tipperary
Tel: +353 (0)1-6183168 / +353 (0)62 62892

Rev. Maurice Brick
Lixnaw, Co. Kerry
Tel: +353 (0)66-7132111. Fax: +353 (0)66-7132171

JP and Noreen McManus
c/o Martinstown Stud
Martinstown, Kilmallock, Co Limerick
Tel: +353 (0)63 88088 Fax: +353 (0)63 88084

11. Ask Westmeath newsagents to stop selling foxhunt calendar

Ask Day's Bazaar Mullingar - Tel: (044) 934 8251 Email: - and Cards n Things Mullingar - Tel: 044-9345494 - to stop selling a Westmeath Foxhunt calendar. The calendar includes a photo of a fox with its tongue hanging out.

If you are aware of any other shops selling this or other bloodsports calendars, please let us know.

12. Pizza prank politician returns "distasteful" ICABS appeal

Cork TD Michael McCarthy ( who was this month slammed for playing a cruel pizza delivery prank on Mattie McGrath has been challenged by ICABS after he returned correspondence in which we urged him to back a ban on Ireland's worst animal cruelty.

As part of our campaign to outlaw foxhunting, the digging out of foxes and the use of terriers to flush them out, we wrote to every single Minister, TD and Senator in the Oireachtas, appealing to them to support an amendment to ban this barbarity in the new Animal Health & Welfare Bill. To leave no doubt about the suffering involved, we enclosed photographs of injured Irish dogs and foxes.

Instead of expressing sympathy for the plight of the animals and offering to help, the Cork South West Labour TD, put our letter and photographs back into an envelope and sent them back. His accompanying curt message was: "If the purpose of this letter was to get my attention, then it worked. Very distasteful. Michael."

On phoning Deputy McCarthy's office to ask why he had returned our mail, a member of his staff proffered the view that we had "crossed the line" in sending the images and lectured us on how to correctly approach a TD.

We have since asked Deputy McCarthy, given that he took such offence to the images, if he had contacted the Minister for Agriculture and encouraged him to ban the digging out of foxes. He has not replied.

ICABS stands by its decision to send out the photos, particularly as there is an Animal Welfare Bill progressing through the Oireachtas, and we desperately need to let our elected representatives know about the horrific reality of what is happening on the ground in terms of cruelty to animals.

Last weekend, the Irish Independent reported that Deputy McCarthy was the TD who made a hoax phone call from the Dail Bar to Mattie McGrath TD on Friday, December 7. Deputy McGrath received the call while staging a sit-in at the HQ of the Friends First Finance Company, following an incident involving the attempted repossession of a tractor from a family farm in Wexford.

The report went on to say that McCarthy fooled McGrath with his impersonation of a pizza delivery man. "People have taken it in very bad taste that they were trying to make an eejit of me, especially on pre-Budget night," Mr McGrath was quoted as saying. "Instead of being inside lobbying the Minister for Finance about child benefit and carers, this was all they were doing, warming their a***s off the fire and pranking me."

A representative for Farm Contractors of Ireland, who was involved in the stand-off at Friends First, said he was "disgusted" with McCarthy and the other TDs who were in on the prank. "They should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

McCarthy was linked to more bad publicity earlier this month after Gardai were called to his Dunmanway constituency office to "deal with" a lone protester who attempted to photograph her placard in front of the building. The home-made placard displayed the message: "My disabled son needs 24/7/365 care. I get one hour and eight minutes help per day. I do ALL the rest, every day of every week of every year. Slashing the RESPITE GRANT is INHUMAN."

The Cork West Times of December 10th reported that when the protestor attempted to take a photo of the placard, a member of Deputy McCarthy's staff challenged her. When told that the placard was part of a protest, the staff member reportedly said "this is private property, the guards are on the way."

A squad car subsequently arrived in response to the call.

"We have no garda cover here for large chunks of time due to cuts and yet a car-full can be mobilised instantly to protect your office from one carer of mature years with a placard," the protester observed in an email to Deputy McCarthy who later apologised.


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)

Contact Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney now and demand that a hunting/coursing exemption is 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 now. Demand that they urgently help save foxes from cruelty and back a ban on hunting and digging out.

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: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

13. Costa Rica passes law banning hunting as a "sport"

Source: Reuters

San Jose, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Costa Rica on Monday became the first Latin American country to ban hunting as a sport, following an unanimous and final vote from Congress.

Lawmakers had provisionally approved a reform to its Wildlife Conservation law back in October. With a population of 4.5 million people, Costa Rica is one of the world's most biodiverse nations.

The Central American country is already known for its environmental mindset, with some 25 percent of its land protected as national parks or reserves.

Under the new law, those caught hunting can face up to four months in prison or fines of up to $3,000.

Smaller penalties for people who steal wild animals or keep them as pets were also included in the reform. Jaguars, pumas and sea turtles are among Costa Rica's most treasured species.

"There is no data on how much money hunting generates in the country, but we do know there are currently clandestine hunting tours that go for about $5,000 per person," said Arturo Carballo, deputy director at Apreflofas, an environmentalist organization who spearheaded the reform.

Foreign hunters come to Costa Rica in search of exotic felines while others look to obtain rare and colorful parrots as pets.

This is also Costa Rica's first proposal that came to Congress by popular initiative, with 177,000 signatures calling for the ban submitted two years ago. (Reporting By Isabella Cota; Editing by Eric Walsh)

14. Ask Johnston Press to keep coursing out of sports pages

ICABS has complained to Johnston Press about the inclusion of a Freshford coursing report in the sports section of its Kilkenny People title.

Highlighting the cruelty of coursing, we pointed to past victims at the Freshford meet, including "6 hares hit by dogs, 3 injured and two died from injuries".

The Kilkenny People's categorisation of animal cruelty as "sport" reflects poorly on Johnston Press, we stated.


Join us in appealing to Johnston Press plc to keep coursing out of the sports pages of the Kilkenny People.

Jean Long
Managing Director
Johnston Press Ireland
108 Holyrood Road
Edinburgh EH8 8AS
Tel: 0131 225 3361
Fax: 0131 225 4580

15. Netherlands to ban fur farming - but not until 2024

Source: Animal Equality

Amsterdam, 18 December 2012 - Today The Senate voted in favour of a ban on mink fur farming. The ban will come into force in 2024 which means that by that date, there will be no more fur farming in the Netherlands. From Animal Equality we welcome the ban and hope that other countries will follow, as it is a clear statement that animal suffering for fashion is no longer acceptable.

With 6 million minks killed each year, the Netherlands is the world's third largest producer of mink pelts, after Denmark and China. The political discussion about a ban on mink fur farming began in 1999. A bill to ban it by 2018 was accepted by the House of Representatives, but did not get a majority in the Senate. The main argument against the ban was the financial problems it would cause to farmers. Therefore the original bill was changed to go into force in 2024 and provides financial compensation for the demolition costs of 28 million euro for farmers.

An inquiry by the Ministry of Agriculture showed earlier this year that only 7 per cent of the Dutch approved of killing animals only for their fur.

In 1995 and 1998 respectively bans were announced on fox and chinchilla fur farming, which both came into force on 1 April 2008. The ban on mink fur farming will end all fur farming in the Netherlands.

In 2011, nine million minks were killed in Holland. Today Netherlands is now following the example of other countries such as Austria, The United Kingdom and Croatia. There is no reason for other countries to continue with this form of animal cruelty.

16. Dail Q&A: Fur farming won't be banned in Ireland

ICABS President, Maureen O'Sullivan TD, has again urged the Minister for Agriculture to ban fur farming.

In a Dail question this month, she asked: "In view of the fact that the ban on fur farming is going through the Dutch Parliament, Holland, being the third biggest for mink fur farming in the world, and Germany phasing out fur farming by 2016, if he will consider the phasing out of fur farming here."

Minister Coveney's very disappointing reply from 18th December is as follows:

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney) Late last year, I established a Review Group in my Department to review all aspects of fur farming taking into account existing legislative provisions for the licensing of mink farming.

The Group, in compiling its report, considered submissions received from a variety of organisations and individuals opposed to fur-farming and also from businesses and individuals, many of whom are involved with fur farming and who consider it a legitimate business activity. The Group also met with a number of parties and individuals who made submissions to the Review.

I have given careful consideration to the series of recommendations contained in the report and I accept the recommendation not to ban fur farming. However, I realise that it is essential that operators adopt best practice and embrace developments with respect to improved methods and systems for the farming of mink. I am therefore putting in place enhanced veterinary and agricultural inspections, including unannounced inspections. I am also providing for the adoption of Codes of Practice by fur farmers to help them adapt the highest standards of animal husbandry and provide practical assistance for breeding and rearing of animals.

I acknowledge that some find fur farming unacceptable but to simply outlaw a legitimate farming activity practised in many member states, no matter how small the number involved, could involve substantial financial compensation for existing operators for the loss of their livelihood. Funds are not at my disposal for this purpose and prohibiting fur farming would simply transfer this economically viable industry to other fur producing countries with less stringent regulatory systems.


Demand a ban on fur farming in Ireland. Contact Simon Coveney now.


Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.

Fax: 01 661 1013 and 021 437 4862

Witness the cruelty of Ireland's fur farming at

17. Anti-fur protest - Saturday 22nd December 2012

Source: NARA

The National Animal Rights Association will hold a protest outside 'Paula Rowan', a boutique in Glasthule, Co Dublin which is selling gloves with rabbit fur trim.

WHEN: 1pm - 3pm, Sat. 22nd December
WHERE: 'Paula Rowan', Glasthule, Co. Dublin (it's a few minutes walk from Sandycove dart station)
MEET AT: 12:15pm in Pearse Street dart station, to get the 12:31pm dart to Sandycove. A return ticket costs 5 euro 25 cents.

Stand up, be a voice for the voiceless, and help fight the fur trade!

18. TD Focus: John McGuinness (Fianna Fail, Carlow Kilkenny)

"The list of speakers [at a hunting function at Abbeyleix Manor Hotel on 3rd November 2012] was completed by John McGuinness TD, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee who expressed fulsome support for all field sports." From the Hunting Association website.

Complain to John McGuinness TD at 056-7770672 / 087-2855834. Email:

19. Investigation begins after injured buzzard found

Kildare Nationalist
December 10th, 2012

An investigation is underway after a young buzzard was shot in Co Meath.

The bird of prey was found alive in the Rossnaree area, but was unable to fly having been hit by a number of shot pellets.

The bird had to be put down.

"Buzzards are protected birds of prey. The National Parks and Wildlife service is asking anyone with details about the shooting to contact the conservation ranger in Navan, Co Meath or Gardai.

Annette Lynch, conservation manager with the NPWS, said that it is an offence to shoot these birds.

"When the wildlife act was introduced in 1976 it made it an offence to shoot or poison any of these birds of prey," she said.

"It made a good comeback, and they are actually going further and further south.

"When I started in the job in 1999, I'd pull over when I see a buzzard, whereas I suppose I do see them more regularly now, which is great, but that's because they've been protected."

20. Video: Hare chased through saturated coursing field

More disturbing scenes from Ireland's coursing fields - in a video posted on Youtube, a hare can be seen desperately running for its life through a saturated field. Watch the footage at:


Send "Ban Hare Coursing NOW" to the Agriculture Minister
Phone: +353 1 607 2556

21. Letters to Editors

Minister Coveney 'refusing to act on abhorrent acts'
Irish Examiner, December 21st 2012

Despite acknowledging that the digging out of foxes and the use of terriers to attack them is "unacceptable", Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has so far refused to outlaw these most abhorrent acts.

What a pity that at this historic crossroads for Irish wildlife, such a minister is overseeing the so-called Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

Instead of doing the right thing and stopping the animal abusers, he is preparing to pave the way for their cruelty to continue.

The new bill shockingly retains a century-old exemption which betrays foxes and hares and protects foxhunting and coursing.

The minister is well aware of the terrible suffering caused by these activities, but his response is that "it is not appropriate to outlaw coursing and hunting when they are pursued according to the codes of conduct drawn up by clubs."

The worthless codes he refers to mean nothing to the persecuted fox squealing as it's dug out of the ground, or to the hare crying out as a greyhound smashes into it and breaks its bones.

Last month, Minister Coveney declared that "it is a judgement call whether one should ban such activities ... and it is my judgement that we should regulate rather than ban them." For a minister with responsibility for Ireland's animal welfare, it is the poorest possible judgement.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

A place for the fox
Irish Independent, December 20 2012

While the presence of animals at the birth of Jesus may be a myth, I hope this Christmas tradition will continue.

My favourite crib is the one at the Dominican Church in Limerick. This has an additional guest: a fox effigy, recalling a legend concerning the holy family. One of the three wise men is supposed to have given Jesus a fox cub as a gift.

By the time Herod had ordered the killing of the child, the cub had grown to maturity. The fox, according to the story, threw Herod's hounds off the scent, enabling the holy family to escape.

It's just a legend, of course, but I have to say I prefer it to the grim reality of how the fox is treated in present-day Ireland. Though a treasured part of our wildlife heritage, it has no legal protection.

Ladies and gentlemen of leisure hunt the wily creature with packs of hounds. Then, after the pack has cornered and eviscerated it, the hunters hack its brush (tail) off and smear their faces with its blood.

I suggest that our Government take a cue from the friars at that Limerick church and give the long-suffering fox a break. As the song says: "All God's creatures have a place in the choir."

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

No respite
Irish Independent, December 13 2012

The Government's insistence that the decision to significantly cut the respite care grant was necessary and unavoidable rings hollow when you consider that it has, in the same Budget, forked out a colossal €59.2m to the horse and greyhound racing sector.

The Fine Gael-Labour Coalition must have a political death wish if it persists in this worse-than-Scrooge behaviour, ravaging the lives of the most vulnerable people on this island while pouring precious funds into gambling-relating industries that deserve not one cent of taxpayers' money.

Even Scrooge didn't go as far as these Merchants of Misery. He was just miserly and anti-social. Our Government, by contrast, has seemingly gone out of its way to exacerbate the ordeal of respite care recipients and their carers, as if they didn't face enough challenges.

These politicians should go down in history for having managed to reverse the Robin Hood principle: They have taken from those most in need and redistributed financial resources to the bloodstock industry!

Does gambling on horses and greyhounds rate higher with them than people whose lives depend so profoundly on the support and loving care of their fellow human beings?

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

Coveney lacks moral courage
Sunday Independent, December 16 2012

Madam - I commend Fiona O'Connell for her article (Sunday Independent, December 9, 2012), "This savage behaviour is a bloody disgrace," in which she highlights the cruelty of blood sports. The support for this barbaric activity within political circles proves again that nothing ever changes in our political system.

How disappointing that Minister Coveney lacked the moral courage to take a stand and outlaw the cruelty and abuse of mink in the fur farming industry. It is disingenuous of him to try and justify his decision on the basis that this practice was no different from intensive farming in other sectors. The Labour Party appears to be an extension of Fine Gael: its concerns or interest in animal welfare have been submerged in its quest to stay in Government, irrespective of alienating its core supporters.

Mary C Fitzpatrick,
Douglas, Cork

We have a confused attitude to animal welfare
Irish Examiner, December 08, 2012

We have a strange and confused attitude to animal welfare in this country.

A man has recently been sentenced to four months detention for throwing a homeless man's pet rabbit into the Liffey. I have no problem with that. But it comes in the middle of the coursing season, during which thousands of hares are captured in the wild and then forced to run from pairs of hyped-up greyhounds for "sport".

The man in the pet rabbit case pleaded guilty to the charge of "animal cruelty and torture". Surely that description applies equally to what happens in hare coursing?

How bizarre that a court can punish a citizen for cruelty to a rabbit in the middle of Dublin while our government condones and permits the worst form of "bunny bashing".

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

22. Campaign Quotes

"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened." French poet, journalist, and novelist Anatole France (1844-1924)

One such [slaughterhouse truck] was stuck in traffic last week, giving me ample time to glimpse the horses inside. They sounded distressed as they stamped their hooves. To no avail. Because no one cares for them now. They've swapped an open-backed trailer that calms horsey nerves for a rough ride in a closed-roof truck. These one-time pets and racehorses have been rebranded as 'livestock'. So, no more hay. No blanket when it's cold. No sugar lump. No child mastering the rising trot. The betrayal is complete. Horses have become one of the major casualties of the recession. Owning one was a status symbol during the Celtic Tiger. Syndicates sprang up, as everyone wanted a share in a racehorse. Maybe it's easier to deny responsibility when you're part of a group. You owned only part of the horse, so you're not liable for the entire animal. Horses are still being carved up - but now it's literal. The number slaughtered has quadrupled over the past two years. More than 12,000 horses were put down in abattoirs supervised by the Department of Agriculture last year. These figures don't include smaller abattoirs. from "We must put a bridle on this cruel slaughter" by Fiona O'Connell, Sunday Independent, November 25 2012.

"The Hunt was again fortunate in finding another Kildare man as Master. It is hardly necessary to recall the fact that the year of Mr O'Connor Henchy's acceptance of that responsible position was that of the disastrous failure of the potato crop in Ireland, that time of famine which brought such misery on the country and had so profound an effect upon its fortunes. It is not surprising, I think, to find a dearth of information upon the sport of those dreadful years, years of starvation intensified by political trouble, by State trials and suspensions of Habeas Corpus Acts. It is a wonder indeed that fox-hunting was found possible at all, and there was at one moment a question of suspending it altogether. Certainly the difficulties of the Mastership must have been increased tenfold, and the Kildare Hunt owes a great debt of gratitude to Mr O'Connor Henchy for coming forward at such a time to keep the long tradition of Kildare sport unbroken. As a fact the famine was felt more severely in other parts of Ireland than in Kildare, though, of course, there was misery everywhere...[Kildare Hunt huntsman Stephen Goodall] once told me that his sufferings were great in Kilkenny during the famine years, when he saw starving people and yet had to feed the hounds." from A History Of The Kildare Hunt

"We are well used to the images of poverty and starvation, evictions and destitution when we think of the Famine but we rarely realise that for many, life as they lived it with its hunting parties, dancing, gatherings, fashions, concerts and sumptuous dining continued as if there was no Famine." from a report on the launch of Ed O'Riordan's book 'In Terrible Discordance - A Provocative Study of The Great Irish Famine in the City and County of Cork'. November 2011

"The sound of the huntsman's horn and the yelping pack mingle in terrible discordance with the groans of the dying parent and the cries of children perishing for lack of food..." (Cork Southern Reporter, 13 March 1847)

Motor Cars for Coursing Meetings. Dail Eireann Debate, 9 November 1944: John O'Leary asked the Minister for Supplies if, in view of the opening of the coursing season, he will consider granting permission to hackney-men to convey dogs, dog-owners and bookmakers to coursing meetings during the season. Dr. Ryan: The prohibition on the use of hackney vehicles for the conveyance of passengers in connection with sports fixtures applies generally to all forms of sport. I am not prepared to grant exceptional treatment to passengers attending coursing meetings.

We'd like to pay tribute to life-long animal lover Sir Patrick Moore, who died on Sunday aged 89. Sir Patrick was an honorary RSPCA vice-president, chosen because of his commitment to animal welfare and his support for his local RSPCA branch in Selsey, West Sussex. He was a vocal opponent of fox hunting and blood sports, stating that he held "a deep contempt for people who go out to kill merely to amuse themselves". Patrick Moore was a much-loved figure, and a voice of compassion for animals. He will be missed by all those who knew and admired him. From the website of RSPCA Barnsley & District Branch. RIP Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012)

23. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now

Ask An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Ban Hare Coursing

Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

Bishop Bill Murphy: Stop clergy involvement in cruel coursing

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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