Animal Voice, Issue 04, 2016
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017

01. Protest against Ward Union - this Monday in Ashbourne
02. Two major charities reject foxhunt fundraisers
03. Renault tells car dealer that advertising in coursing booklet is "unacceptable"
04. Toyota announces end to dealer's greyhound racing sponsorship
05. Coursing club suspended after disappearance of hares
06. Hare severely mauled and dumped in box at Limerick coursing meeting
07. Hunts shutting down, struggling to survive
08. Fund life-saving medication instead of greyhound racing
09. Downton Abbey actor calls for end to greyhound exports to China
10. Farmers take precedence over badgers being cruelly killed: Minister Creed
11. Coursers included brewery ad in booklet without permission
12. Minister challenged on coursing muzzling statement
13. RTE highlights cruelty at Canidrome greyhound racing track
14. Medical group criticised for sponsoring hare coursing
15. Just 2 people convicted of animal cruelty in first 7 months of 2016
16. Ask to stop promoting greyhound racing
17. "Less and less people are going to the dogs"
18. Letters to the Editor

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017

We wish our friends & supporters a very happy, healthy holiday! Thank you for all your support throughout the year.

Nollaig shonasach agus athbhliain shuaimhneach from all at the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.

Over Christmas and into the New Year, there will be no respite for Ireland's persecuted wildlife. Hares will be running for their lives at coursing meetings and foxes will be chased to exhaustion and ripped apart by packs of hounds.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports will continue pushing for a ban on this appalling cruelty and an end to the persecution of wildlife.

Please continue supporting our campaign by sharing our Facebook posts, retweeting our tweets, responding to our action alerts, contacting politicians, writing letters to newspapers and, if possible, making a donation to help fund the campaign.

Thank you for your continued support.

01. Protest against Ward Union - this Monday in Ashbourne

Protest against the Ward Union Hunt - Monday 26th December, 12-2pm, Ashbourne, County Meath. Organised by the National Animal Rights Association.

Find out more at


02. Two major charities reject foxhunt fundraisers

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has thanked Pieta House and the Hope Foundation for rejecting fundraisers organised by foxhunting groups.

A "Hunt for Light" midnight hunt - advertised by the Premier Harriers as a "unique opportunity to see hounds work at night" - has been rejected by Pieta House.

The positive announcement came after ICABS, supported by Pieta House Ambassador actress Rachel Pilkington, highlighted the cruelty of foxhunting to the charity.

An email to ICABS from Pieta House, the charity that reaches out to those contemplating suicide, stated: "Pieta House would like to confirm that we will not be associated with or benefit in any way from the ‘Hunt For Light’ event organised by Premier Harriers in Co Tipperary on December 28. We cannot be seen to have an association with or endorsement of bloodsports, and so we feel it would be inappropriate for us to benefit from or to be associated with a hunt. People across Ireland are so incredibly supportive of Pieta House, but in some cases - such as this one - the manner of the fundraiser is incompatible."

Meanwhile, the Hope Foundation has also responded positively to an ICABS appeal and said no to a hunt fundraiser organised by South County Farmers Hunt in County Cork.

The charity which works to help street and slum children in India told ICABS that it had contacted the organisers of the fundraiser to say "we do not wish to have this fundraiser carried out in the name of HOPE."

A Hope spokesperson stated: "We are an organisation dedicated to reducing suffering in the world and would not wish to be associated with an event involving cruelty to animals. This event has now been cancelled as a fundraiser for HOPE. We have advised that HOPE in no way supports hunts or any sports or events that cause cruelty or suffering to animals in the name of this charity."

ICABS is well aware of the cynicism of the foxhunting fraternity in their public relations exercise of raising funds for charities in order to give themselves and their cruel activities a veneer of respectability and an acceptance in their local communities. Charity fundraisers by hunts play a role in keeping this bloodsport alive and we applaud those charities who reject the hunts' blood money.

A big thank you to Pieta House and the Hope Foundation for their compassionate responses. Please consider making a donation at and

About Pieta House
Pieta House is a Suicide and Self-Harm Crisis Centre, offering a confidential, free-of-charge counselling service. It has 18 centres across Ireland. Freecall 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444.

About the Hope Foundation
The Hope Foundation works to help street and slum children and families in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India. Living on the streets, children are exposed to horrendous physical and sexual abuse. Those who survive are left to fend for themselves, with no promise of a safe future. They are forced to work from as young as five years of age to earn money for food and so cannot go to school. HOPE works to free them from child labour. HOPE funds and operates over 60 projects.


03. Renault tells car dealer that advertising in coursing booklet is "unacceptable"

A car dealer in County Wexford has been told by Renault that advertising in a hare coursing booklet is unacceptable.

An advert published in the booklet for the recent coursing meeting in Gorey stated: "Best wishes to Gorey Coursing Club [from] P&H Doyle Car Sales, Main Renault Dealers".

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports reported the ad to Renault Ireland, expressing surprise that the dealer considered it appropriate to associate the Renault brand with an activity that causes terror, injury and death to hares and which a majority of Irish people want outlawed.

We brought to their attention video evidence from the past few weeks which shows hares being hit and mauled by dogs during coursing meetings.

Responding, Renault stated: "Groupe Renault does not condone animal cruelty in any form. We were made aware of an advertisement from one of our dealers in a local event programme and have instructed them that it is unacceptable and is to be removed."

ICABS has thanked Renault for this positive response.


04. Toyota announces end to dealer's greyhound racing sponsorship

Thumbs up to Toyota Ireland for announcing this week that the sponsorship of greyhound racing by one of its authorised dealers in Cork has now ended.

Earlier this month, Grandons Toyota Cork was urged to disassociate from dog racing after it emerged that the Glanmire-based company was sponsoring a 3-race event at Curraheen Park track, with €3,500 and a new Toyota van as prizes on offer.

The statement from Toyota Ireland came after local campaigners protested outside the dealership's premises and greyhound protection campaigners from Ireland and around the world urged the company to act to disassociate its brand from the industry.

"We have never sponsored greyhound racing and have no intention of doing so in the future," Toyota Ireland stated in an email to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports. "The sponsorship of the event in Cork was done by a local dealer who has assured us that his sponsorship of the event has ended and he will not be involved in the sponsorship of any greyhound racing again in future."

A big thank you to Toyota Ireland and Grandons Toyota Cork for this positive response. It comes a week after Tesco Ireland announced that it has removed greyhound racing from its Clubcard deals.

In our appeals to both companies, we highlighted the cruelty inherent in Ireland's greyhound industry, including mutilation/dumping of greyhounds, injuries and deaths at tracks and the "disappearance" of an estimated 10,000 greyhounds every year.

Among the recent victims are a former racing greyhound found emaciated with his bones protruding and infested with worms and fleas and a dumped greyhound discovered with her ears burned with acid (to obliterate identity tattoos) and her tail hacked off.

Greyhounds have a life expectancy of around 14 years on average but in the greyhound industry, the lifespan is just 3-4 years. Many of these dogs are either euthanised, abandoned or end up in local authority pounds. According to the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland, in 2014 it was reported that there were 717 injuries to greyhounds, arising from dogs skidding and crashing on the surfaces of tracks, and that that 3-4 dogs are euthanised at each operational racing track every Saturday.


Please sign and share our petition

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry

Don't attend Christmas parties at greyhound tracks - these events help fund the cruel greyhound industry. Appeal to community groups, sports clubs and charities to stop fundraising at greyhound tracks.

Given the 50% fall in attendances at tracks and the 58% drop in sponsorship, it is clear that the Irish public and Irish business community are rejecting greyhound racing. Tell the Irish Government to stop wasting precious public funds on this dying industry. The government has handed over nearly a quarter of a billion euro of taxpayers' money to the industry since 2001, including a massive €16 million for 2017. It is time for this to stop.

Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6764735

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Tweet to: @EndaKennyTD

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Andrew Doyle TD
Minister of State, Dept of Agriculture


05. Coursing club suspended after disappearance of hares

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has dismissed a claim by a coursing club in County Laois that the disappearance of 40 hares last month was as a result of the animals escaping through a hole in a fence.

A Wildlife Service investigation - prompted by a Dail question from Clare Daly TD - found that there was no evidence to support the claim, before recommending that the club be prevented from catching any more hares this season or holding a re-scheduled coursing meeting in January.

Deputy Daly's question highlighted reports that at Rathdowney coursing club, "three dogs broke into the hare compound and mauled and butchered about 78 hares and that the dogs were subsequently put down."

In a report seen by ICABS, the head of the NPWS said that the hare holding pen was inspected by rangers but they found no evidence of blood marks which would indicate the hares were attacked but he went on to concede - perhaps crucially - "it is to be noted, however, that NPWS visits took place many days after the alleged incident" (i.e. ten days after). It is also relevant to point out that captured hares are not always confined in the hare holding pen and that any evidence of an attack by dogs would not necessarily have been found in the pen.

According to the coursers, the number of hares captured at the time was 40. They said they noticed they were all gone at midday on November 19th (three weeks before their 2-day meeting was due to take place). They pointed to a hole in the wire of a perimenter fence as the cause of the disappearance.

The NPWS treated this explanation with scepticism. "The hole through which it is alleged the hares escaped seemed to be too small for a hare to pass through and if indeed a hare could pass through it, then an explanation would be required as to how all 40 hares would have gone through it," Principal NPWS Officer John Fitzgerald stated. "It is surprising that there was no evidence of any fur on the wires around the hole through which the hares are supposed to have escaped."

During a follow-up inspection of the hare enclosure on December 1st, tne NPWS regional manager was shown the hole in the fence but he considered it too small for a hare to get through.

"There was no fur or hair on the wires," he stated. "On the face of it, this does not tally with the ICC report which indicates 'evidence of fur'...if all 40 hares held in the enclosure on 18th and 19th November escaped at the small hole the NPWS inspected on 1st December, then it is remarkable how fur- and hair-free it was at the time of our inspection."

He went on to say that "if the Irish Coursing Club continues to give credence to the Rathdowney Coursing Club claim that there was a hole through which the hares allegedly escaped, then it is equally possible that a dog or dogs could have entered the pen via the small hole. This could be a logical conclusion which was not made by ICC based on their own report."

The report revealed that the rangers who visited the field saw 21 newly caught hares which the club said they had netted since the disappearance of the previous hares. The coursers said the hares had been caught adjacent to the coursing field but none of them had ear tags, meaning that none of them were from the original tagged 40. "This seems remarkable in the circumstances," the NPWS report remarks.

Further casting doubt on the coursing club's version of events, the NPWS noted that if the 40 hares had indeed escaped, there was "no great urgency" in retrieving them. For example, it emerged that the day after the incident, the club had caught four hares - not at the claimed escape location but 16 kilometres away. No more hares were captured until a full week later.

"One would have expected that immediately after the 19th, that all stops would have been pulled out, with the club making a major effort to recapture hares in the immediate surrounding area - particularly so when the 20th was a Sunday when people would most likely have been available...The Divisional Manager expressed the view that as this was not done, one would be forgiven for concluding that the club knew that the hares were not there and hence a major effort at recapture would be futile."

The NPWS concluded that Rathdowney coursing club breached a licence condition which, ironically, instructs them to "take particular care of your hare stocks" and "ensure that a reliable, knowledgeable person is given the responsibility of looking after all aspects of the hares' welfare". The NPWS recommended that Rathdowney be suspended from the hare coursing licence until the end of the season and that the 21 hares in its possession be released under the supervision of NPWS staff.


Contact Minister Heather Humphreys now and urge to stop licensing hare coursing and immediately revoke the 2016-17 licence she issued.

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

Email,,,,, Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800 Leave a comment on Facebook - Tweet to Heather Humphreys: @HHumphreysFG

Express your support for a ban on hare coursing. Sign and share the petitions

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing

Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland


06. Hare severely mauled and dumped in box at Limerick coursing meeting

More shocking video footage captured by the Irish Council Against Bloodsports confirms that the suffering is continuing for hares. Our footage from a coursing meeting in Ardpatrick and Kilfinane in County Limerick shows a hare hit by greyhounds and desperately trying to escape before being caught and severely mauled. After a prolonged battering, the hare is pulled from the grip of the dogs and dumped in a wooden box. See our latest footage at

Arts & Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys, who has responsibility for the licensing of this barbarity, declared during the debate on Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan's Bill to ban hare coursing last June that the hare netting licence conditions and the muzzling of greyhounds have demonstrated "positive outcomes for hares" during coursing, but this and other video evidence gathered in the last couple of weeks at just three of the several coursing meetings that have taken place, utterly belie this silly assertion. In fact, her claims are entirely farcical, as no amount of conditions, rules and regulations, monitoring by wildlife rangers or vets in attendance at coursing meetings will prevent hares from being mauled by greyhounds.

Hare coursing is inherently and intrinsically cruel, and every single hare snatched from the wild to be used as live bait for greyhounds will suffer fear, terror and stress. This barbarism should have long since been consigned to the dustbin of history, but our legislators turned a blind eye and despicably decided to keep this heinous cruelty going when 114 TDs voted down Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan's Bill last June. SHAME ON THE LOT OF THEM!!!

We lag far behind other countries when it comes to our treatment of animals. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have long since banned hare coursing, leaving the Republic of Ireland as the last bastion of this backwoods barbarism.

This latest highlighted mauling follows similar incidents filmed at coursing meetings in Loughrea and Ballingar in recent weeks

ICABS is renewing our appeal to the government to show compassion for the Irish Hare and do the right thing by banning coursing.

We are again contacting the 114 TDs who shamefully lined up in Dail Eireann in June to vote AGAINST a ban on hare coursing and asking them to watch the videos and pledge to support a ban at the next voting opportunity.

Hare coursing must be ended in Ireland. Please join us as we redouble our efforts to push for a long overdue ban. Send the email below, sign and share the petitions, call the Ministers and contact your local TDs. Thank you.


07. Hunts shutting down, struggling to survive

Hunts around Ireland are struggling to survive and several have shut down. Some good news revealed in an Irish Independent report last week.

Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association spokesperson David Lalor admitted to the Independent that "while some of the bigger packs such as the Galway Blazers remain healthy with steady membership and visitor numbers, others around the country are, however, struggling to make ends meet."

These hunts "face an uncertain future", he said.

Contradicting a claim that "hunting in Ireland has never been healthier", the Hunting Association of Ireland representative went on to reveal that "some of the smaller hunts are struggling to survive and this year alone we have seen several packs fold altogether." Other hunts, unable to survive on their own, are being forced to amalgamate.

Also in trouble, it emerged, are point-to-point races (which bring "important revenue to hunts") and hunter trials.

"Point-to-points are a great source of income but they are so expensive to run and are no longer the money-spinner they used to be, despite the fact that hunts do receive grants from Horse Racing Ireland," Lalor stated. "Also hunter trials are suffering due to declining numbers in some parts of the country, and this naturally has a knock-on effect on the hunt's funds."

We say shame on Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish Government (who give millions of euro to HRI every year) for diverting taxpayers' money into supporting point-to-point racing which is a major fundraiser for foxhunting and helps finance hunt barbarity. As revealed by ICABS last December, foxhunters received over €1 million euro in funds last year from government-funded Horse Racing Ireland. Shame also on the Department of Agriculture for what was described as its "ongoing support" of hunters.

The Independent report, published in the Rural Life section, acknowledged ongoing tensions between landowners and hunts, saying "in some areas there are too many hunts for the land they cover. This is never good for hunting, or relationships with farmers...The worst scenario is one hunt crossing land on a weekend and a neighbouring hunt expecting to be allowed to cross the same land a few weeks later. This is disastrous for all concerned."

ICABS greatly welcomes the news that hunts are struggling and shutting down. We are continuing to urge landowners to help hasten the demise of hunting by making their property off-limits to hunts. We are also renewing our appeal to the government to show compassion for Irish wildlife and finally ban barbaric foxhunting which sees foxes being chased for miles across the countryside before they are caught and pulled apart. Foxes who attempt to escape underground are attacked by hunt terriers, dug out of the ground and brutally killed. This should have no place in modern Ireland.

Read the full report on the Irish Independent website


08. Fund life-saving medication instead of greyhound racing

A mother desperately trying to get the government to provide life-saving Cystic Fibrosis medication for her daughter has hit out at a massive €80 million grant handed over this week to the horse and greyhound racing industries.

Speaking from her daughter's bedside in Crumlin Childrens' Hospital, Hazel Robinson asked "Is a greyhound more important than children's lives?"

She told the Topic newspaper that her daughter is fighting for her life, despite the availability of a drug that can help her. "When a drug becomes available that can help, they should be getting it the minute it hits the shelves."

The Orkambi drug (which improves lung function and reduces hospitalisation for cystic fibrosis patients) would cost the health service €160,000 per patient per year, or €400 million over five years.

€400,000 million over five years, or €80 million per year, matches the amount the government is happy to hand over to gambling industries.

Minister for Health Simon Harris (who was one of the 105 TDs who this week voted to approve the latest grants to horse and greyhound racing) said in relation to Orkambi that he would not be “bullied or extorted” by a drug company seeking an excessive payment, nor would he allow the taxpayer to be extorted.

"€80 million has been pumped into the greyhound and horse racing industries this year alone," Hazel Robinson commented. "But when it comes to giving our children life-saving medication, we have to fight tooth and nail for it. What does that say about our country. Parents shouldn't have to go begging on the streets and I shouldn't have to go on social media and cry my heart out to the nation, begging for my child's life."


Join 37,000 others in signing Hazel's petition which urges the Irish Government to approve the medication

Contact your TDs and urge them to stop using scarce public money to fund gambling industries. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (0)1-618 3000 or 1890 337 889. Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

Please sign and share the petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry


09. Downton Abbey actor calls for end to greyhound exports to China

A big thank you to Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan for becoming the latest celebrity to join calls on the Irish Government to end the export of greyhounds to China.

Peter, who played Hugh 'Shrimpie' MacClare in the hit drama, and appeared in movies such as Chariots of Fire and Death at a Funeral, recently signed a petition urging Taoiseach Enda Kenny to act to stop the exports. The Grey2K petition has so far been signed by over 348,000 people.

The Canidrome dog track in Macau - to which Irish greyhounds were sent this year and in the past - has been condemned as "the world’s deadliest dog track" where greyhounds are kept in horrendous conditions and raced to death.

Other high profile animal lovers who have called on the government to save Irish dogs from this terrible fate include Ricky Gervais, actress and presenter Pauline McLynn, Fair City actress Rachel Pilkington, TV presenter and conservationist Bill Oddie, Born Free actress Virginia McKenna, singer and senator Frances Black, Hollyoaks/Switched at Birth actress Rachel Shenton and General Hospital actor William deVry.


Urgenly contact Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to demand legislation to prevent any more Irish greyhounds being sent to China/Macau and for action to be taken to rescue and rehome the Irish greyhounds currently at the track.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD / Michael Creed TD
Dail Eireann, Kildare St, Dublin
Tel: +353 (0)1-6194020 (Enda Kenny)
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 (Michael Creed)

Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @EndaKennyTD @creedcnw


10. Farmers take precedence over badgers being cruelly killed: Minister Creed

"In the order of priority, the livelihood of farmers and their herds [of beef and dairy cows] takes precedence" - Agriculture Minister Michael Creed crassly explaining why a cruel cull of thousands of supposedly protected badgers is continuing across Ireland.

Minister Creed was responding to a Dail Question from Clare Daly TD who, wearing a "Not Guilty" badger t-shirt, told him that there is no conclusive evidence that badgers are responsible for spreading TB to cattle.

During Wednesday's exchange, she highlighted the cruelty of the cull which involves the snaring and killing of around 6,000 badgers each year (an estimated 120,000 killed since 1984), with victims including nursing female badgers whose dependent cubs subsequently starve to death underground when the mothers are destroyed by Department operatives.

She went on to challenge the Minister on the length of time it is taking to replace the killing with a promised vaccination alternative.

"Rabies was eliminated from European foxes using baited vaccine many years ago," she stated. "The idea that we have been discussing a vaccine programme for badgers for 25 years is quite shocking."

She urged the Minister to "move mountains" to end the cull because the threatened badger population "doesn't have the luxury of waiting".

Bernie Barrett of Badger Watch Ireland has described how badgers suffer under the Department's snaring scheme as follows: "The method of capture is a barbaric wire snare which holds the helpless badger in excruciating pain until it is dispatched by gunshot. That’s provided the animal has not agonisingly strangled itself beforehand."

According to the Irish Wildlife Trust, "badgers can die over extended periods struggling in these hideous devices while their young starve underground. Not only is it barbaric and unethical, recent findings have shown it to be ineffective in the war on bovine TB. Nobody has ever counted badgers accurately in this country and while it has always been assumed that they are common animals, this can no longer be taken for granted."


Sign our petition - Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW

Please appeal to the Agriculture Minister to show compassion and end the cruel badger snaring scheme. Remind the Minister that the badger is a protected species in Ireland and that the Animal Health and Welfare Act, for which he is responsible, clearly states: "A person shall not do, or fail to do, anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes unnecessary suffering to, or endanger the health or welfare of, an animal". Tell him that research has shown that "badger culling apparently has the capacity to increase badger-to-badger transmission of infection, potentially undermining anticipated reductions in badger-to-cattle transmission."

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Please write to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Remind them that the Wildlife Act, for which they are responsible, lists the badger as a protected species. Demand that they stop licensing the snaring and killing of thousands of badgers as part of a cruel and discredited TB eradication scheme.

Minister Heather Humphreys
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook -
Tweet to: @HHumphreysFG

Director, Licensing Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Email: a href = ",">
Tel: +353 (0)1-888 3214


11. Coursers included brewery ad in booklet without permission

An advert for a brewery in County Clare was included in a hare coursing booklet without the permission of the company, it has emerged.

The advert for Western Herd Brewing Company was published in the booklet for the Kilimer/Kilrush coursing meeting. The advert included the company's logo and a mobile phone contact number.

A representative of Western Herd brewery has been in contact with ICABS to clarify that the company did not, in fact, place the advert.

"A member of the coursing club placed an advertisement, unbeknownst to us, in the program for their annual event," he explained. "The member thought he was doing us a favour, clearly this was not the case. I would like to state that this advertisement was unsolicited and that we did not pay for said advertisement. No one from our company is associated with the club or attended the event."

He added: "I have spoken to the club member and he has assured me that this will not happen again."

ICABS welcomes this statement from Western Herd Brewing Company.


12. Minister challenged on coursing muzzling statement

Maureen O'Sullivan TD has challenged Minister Heather Humphreys on her view that "muzzling has prevented harm coming to hares".

During June's debate on a proposed ban on coursing, Minister Humphreys stated: "I have mentioned the muzzling of greyhounds as well as the conditions which my Department attaches to licences, all of which have demonstrated very positive outcomes for hares."

In a Dail question on Tuesday, Deputy O'Sullivan highlighted recent incidents involving muzzled greyhounds severely mauling hares at coursing meetings - see footage at

Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 458 - Answered on 29th November, 2016

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD (Dublin Central, Independent)

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if her attention has been drawn to two incidents in which a hare was mauled and suffered severe injuries at Ballinagar coursing, County Offaly and Loughrea coursing, County Galway; if she is still of the view that the sport is well regulated and that muzzling has prevented harm coming to hares in view of the video evidence continually surfacing of hares being injured; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Heather Humphreys TD (Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

Officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department attended the coursing meetings at Ballinagar and Loughrea referred to by the Deputy and are examining the video footage provided in relation to both meetings. This may result in discussions with the local coursing clubs and the Irish Coursing Club. I will be happy to release any reports of these meetings following completion of this process.

In August this year, my Department issued licences under the Wildlife Acts to the Irish Coursing Club, covering its affiliated coursing clubs, to capture and tag hares for use at regulated hare coursing meetings for the 2016/17 coursing season, which extends from the end of September 2016 to the end of February 2017.

There are 26 conditions in total associated with the licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club. These conditions, which have been developed and refined over a number of years, cover a wide range of issues, including prohibition on coursing hares more than once a day or coursing sick or injured hares, the need for adequate escapes for hares during coursing and releasing hares in daylight hours after meetings.

The muzzling of greyhounds at coursing meetings is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is my understanding that the Irish Coursing Club has implemented mandatory muzzling of greyhounds at regulated coursing meetings since the early 1990s. The muzzling of greyhounds appears to have proven effective in reducing the number of hare injuries and deaths at coursing meetings. For example, the percentage of hares released back into the wild after coursing meetings last season was 99.33%.


Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign and share the petitions

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing

Save Irish hares from cruel coursing

Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland

Contact Minister Heather Humphreys now and urge to stop licensing hare coursing

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

Email,,,,, Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800 Leave a comment on Facebook - Tweet to Heather Humphreys: @HHumphreysFG


13. RTE highlights cruelty at Canidrome greyhound racing track

The "serious mistreatment of dogs" at Macau's Canidrome racetrack hellhole - to which Irish greyhounds have been exported - has been highlighted on RTE's "Better Off Abroad".

The programme, broadcast on Sunday, noted that despite exports of greyhounds from Australia being stopped due to welfare concerns, "the Irish have not put a ban in place".

Interviewed was Christopher Reynolds, a former greyhound trainer at the Canidrome. He expressed grave concerns for the dogs, saying they are put down when they stop being profitable (not unusual in the greyhound industry). He condemned as "cruel", the Canidrome's racing of dogs during the heat and humidity of summer.

"When the horse racing is closed down in Hong Kong for the summer, they increase the number of nights in [greyhound] races," he stated.

Speaking about the poor state of the dogs and the conditions they are kept in, he added: "Every dog that's running in races is carrying an injury. They have no bedding - no straw bedding or anything like that - they are just lying on boards."

Commenting on Macau's gambling industry and the plight of the greyhounds, programme presenter George Lee said that it "has left me with a kind of unease".

As revealed by ICABS in May, greyhounds routinely suffer horrific injuries at the Canidrome. During a one week period, documented injuries included bite wounds, torn hip-supporting muscle, fractured paw, lame leg, swollen leg, inflamed joint and wounded tail.

A petition calling on Enda Kenny and the Irish Government to ban the export of Irish greyhounds to China/Macau has been signed by over 347,000 people.


14. Medical group criticised for sponsoring hare coursing

Fermoy-based "Medina Medical Group" has been urged to stop sponsoring a coursing meeting in Cork.

According to the Fermoy & Grange coursing booklet, "The Ballyarthur Stakes for 16 all-age greyhounds" is "kindly sponsored by Medina Medical Group".

At last year's Fermoy & Grange coursing meeting, two hares "required assistance" after being hit by greyhounds. At the 2013 meet, two hares were treated for injuries by a vet after being mauled by the dogs. At a previous meeting, five hares were injured on the coursing field, with one put down due to the severity of the injuries.


Join us in urging Medina Medical Group to stop sponsoring hare coursing.

Medina Medical Group,
61/63 McCurtain Street,
Fermoy, Co. Cork,

Telephone: +353 (0)25 31 929


15. Just 2 people convicted of animal cruelty in first 7 months of 2016

Just two people have been convicted of animal cruelty in the first seven months of 2016, it has been revealed.

The sickening statistic surfaced when Maureen O'Sullivan TD (Dublin Central, Independent) asked Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald "the number of persons that were convicted in the courts of animal abuse".

the Justice Minister provided Courts Service figures which show that, despite Ireland's ongoing animal cruelty crisis, only two people were convicted of cruelty offences between January and July of this year.

The Courts Service details show that the number convicted for the whole of last year stands at just 16, while in 2013 and 2014, it was 23 and 21 respectively.

"It should be noted that the Courts Service cannot certify that the above data represents all convictions for cruelty to animals," Minister Fitzgerald told Deputy O'Sullivan. "Data can only be provided where standard offence codes on Criminal Case Tracking System for cruelty to animals are used by prosecutors."

From her voting record, it appears Frances Fitzgerald doesn't consider the prevention of animal cruelty to be a priority. In June 2016, she was among the 114 TDs who voted against Maureen O'Sullivan's bill which attempted to ban cruel hare coursing. In March 2013, she voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to ban some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals - foxhunting, coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling, fur farming and the use of animals in circuses.

In December 2014, Minister Fitzgerald defended the presence of two Gardai at a hare coursing meeting in Glin. Replying to a Dail Question from Clare Daly, TD, Minister Fitzgerald stated: "The event attracted a significant number of patrons on Saturday 4 October and a larger number of patrons on Sunday 5 October. As with other events that attract a considerable crowd of people, local Garda management deemed it necessary to have Gardaí present. The duties performed by Gardaí were normal traffic duties, as performed at all local public events that attract large numbers of people and the Coursing Club will not be covering the cost of the Garda presence."

See the full Dail Question and Answer below.

Department of Justice and Equality
Courts Service Data
Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Maureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent): To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons that were convicted in the courts of animal abuse in each of the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and to date in 2016.

Frances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael): As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions, which includes the provision of information on the courts system. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the information set out in the following table.

Years - No. of Persons Convicted

Jan-Dec 2013 - 23
Jan-Dec 2014 - 21
Jan-Dec 2015 - 16
Jan-Jul 2016 - 2


- It is considered that abuse of animals as referenced in the question relates to cruelty to animals.

- It should be noted that the Courts Service cannot certify that the above data represents all convictions for cruelty to animals. Data can only be provided where standard offence codes on Criminal Case Tracking System for cruelty to animals are used by prosecutors. Prosecutors may have used an uncoded free text code against which the Courts Service cannot report.

16. Ask to stop promoting greyhound racing

Irish showbiz news website,, wants you to dress up and go greyhound racing. A video posted on its Youtube channel presents fashion advice on what to wear when on a night out at the track - is ignoring the animal cruelty inherent in the Irish greyhound industry, with dogs injured, abandoned and brutally killed. Thousands of greyhounds go "missing" every year as a result of not being fast enough to make money for unscrupulous owners.

An article entitled "Fancy winning best dressed at the Irish greyhound derby?" attracted negative feedback from readers, including:


Ask to show compassion for the dogs and stop promoting greyhound racing.
3rd Floor Embassy House
Herbert Park Lane
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Phone: +353 1 2560800
Comment on Facebook

17. "Less and less people are going to the dogs"

"Less and less people are going to the dogs", "a lot of tracks are falling into disrepair", the turnover of bookies has dropped "very, very significantly", "in another couple of years, there will be no greyhound industry". Some of the comments made at this week's meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine at which Agriculture Minister Michael Creed defended the government's granting of 80 million euro of taxpayers' money to the horse and greyhound industries.

The Minister, who has been involved in greyhound racing (co-owning a greyhound with other Fine Gael TDs) declared that the funding provided to the greyhound sector "helps sustain a long standing tradition as the industry is part of the social fabric of our country".

Refusing to acknowledge that it's a dying industry with a 50 per cent fall in track attendance and a 58 per cent drop in sponsorship, Minister Creed and the government continues to plough scarce public funds into greyhound racing, including €16 million in Budget 2017 (bringing the total handed over in the past 15 years to over €220 million).

A claim by Minister Creed that the greyhound industry "employs over 10,300 people" was ridiculed by one politician present. Labour Party's Willie Penrose (a pro-bloodsports TD from Westmeath) said: "Some people tell me that the estimate that there are 10,000 people employed in the industry is such a gross over-estimate that it's almost laughable."

"You talk to people in the greyhound industry and they tell you 'in another couple of years, there will be no greyhound industry'," he stated. "The owners are disappearing and everything else. There are huge questions in terms of the integrity of the industry. That's a huge issue. You can beat around bushes all you like and dive for cover but that's the big issue. That comes glaring out of the [Morris] report, doesn't it. That has to be tackled...The governance area has to be tightened up. Governance is important because you're giving huge lumps of state money that is extremely scarce. We still can't get a lot of resources that are required in other areas that have huge human costs and impact."

Charlie McConalogue TD (Fianna Fail, Donegal) agreed that "80 million is obviously a significant amount of funds to allocate on an annual basis" but was keen to "acknowledge the role the horse racing industry and greyhound industry play in rural Ireland and the important role that state funding has played in relation to that."

"I think it's important we do work to protect that and see both sectors develop and be enhanced as well," he said.

Also speaking at Tuesday's meeting in Leinster House were pro-coursing Sinn Fein TDs, Martin Kenny and Martin Ferris.

Martin Kenny challenged the level of funding being granted, saying "€80 million is an awful lot of money to be putting into organisations like this."

Focusing on horse racing, which received €64 million in Budget 2017, the Sligo Leitrim TD condemned as "simply unacceptable" and "wrong" the "amount of public money that's going in to pay for the prize money at the big races".

"In regard to Bord na gCon and the whole integrity of that industry, that is something that really needs to be looked at," he continued. "Everywhere I go, when I talk to people, they throw their eyes up to heaven. We have the recent case of the abducted dog. That all leads to this notion of the shenanigans that's going on...I know people who are engaged in the industry (from the point of view of looking after the dog tracks) and they're telling me that a lot of the dog tracks are bit by bit falling into disrepair because less and less people are going to the dogs and the main reason for that is this impression that is out there and I have to say, it's not without foundation."

Although praising greyhound breeders and their "value" to rural communities, Martin Ferris admitted that "in no way am I satisfied with the integrity of some of what's going on in relation to that industry...I think there's an awful lot of cleaning up [to be done] and the integrity has to be restored."

He went on to criticise the horse racing industry, saying "there are many people that would be listening to contributions here that have a very, very poor view of sections within the horse racing have some major trainers and horse owners who pay no tax in the country."

Despite having "serious reservations", however, he pledged his continued support - "I have always voted for it in the interest of what I call the common good in order to protect the small person trying to keep a little industry going in rural Ireland."

Jackie Cahill TD (Fianna Fail, Tipperary), a coursing supporter and owner of racing greyhounds, urged those present at the meeting to "make some recognition of track bookmakers and the difficulty they are facing." On-course turnover for bookies has "dropped very, very significantly", he revealed.

18. Letters to the Editor

Help raise awareness about Ireland’s animal cruelty issues – write letters to the editors of local and national newspapers to speak out against hare coursing, foxhunting, etc.

Prosecutions would see hunters stay clear of land
Irish Examiner, December 7th, 2016

Last Thursday night, December 1, a meeting was held in the Parochial Hall, Charleville, to address the issue of foxhunting clubs causing a nuisance to farmers, namely the Duhallow and Limerick hunts.

The meeting was organised by Sinn Féin and chaired by Martin Ferris.

On contacting Martin Ferris to pass on information about state laws, i.e. the Control of Dogs Act and the 1976 Wildlife Act, which landowners may have recourse to in the event of trespass or worrying of livestock by dogs, we were told that Sinn Féin supports foxhunting and their advice to farmers and landowners would be to “negotiate” with the hunt.

All well and good, but what is there to negotiate? The bottom line for many farmers and landowners is that they do not want the hunt with their horses and dogs trespassing on their property, full stop. And if hunts trespass on prohibited land, farmers may call for them to be prosecuted by the gardaí under either the Control of Dogs Act and/or the 1976 Wildlife Act.

The Control of Dogs Act, provision 9, states that the owner of a dog shall not permit that dog to be in any place other than the premises of the owner or a person in charge of the dog, unless the owner accompanies the dog and keeps it under effectual control, and that if a dog worries livestock, the owner shall be guilty of an offence.

The 1976 Wildlife Act, Section 44, states that any person not being the owner or occupier of land enters that land to hunt wild birds or animals, without the permission of the owner, he/she is guilty of an offence.

The law is quite clear in regard to trespass and dogs, and in the event of trespass by hunts, farmers and landowners should call the Gardaí, cite the Control of Dogs Act and Section 44 of the Wildlife Act in relation to hunt trespass and worrying of livestock, and call for them to be prosecuted. If there were more prosecutions of hunts under these Acts, maybe these arrogant hunters would get the message and stay clear of where they’re not wanted.

Aideen Yourell
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Hunt havoc on farm lands
Irish Times, 7th December 2016

Sir, – The hunting season is in full swing and again landowners are suffering, if not as much as the unfortunate foxes that are hounded to death for a cheap thrill.

A public meeting was called in Charleville, Co Cork recently to air the grievances of farmers whose lands have been entered by hunts which caused extensive damage to property and livestock. Herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were scattered by the rampaging, baying packs, with mounted riders bringing up the rear, knocking fences, battering down gates, and galloping through fields of winter corn.

The problem of hunt trespass resurfaces every season, with these de facto rural vandals seemingly unable to avoid riding roughshod over the rights of farmers and other landowners. “Hunt ban” notices, erected on lands or inserted in provincial newspapers are routinely ignored by the “sports people”, the excuse being that the “fox went that way” so the hunters had to pursue him.

This barbaric practice is long past its sell-by-date. It should be replaced by drag hunting, in which a scent is laid for the dogs to follow, avoiding both cruelty to foxes and the havoc wrought by destructive and unnecessary trespass. – Yours, etc,

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

Please don’t fund greyhound sector
Irish Examiner, 28th September 2016

With pre-budget submissions pouring into the Department of Finance, I would appeal to the Government NOT to give a single cent this time around to the greyhound sports sector.

This utterly cruel and intrinsically corrupt industry, which encompasses the vile practice of hare coursing, “blooding” of dogs on live animals, widespread doping of greyhounds, the callous treatment of dogs whose sporting days are over (they are routinely shot or dispatched with a whack of a spade or shovel, as hinted at in the movie Man About Dog), and the export of greyhounds to China… where they are raced to death or boiled alive for human consumption.

Each year, the Government has doled out enormous sums of taxpayer’s money to this blot on the Irish sporting landscape. Last year the greyhound sector received €14.8 million.

On a positive note, the industry is in decline. Figures from the Irish Coursing Club show that the number of active greyhound owners in Ireland has dropped from 9,826 to 5,940 in the period 2011 to 2015.

Attendances are down drastically in recent years at both hare coursing and track racing events, and sponsors have been backing away in their droves from hare coursing since graphic film footage of hares being mauled and tossed about by dogs at Irish venues surfaced on YouTube.

Far from throwing a lifeline to this ailing industry, its decline should be welcomed. It will be good riddance if and when it finally goes to the wall.

Only then will greyhounds find contentment in loving homes and hares run free in our countryside.

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

Welcome to Ireland - The land of a thousand cruelties
Irish Independent, 18th November 2016

The seizure of almost 100 puppies in the UK that had been illegally shipped from Ireland again focuses attention on the sickening trade in 'designer dogs'.

Not that it surprises me in the least that Ireland has earned the reputation among animal welfare groups of being the puppy farming capital of Europe.

We have a serious credibility problem as a nation when it comes to humane treatment of animals. Yes, we have an animal welfare act, but a badly drafted one that has proved inadequate in tackling a whole range of issues: puppy farming thrives, availing of gaping loopholes in the act; feral cats have virtually no legal protection; badgers are snared and killed openly despite their "protected" status; and the legislation specifically exempts hare coursing from prohibition.

Instead of protecting hares - gentle, inoffensive creatures - from a practice banned in many jurisdictions, it protects the "sporting interests" of coursing clubs.

Whether it's subjecting innocent puppies to the misery of vile breeding establishments or having hares mauled, terrorised and tossed about like broken toys, we seem to excel at turning sentient beings into tortured, traumatised or dead ones in the name of fun and greed.

It's a wonder we don't have a special government department or semi-state agency selling our contempt for animal welfare as a tourist attraction.

The slogan could be: Welcome to Ireland - The land of a thousand cruelties.

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

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 the Paypal button at to make a donation or send a cheque made payable to ICABS to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.

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
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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 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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