Newsletter

Animal Voice, January 2019
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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01. "Ban Hare Coursing" protest - Sunday 3rd February 2019
02. Veterinary group to review sponsorship after coursing ad complaints
03. Photo of boy with betting slip raises concerns for GAA
04. "Rehearsal" for cruel hare coursing
05. Castle Hotel Macroom continuing to support hare coursing
06. Local Londis supermarket sponsors hare coursing in Clare
07. Sadness at death of farmer who fought against foxhunt trespass
08. Video: Hares running for their lives during cruel coursing in Limerick
09. Anti-blood sport group hits out at East Donegal hare coursing event
10. Urge Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to back a ban on fur farming
11. "There will be NO BULLFIGHTING SEASON in Medellin”
12. Man prosecuted in Limerick for possession of 26 animal traps
13. Iceland removes cruel glue traps from Malta stores
14. Horrific video footage emerges from Chinese meat market
15. FBD Insurance continuing to sponsor greyhound racing
16. Hundreds of horses are dying at races around Ireland
17. 20 hares hit or pinned by dogs at cruel coursing in Loughrea
18. Making a killing from culling our poor badgers - Sunday Independent
19. Campaign Quotes
20. Letters to the Editors

01. "Ban Hare Coursing" protest - Sunday 3rd February 2019

Please join the "Ban Hare Coursing" peaceful protest outside Powerstown Park in Clonmel, County Tipperary this Sunday, 3rd February 2019 from 12pm to 2pm.

Visit the Event Page to let us know you will be there
https://www.facebook.com/events/2140777926174635/

See recent video footage showing the cruelty of hare coursing https://www.facebook.com/banbloodsports/posts/1942962425819306

ACTION ALERT

With warnings from wildlife experts that the Irish Hare is in trouble, it is now more clear than ever that the species must be given FULL PROTECTION - no hare coursing, no hare hunting, no hare shooting. Urgently contact Minister Josepha Madigan and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and demand that they stop licensing hare coursing and end all forms of hare persecution.

Minister Josepha Madigan
Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht
Phone: +353 (0)1 631 3800
Email: josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie, ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie, wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie, john.fitzgerald@ahg.gov.ie, Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie, nature.conservation@ahg.gov.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://facebook.com/JosephaMadiganFG
Tweet to: @josephamadigan

John Fitzgerald
Director, National Parks and Wildlife Service
Phone: +353 (0)1 888 3242
Email: john.fitzgerald@ahg.gov.ie

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below)

Dear Minister Madigan,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to demand that you stop licensing cruel hare coursing.

In coursing, hares suffer and die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and end this cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

The Irish Hare is a protected species but an exemption for coursing in the Animal Health and Welfare Act means coursers are not liable for prosecution for their cruelty. Join us in our call to the government to remove the exemption and provide full and permanent protection to this cherished species.

Contact An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and ask him to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo Tweet to @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

Please contact all your local politicians and ask them to push for a ban on this blood sport. Encourage your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=32&disp=mem Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889. Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

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

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing
https://www.change.org/p/ireland-ban-cruel-hare-coursing

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

Support our campaign with a donation
https://www.paypal.me/banbloodsports

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02. Veterinary group to review sponsorship after coursing ad complaints

Riverview Veterinary Group in Cork has said that it will "review all our sponsorship immediately and ensure that our future sponsorship is consistent with our animal care values".

The statement came after a complaint from ICABS over an advert for the veterinary group appeared in the booklet for the 3-day coursing meeting in Clonakilty this month. The advert stated: “Continued success to Clonakilty coursing - Riverview Veterinary Group Distillery Road, Bandon”.

A spokesperson for the vet group - which has branches in Bandon, Carrigaline, Ballincollig, Kinsale and Clonakilty - stated that it "receives requests from many local groups seeking support and unfortunately we do not always get to review all of whom we sponsor."

At the Clonakilty coursing meeting, pairs of greyhounds were unleashed to chase after hares in a bloodsport which is illegal in all our neighbouring jurisdictions, due to the cruelty involved.

In an email to Riverview Veterinary, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports pointed out that coursing is one of Ireland’s worst forms of cruelty to animals. It involves netting thousands of hares from the wild (coursers frighten the animals out into the open and chase them into the nets), keeping them in captivity for weeks or months and using them as live lures for dogs to chase. All for the entertainment of a merciless mob who cheer the dogs on and gamble on which dog will force the hare to change direction first. Every coursing season, hares suffer injuries and die in coursing. The injuries include broken bones, damaged toes and dislocated hips. Hares who survive the ordeal are at risk of later dying from stress-related capture myopathy.

A majority in Ireland want hare coursing outlawed due to the suffering it causes to the timid Irish Hare.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in contacting Riverview Veterinary Group.

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03. Photo of boy with betting slip raises concerns for GAA

The GAA has expressed concern about a photo showing a young boy waving a betting slip at a GAA club fundraiser but has indicated that it won’t intervene to stop club fundraisers at gambling venues.

The troubling image, taken in November at a Bandon GAA fundraiser at Curraheen Park greyhound track in Cork, has since been removed from Facebook where it was originally posted.

Representatives from Bandon GAA had commented on the image as follows:
- "The emotions"
- "He thought he would come home loaded"

Another photo showed children who are described as "a couple of our lucky dog nominator prize winners from last night".

“Does the GAA share our concerns about local GAA clubs introducing its young members to gambling?” ICABS enquired in an email to GAA Head Office. “Do you agree that it is inappropriate for club fundraisers to be held at gambling venues?”

In response, a GAA spokesperson stated: “The GAA's position on gambling has drawn approval nationally and internationally, particularly our move early this year to prohibit the sponsorship by a betting firm of any GAA competition, team, gear or property. That doesn't extend to GAA clubs using a trip to a dog racing venue as a source of vital fundraising.”

“Your email does raise concerns about the venue allowing minors engage in betting and we will raise these concerns with both the venue and the club,” he added. “The decision of a club to allow juveniles attend any external club event such as this must be based on parental or guardian permission and we will make sure this protocol was adhered to in this case.”

This is a disappointing response. The GAA has a duty to protect its young members from exposure to a gambling environment which, on the night, is positively presented but is in fact part of the problem gambling culture which is feeding into Ireland's growing gambling addiction crisis.

Speaking on the Sean O'Rourke Show on RTE Radio 1 in November, Professor Colin O'Gara, Head of Addiction Services at St John of God Hospital in Dublin expressed concerns about underage gambling. During a discussion about the introduction of early morning greyhound racing to Ireland, he was asked if there has been an increase in children gambling and if "there are signs that there are more children gambling in a more dangerous way". Professor O'Gara replied: "Absolutely. The suggestion from studies is that the rate of adolescent gambling is about three times higher."

ACTION ALERT

Join us in renewing an appeal to the GAA to direct its member clubs to reject greyhound racing.

Email: queries@gaa.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/officialgaa
Tweet to @officialgaa

Sign and share our petitions

GAA: Stop club fundraisers at greyhound tracks
https://www.change.org/p/gaa-stop-club-fundraisers-at-greyhound-tracks

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
https://www.change.org/p/irish-government-stop-giving-millions-of-euro-to-cruel-greyhound-industry

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04. "Rehearsal" for cruel hare coursing

This month at Powerstown Park, Clonmel, coursers held what are called "trials" in advance of the national hare coursing cruelty festival on February 3, 4 and 5.

The purpose of these trials, and trials run by some 75 or so coursing clubs throughout the coursing season, are to assess young greyhounds, to see if they will follow the hare. These trials are money spinners for the coursing clubs, with each owner paying a fee of €25-30 to trial a dog. Trials of young greyhounds are also a regular feature at greyhound tracks.

However, since the National Parks & Wildlife Service has woken up to the existence of these coursing "trials" in 2017, they decided to regulate them and make them part of the hare netting licence conditions. In a memo from an official in the National Parks to the Assistant Secretary, Department of Arts and Heritage, he stated: "It is understood that the purpose of such trials is apparently to assess the greyhounds", and "in many ways could be viewed as a rehearsal for coursing meetings". However, when the condition about trials was added to the hare netting licence, it read: "Trials should only be run for the express purpose of familiarising hares with the most direct route to the escape and no more than one dog should take part in any trial run".

So, the National Parks, who clearly understand the purpose of trials (assessing young greyhounds) decided that it might be better optics and more acceptable to, in their own minds, define the trials as hare familiarising sessions. However, the National Parks dealt a severe blow to the profits of hare coursing clubs in limiting the trials to a single greyhound, where, before, two greyhounds competed. But they have made an exception in the case of the Irish Coursing Club, and are allowing them to hold a 2-day trial session in Clonmel, so that they can double up on their profits.

The Minister and her officials in the National Parks might believe that it sounds better if they say the trials are for "the express purpose of familiarising hares with the most direct route to the escape", which clearly they know is not the purpose of trials, but words on a page make no difference to the hares, who have to run in terror for their lives, not only on the three days of coursing at Clonmel, but also on the two days of this sick "rehearsal".

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05. Castle Hotel Macroom continuing to support hare coursing

Shame on Castle Hotel Macroom for continuing to support hare coursing.

At last week’s Macroom coursing meeting, where greyhounds were unleashed to terrorise hares, the hotel sponsored the “Castle Hotel All Age Stake” http://www.greyhound-data.com/knowledge.php?b=9&note=1251363

As previously reported by ICABS, a Castle Hotel Macroom advert published in a coursing booklet, conveyed "best wishes to Cappoquin/Clogheen coursing club". A hotel representative has also been photographed presenting a trophy to the owner of a winning coursing greyhound.

Castle Hotel Macroom has also sponsored greyhound racing, including “The Castle Hotel Macroom A1 Stake” at Curraheen Park track in Cork.

The owners of the hotel are involved in breeding greyhounds, with the hotel’s Facebook page stating that the family has “50 or 60 greyhounds”. According to the hotel blog, "Mucky Kennels" - “a purpose built rearing & training facility” - is a “favourite past time of Don & Gerard Buckley of The Castle Hotel”. Among the kennel’s “success stories” listed on the blog is a greyhound who was named "Coursing Bitch of the The Year 2008”.

Mucky Kennels was profiled on a hare coursing website which outlined that “The Buckleys own a fine hotel in Macroom and any leftovers come in handy feeding the [kennel] pups”.

At last year’s Macroom coursing meeting, four hares were caught and pinned to the ground by greyhounds and examined by a vet for injuries. One of the hares required treatment from a vet for the injuries suffered, while two others died from their injuries. Another hare died within the coursing compound from so-called “natural causes”.

ACTION ALERT

If you wish to complain to Castle Hotel Macroom about its shameful support for hare coursing and greyhound racing, the contact details are:

Castle Hotel Macroom
Tel: +353 (0)26 41074
Email: reservations@castlehotel.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/castlehotelmacroom/
Tweet to: @castleHmacroom

Please sign and share our petition
Irish businesses: Stop supporting cruel hare coursing
https://www.change.org/p/businesses-stop-supporting-cruel-hare-coursing

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06. Local Londis supermarket sponsors hare coursing in Clare

A Londis supermarket, a pharmacy and a bar/restaurant were among the businesses that shamefully supported a recent hare coursing meeting in County Clare.

A copy of the Miltown Malbay coursing meeting booklet seen by ICABS shows that the "Working Members Stake" was "sponsored by Hynes Londis, Miltown Malbay".

ICABS has brought this to the attention of Londis Head office and urged them to act. Last January, Londis apologised after adverts for two of its stores appeared in a hare coursing booklet in Wexford. A company spokesperson said at the time that it had "raised this matter with the independent stores concerned".

Adverts in the Miltown Malbay booklet also included one for West Clare Pharmacies which stated "Best of luck to Miltown Malbay Coursing Club from M Varden. West Clare Pharmacies Ltd". Another ad from Cogan's Bar and Restaurant also wished "best of luck to Miltown Malbay Coursing Club".

At the Miltown Malbay coursing meeting, held at the end of October, pairs of greyhounds were unleashed to terrorise hares. At least one hare was pinned to the ground by the dogs and had to be retrieved by a courser. This animal was later examined for injuries by a vet. The previous year, four hares were pinned to the ground by dogs and examined by a vet for injuries.

Shame on any business which supports hare coursing through sponsorship or adverts in coursing booklets. Please join us in contacting them and urging them to end their support for one of Ireland's worst forms of cruelty to animals.

Hynes Londis
Mullagh Road,
Milltown Malbay
Clare, Ireland
Tel: (065) 708 4101
Comment on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Londis-Milltown-Malbay-215060318628961/

West Clare Pharmacies Ltd
Tel (065) 708 4075

Cogan's Bar and Restaurant
Milltown Malbay
Tel (065) 707 9020
Comment on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cogans/242516182460042

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07. Sadness at death of farmer who fought against foxhunt trespass

Norman: A man of courage and dignity
Kilkenny Reporter, 21st November 2018

The small close-knit community of Rathmoyle, County Kilkenny was shocked and saddened at the sudden death of Norman Daniels.

Norman was brother of Ruth and Hubert, and son of the late Abe and Kathleen Daniels.

He was the quintessential gentleman farmer: Dedicated to honest toil he was the most obliging neighbour you could ask for, and closely attentive to the welfare of his animals. With his brother Hubert he ran the farm efficiently as a model business enterprise, but he never lost touch with the ethics-based rural way of life bequeathed to him by his parents and grandparents.

He empathized with the cause of wildlife protection. Representatives of the Irish Council and Against Blood Sports and like-minded groups attended his funeral.

In recent years Norman became something of cause célèbre for other farmers and landowners owing to his principled stance against trespass.

He acted decisively to tackle renegade foxhunting and other forms of aggravated trespass.

He demonstrated how such illicit behavior could be recorded and used in evidence in any resulting legal actions to enshrine the rights of the landowners affected.

His handling of a series of incursions on his own property was widely reported via social media and praised by landowners nationwide.

Long suffering victims of trespass who had themselves sustained damage to fencing, livestock, and crops following his example and opting to videotape unlawful incursions rather than physically approaching or confronting the culprits.

Though of peaceful disposition, Norman was never a man to accept wrongdoing…whether to himself, family members, or other farmers.

A hero of his was the acclaimed Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe. Norman held that one should always battle for truth, whatever the consequences.

He believed that in the end doing the right thing brought the joy and relief of a clear conscience and ultimate vindication.

Aptly, a quote from Matthew (5:11) was included in his funeral service at the magnificent St Canice’s Cathedral: "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you.”

In good times and bad, Norman was a born optimist, never giving up on an enterprise or dodging a daunting challenge.

He followed through to the end in the knowledge- or hope- that success could be achieved.

The theme of optimism was in the air when the service ended and people streamed out of the cathedral.

Drizzly rain had abated, clouds were beginning to clear, and a most beautiful rainbow shimmered in the sky.

It seemed to bisect the round tower, and to encircle the ancient place of worship, exuding brilliant reds, yellows, and indigo.

For some it was a sign of hope and renewal, a reminder that a decent human being had passed to his just reward for a life well-lived.

Norman will be missed: by his family, his friends, and the countless people who drew solace from his brave stance against bullying.

May his gentle soul rest in peace.

John Fitzgerald

Keep hunters off your land

If you are a landowner, make your land off-limits to hunters. Find out more about how to do this on our Farmers/Landowners page at www.banbloodsports.com

Encourage all land-owning friends and family members in the countryside to show compassion and make their land a haven for wildlife. If hunters are denied access to land, the resident wildlife will be spared the suffering of foxhunting.

If trespass occurs, contact the Gardai. Obtain photo/video evidence whenever possible.

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08. Video: Hares running for their lives during cruel coursing in Limerick

Sickening scenes of animal cruelty filmed on 17/18 November 2018 at Bulgaden, near Kilmallock, County Limerick. See footage at https://www.facebook.com/banbloodsports/videos/305830036809498/

At a coursing meeting held by Ardpatrick & Kilfinane coursing club - one of approximately 70 that take place around Ireland up until the end of February - dozens of hares were used as live bait for dogs to chase.

The terrorised creatures were seen frantically running for their lives as pairs of greyhounds were unleashed in front of a merciless mob comprising men, women and children. Some of the hares were hit hard, their delicate bodies sent tumbling or flying into the air. Others ran from one side of the field to the other and around in circles, sometimes leaping over the dogs, to try and escape.

The coursers know how unacceptable their vile pastime is to the majority of decent people in Ireland and are desperate to keep it from the public view. At Ardpatrick & Kilfinane, a pathetic attempt was made to interfere with filming by shining a bright light directly at the video camera and the woman operating it. She was undeterred by this intimidation and successfully documented the plight of the hares.

How appalling that our government continues to allow this obscene bloodsport to continue. It is particularly shameful that Minister Josepha Madigan and the National Parks and Wildlife Service issued licences for this latest season of coursing, given the recent warnings from wildlife experts that the hare is in trouble, with numbers declining.

The Irish Hare should be afforded every protection to safeguard its future but instead, our politicians are pandering to the small minority who consider it entertaining to snatch hares from the wild, release them into an enclosure and watch as they run from dogs.

The hares at Ardpatrick and Kilfinane are just some of the thousands of victims of coursing. All suffer fear and stress - they don't know the dogs are muzzled and so are effectively running for their lives. Hares who get hit by the dogs are at risk of sustaining painful life-ending injuries. Hares who survive the ordeal may later die from the stress-related condition known as capture myopathy which can claim lives in the days, weeks and months after coursing. Every coursing season, hare injuries and deaths are recorded.

This depraved practice has no place in modern Ireland; it should have been banned decades ago. It is time for the majority who love and value our wildlife heritage to unite to demand a long overdue ban on coursing.

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09. Anti-blood sport group hits out at East Donegal hare coursing event

Anti-blood sport group hits out at East Donegal hare coursing event
Donegal News, 11 January 2019
By Conor Sharkey

A leading anti-blood sport group has branded a hare coursing event staged at East Donegal over the festive season as “barbaric”.

The meeting was held over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and it is not yet clear if any hares were killed.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has, however, slammed the holding of the two day event and says hare coursing should be banned altogether.

Opposition to coursing has been rapidly growing across Europe in recent years and Ireland is now one of only three EU member states, along with Spain and Portugal, to still allow it.

Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland have all moved to ban the sport but as of yet, the Irish Government has resisted calls for it to be outlawed.

Coursing involves dogs, usually greyhounds, pursuing hares over a set distance. Since 1993, coursing dogs have been muzzled but according to Irish Council Against Blood Sports spokesperson Aideen Yourell, hares still suffer significant trauma during the pursuit.

Ms Yourell said, “The muzzles have not stopped hares being killed at meetings. I’m not saying all die but they still get hit, they are thrown into the air and some do die.

“It’s just barbaric and we object to the whole idea of taking hares out of the wild and putting them into these compounds for this so called sport. It is the last remnants of Roman blood sport, that is where it originated, during the days of the Roman empire, and that is how barbaric we are talking here.”

Details of how many hares have been killed as a result of coursing in East Donegal in recent years are sketchy. But documents provided to the National Parks and Wildlife Service show that vets were called to carry out post mortems in the county on at least two occasions during the 2017/18 season.

Aideen Yourell added, “We can’t believe we are still talking about hare coursing in 2019. It is a shame and a disgrace that in Ireland, a supposedly progressive and forward moving country, we are still allowing this dreadful practice to take place.”

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10. Urge Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to back a ban on fur farming

Please join us in urging Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail to follow the Green Party, Sinn Fein, Labour Party, Independents 4 Change and the Social Democrats in pledging support for Solidarity's upcoming Prohibition of Fur Farming 2018 bill.

Fianna Fail has in the past backed a fur farm ban. In coalition with the Green Party, it agreed in 2009 to a 3-year phase-out; however, due to the collapse of that government, this ban unfortunately never materialised.

Last year, Willie O'Dea TD (Fianna Fail, Limerick City), said the party will review Solidarity's bill when it is published, stating "I understand your concerns regarding the practices of fur farming." Seán Haughey TD (Fianna Fail, Dublin Bay North) has previously asked the Minister for Agriculture "if he will consider revoking licences" for fur farming. In 2013, Stephen Donnelly TD (former Social Democrats TD and now Fianna Fail) supported an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw fur farming. In 2011, Fianna Fail TD Robert Troy (Longford Westmeath) asked the Minister for Agriculture "his plans to include a ban on fur farming [in animal welfare legislation]". https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2011-12-08.1050.0

Please also contact Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael to urge them to ban fur farming.

Fine Gael has also in the past supported a ban on fur farming. In 2005, when in opposition, the party voted in favour of the Green Party's Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill which attempted to bring the cruel practice to an end. Fine Gael TDs - including the now Tanaiste Simon Coveney and sitting TDs Richard Bruton, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Paul Kehoe, Enda Kenny and David Stanton - all voted in favour of the proposed legislation. Sadly, the bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50, with 62 Fianna Fail TDs voting against it.

On Ireland's three remaining fur farms, tens of thousands of mink are permanently caged and at six months of age, they are pulled from the cages and poisoned to death with Carbon Monoxide gas before the fur is pulled from their bones. It is time for Ireland to join the growing list of countries in the EU and around the world which have already banned fur farming.

ACTION ALERT

Sign and share our petition - Ban fur farming in Ireland
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-fur-farming-in-ireland-please-sign-and-share-our-petition

Please make contact with your TDs to urge them to support the Solidarity bill. Contact details for TDs can be found at https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/members/tds/?term=/ie/oireachtas/house/dail/32

Urge Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin, to pledge support for a long overdue ban on fur farming.

Email: micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie, info@fiannafail.ie
Tel: 021-432 0088 (Constituency Office) OR 01–618 3000 (Leinster House)
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michealmartintd
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichealMartinTD

Send an email to ALL Fianna Fail TDs

billykelleher@eircom.net, sean.haughey@oireachtas.ie, Bobby.Aylward@oireachtas.ie, brendan.smith@oireachtas.ie, johncurranff@gmail.com, Charlie.McConalogue@oireachtas.ie, michael.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie, sean.ofearghail@oireachtas.ie, john.brassil@oireachtas.ie, darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie, eamon.ocuiv@oireachtas.ie, jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie, john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie, mattie.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie, micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie, michael.moynihan.td@oireachtas.ie, niall.collins@oireachtas.ie, coper@eircom.net, Robert.Troy@oireachtas.ie, thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie, timmy.dooley@oireachtas.ie, barry.cowen@oireachtas.ie, fiona@fiona.ie, declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie, mary.butler@oireachtas.ie, kevin.okeeffe@oireachtas.ie, dara.calleary@oireachtas.ie, escanlonmcc@eircom.net, sean.fleming@oireachtas.ie, niamh.smyth@oireachtas.ie, james@jameslawless.ie, shane.cassells@oireachtas.ie, willie.odea@oireachtas.ie, margaret.murphyomahony@oireachtas.ie, anne.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie, eugene.murphy@oireachtas.ie, jack.chambers@outlook.com, james.browne@oireachtas.ie, john.lahart@oireachtas.ie, lisa.chambers@oireachtas.ie, marc.macsharry@oireachtas.ie, jim.ocallaghan@oireachtas.ie, pat.casey@oireachtas.ie, aindrias.moynihan@oireachtas.ie, frankorourke1@gmail.com

Urge Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, Leo Varadkar, to put in place a long overdue ban on fur farming.

Leo Varadkar TD
Department of the Taoiseach
Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Phone: +353 (0)1-6194000 OR +353 (0)1-6403133
Email: leo.varadkar@oir.ie, leoconstituency@taoiseach.gov.ie, finegael@finegael.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/campaignforleo

Send an email to ALL Fine Gael TDs

maria.bailey@oireachtas.ie, sean.barrett@oireachtas.ie, pat.breen@oireachtas.ie, colm.brophy@oireachtas.ie, richard.bruton@oireachtas.ie, peter.burke@oireachtas.ie, catherine.byrne@oireachtas.ie, Ciaran.Cannon@oireachtas.ie, joe.carey@oireachtas.ie, corcorankennedy@eircom.net, Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie, michael.creed@oireachtas.ie, michael.darcy@oireachtas.ie, Jim.Daly@oireachtas.ie, john.deasy@oireachtas.ie, Pat.Deering@oireachtas.ie, Regina.Doherty@oireachtas.ie, Paschal.Donohoe@oireachtas.ie, andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie, bernard.durkan@oireachtas.ie, damien.english@oireachtas.ie, Alan.Farrell@oireachtas.ie, frances.fitzgerald@oir.ie, peterm.fitzpatrick@oireachtas.ie, charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie, Brendan.Griffin@oireachtas.ie, Simon.Harris@oireachtas.ie, Martin.Heydon@oireachtas.ie, Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie, paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie, enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie, Sean.Kyne@oireachtas.ie, josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie, helen.mcentee@oireachtas.ie, joe.mchugh@oireachtas.ie, Tony.McLoughlin@oireachtas.ie, Mary.MitchellOConnor@oireachtas.ie, Dara.Murphy@oireachtas.ie, Eoghan.Murphy@oireachtas.ie, hildegarde.naughton@oireachtas.ie, tom.neville@limerick.ie, michael.noonan@oireachtas.ie, kate.oconnell@oireachtas.ie, Patrick.O'Donovan@oireachtas.ie, fergus.odowd@oireachtas.ie, JohnPaul.Phelan@oireachtas.ie, michael.ring@oireachtas.ie, noel@noelrock.ie, david.stanton@oir.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie

Tweet "Ban fur farming NOW" to: @campaignforleo

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11. "There will be NO BULLFIGHTING SEASON in Medellin”

Congratulations to Federico Gutiérrez, the Mayor of Medellín in Colombia, who announced this month that "There will be NO BULLFIGHTING SEASON in Medellin - we have worked for animal welfare and will continue to do so."

The message posted on Twitter by Mayor Gutiérrez has received nearly 18,000 likes - https://twitter.com/FicoGutierrez/status/1083035245199413249. One local responded: "I've always admired our mayor Federico and today even more. I admire him for his compassion for the abused beings for a grotesque and barbaric entertainment that has no place in an advanced society." Another added: "Congratulations, someone has finally heard the wishes of the citizens. Here in Medellin we do not want these kinds of macabre events."

Medellín is the second-largest city in Colombia, with a population of around 2.5 million.

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12. Man prosecuted in Limerick for possession of 26 animal traps

Man prosecuted in Limerick for possession of 26 animal traps
Green News, December 7th, 2018

A man was prosecuted for the possession and offering for sale of 26 leghold traps at Newcastle West court, Co Limerick earlier this week.

The prosecution case was brought by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as the traps, nine of which had serrated edges, are prohibited under the Wildlife Act.

The jawed spring-operated traps found for sale at a poultry market at Portlaoise Equestrian Centre on 15 October 2017 are designed to capture an animal by the foot or leg.

The elderly defendant entered a guilty plea, although the defendant’s counsel pleaded to Judge Mary Larkin that his client is given the benefit of the Probation Act.

The defendant’s counsel said that he was trying to catch mink and foxes that could potentially eat chickens he was keeping for his grandchildren.

Kieran Buckley, a conservation ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), told the court that such traps impact animal welfare and can potentially trap birds of prey.

The judge convicted the defendant on both counts of possession and offering for sale and fined him €600.

According to Emma Higgs of Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland, there is “no excuse for the use of these barbaric traps”.

“This is sadly only the tip of the iceberg in terms of wildlife crime activities in Ireland,” she said.

Sophisticated criminals

Wildlife crime in Ireland is quite varied, and also includes the likes of deer poaching, off-licence hare coursing, and badger baiting.

Such activities include regular trespassing on lands throughout the county, leading to damage to livestock and, on occasion, assaults or harassment of landowners.

Last month, The Times reported that two men were convicted at Portlaoise district court following a two-month NPWS investigation.

The men were found in possession of 22 wild goldfinches, tubes of banned rat glue and other devices for trapping birds.

Mr Buckley, who also led this investigation, told The Times that the birds may have been lined up for sale in markets in Belgium or France.

“The trappers know what they are doing is illegal and it is somewhat sophisticated in terms of selling them,” Mr Buckley told The Times.

“When you catch someone with 22 goldfinches, it is not lovable Mr Greengrass in Heartbeat chancing his arm.”

The Garda Síochána launched a new training course in September for officers to tackle gangs involved in wildlife crime across the country. A Garda inspector in each division will now work with their opposite number in NPWS district offices.

Niall Sargent

http://greennews.ie/man-court-limerick-possession-26-traps/

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13. Iceland removes cruel glue traps from Malta stores

A big thank you to UK supermarket chain, Iceland, for responding positively to an ICABS appeal and removing cruel glue traps from its stores in Malta.

In an appeal to Iceland's head office in December, ICABS highlighted the cruelty of glue traps and the fact that they have been condemned by the RSPCA due to the suffering caused.

"Glue traps are designed to catch mice and rats in a sticky base where they will suffer a slow, lingering death," we stated in our correspondence to Iceland. "Rodents caught in the traps frantically struggle to free themselves by pulling out their hair or biting off their own limbs. If they don't die from these injuries or from suffocation due to their faces becoming stuck in the glue, they spend days dying from starvation and dehydration. Veterinary surgeons who have condemned the traps have confirmed that 'there is much suffering by the entrapped animals - it is not a sudden or merciful death...Because all mammals have similar nervous systems, they are capable of experiencing the same type of pain and suffering.'"

Iceland acted swiftly to stop stocking the traps.

Within 48 hours, a spokesperson for company CEO Sir Malcolm Walker responded: "Thank you very much for your email. Without customers like you providing us feedback on crucial information, we cannot continue to grow and develop. I passed your email to our Head of Sales and Marketing for International Stores and our Malta Store Business Partner. I am very pleased to let you know we have immediately removed these products from sale."

Thumbs up to Iceland for this quick and compassionate response. The company has already won widespread praise from animal lovers for pledging to become the first UK supermarket chain to remove palm oil from all its own brand food products.

The move was prompted by concerns about the palm oil industry's destruction of rainforests and the devastating impact that is having on endangered animals including orangutans.

"Palm Oil is one of the world's biggest causes of deforestation and poses a significant threat to a number of species already facing extinction," the Iceland website outlines. "In Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm oil and wood pulp plantations are the biggest drivers of deforestation, many species are being threatened with extinction, including the orangutan. The orangutan population has more than halved in the last 15 years and is now critically endangered with only 70,000 to 100,000 individuals remaining."

An Iceland Christmas ad highlighting the plight of orangutans was last month banned from television for being "political" but nevertheless went on to reach over 65 million viewers online. Narrated by actress Emma Thompson, the animated ad can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdpspllWI2o

Learn more about palm oil industry destruction at https://www.iceland.co.uk/environment/

Find out more about glue traps at http://www.banbloodsports.com/traps.htm Here in Ireland, glue traps are illegal - if you spot them for sale, please email the details to us at info@banbloodsports.com

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14. Horrific video footage emerges from Chinese meat market

Horrific video footage has emerged from China showing dogs, including greyhounds, at a meat market https://www.facebook.com/banbloodsports/videos/2155633984689517/
*** Warning: Video contains upsetting scenes. Viewer discretion is advised ***

The disturbing footage, filmed this month by Chinese animal rescue group, Plush Bear Shelter, shows:

- A small dog in a plastic shopping bag being dragged along the ground
- Dogs crammed into a slaughterhouse truck
- A dog being weighed before being sold for meat
- A freshly skinned greyhound on display
- Slaughtered greyhounds hanging from hooks

"January is the time when the dog dealers are killing the dogs crazily, ready for the Chinese New year in February," a Plush Bear Shelter representative stated.

Their shocking footage comes to light as details surface about more Irish greyhounds being shamefully exported to China.

UK campaign group, Caged Nationwide, is reporting that four more Irish greyhounds have ended up in China since November and at least 37 Irish greyhounds now appear on a Chinese dog breeding database - https://www.cagednw.co.uk/chinaexports.html

According to Caged NW, the four latest Irish greyhounds to be sent to China are:

- Yes I Am, who "raced only once on the Irish greyhound track in Dundalk"

- Shaneboy Jasper who "was exported to the Chinese breeding kennels in Zhangwu County in November 2018 after being used in only 10 races in Ireland"

- Four By Four - "he was born in Ireland in December 2016 and after being raced twice at Shelbourne Park has landed up at the Gaochun Office of Liaozhong County at the end of 2018."

- Droopys Pardo - a 7-year-old greyhound "with Michael Dunphy as the last registered owner on the Irish Coursing Club database".

The Irish Government is once again being urged to take immediate action to stop the direct or indirect export of dogs to China. There are no animal welfare laws in China, fuelling fears that Irish dogs face horrendous fates after they are used for racing and breeding. Previous videos from China have shown a greyhound being boiled alive in a barrel and an individual slamming a greyhound into the ground after the animal failed to win races.

A "Stop the export of Irish greyhounds to China" petition aimed at Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and other members of the Irish Government has been signed by over 350,000 people in Ireland and around the world.

Some of the dogs in the Plush Bear Shelter video (including the dog in the plastic bag) were subsequently rescued. The group is appealing for donations to help fund the rescue of more dogs. Find out more at www.paypal.me/plushbears and https://www.gofundme.com/plush-bear-rescue-campaign

ACTION ALERT

Contact the Taoiseach and Agriculture Minister and demand a ban on the export of Irish greyhounds to China.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: michael.creed@oir.ie,taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.

Please sign and share the petition
Stop export of Irish greyhounds to China
https://tinyurl.com/j763c86

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15. FBD Insurance continuing to sponsor greyhound racing

Shame on FBD Insurance for continuing to sponsor the cruel greyhound industry, despite being made aware of the suffering and killing of dogs.

On 19 December, FBD sponsored another race at Kilkenny track - "Race 9 FBD Insurance S7 300" https://www.igb.ie/results/view-results/?track=KKY&date=19-Dec-18#race9

On the night, during a separate race, a dog suffered a fall and was listed as not having finished the race - suggesting an injury.

FBD has been shamefully sponsoring greyhound racing for at least 15 years. No company should support an industry which involves so much suffering and death.

Over the past 4 years, at least 1,369 greyhounds have been injured at tracks around Ireland, with at least 438 killed. This includes 37 injuries and 13 deaths at Kilkenny track.

The dogs sustained injuries to legs, wrists, shoulders, backs, tails, muscles and toes.

An estimated 10,000 greyhounds go missing each year in Ireland (presumed killed when found to be not quick enough to win races).

ACTION ALERT

Contact FBD Insurance now and urge the company to stop sponsoring greyhound racing.

Tel: +353 (0)1 7 617 617.
Email: info@fbd.ie
Comment on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/FBD-337367976647394/
Tweet to: @fbd_ie

Please sign and share our petitions

Stop supporting the cruel greyhound industry
https://www.change.org/p/stop-supporting-the-cruel-greyhound-industry

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
https://www.change.org/p/irish-government-stop-giving-millions-of-euro-to-cruel-greyhound-industry

OTHER COMPANIES SUPPORTING GREYHOUND RACING
https://www.igb.ie/racing/features-and-classics/

BARRY'S TEA
COMERFORD CAKES
IRISH INDEPENDENT
TREACYS HOTEL WATERFORD
KERRY GROUP
KASCO
GAIN FEEDS
RED MILLS
DUBLIN COACH / QUICKPARK.IE
BEST CAR PARKS
TEXACLOTH
THURLES FRESH MILK
FLAHERTY MARKETS GALWAY
HEALTHCARE & TRANSPORT SERVICES
BOYLESPORTS
LADBROKES
CASEY'S CARAVAN & CAMPING WATERFORD
MARSHES DUNDALK

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16. Hundreds of horses are dying at races around Ireland

Hundreds of horses are dying at races around Ireland, shocking new statistics reveal. The damning "equine fatality" figures - recently released for the first time ever - finally lift the lid on the appalling level of suffering and death in horse racing.

Further to a Dail Question from Clare Daly TD, Horse Racing Ireland has revealed that 779 horses have been killed at races here in the past six years. That includes 116 horse deaths since the start of 2017.

Out of the 779 fatalities, 562 occurred at racecourses and 217 at point-to-points (races organised by foxhunts).

Horse deaths at Irish racecourses

2017: 88
2016: 83
2015: 89
2014: 99
2013: 121
2012: 82

Horse deaths at point-to-point races

2017-18: 28
2016-17: 32
2015-16: 36
2014-15: 30
2013-14: 42
2012-13: 49

Horse Racing Ireland did not release pre-2012 death data, saying it "was collected in a different fashion and may not be verifiable".

Irish horses are not only dying in Ireland but also in the UK. As reported by ICABS earlier this month, 44 Irish thoroughbred horses have already died in the UK so far this year.

On its Race Horse Death Watch website, Animal Aid has revealed that 79 horses lost their lives on racecourses around the UK since January 1st, with over half of them from Ireland. Irish horses have died at races in the UK every month this year and every month last year. In 2017, at least 83 Irish horses lost their lives at UK races.

ACTION ALERT

The Irish horse racing industry has received €900 million of taxpayers' money since 2001, including €67.2 million in funding for 2019. The government's squandering of scarce public money on horse racing is particularly deplorable at a time when our country's health and housing is in crisis and so many worthy causes are crying out for funds. Urge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to end the funding.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

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17. 20 hares hit or pinned by dogs at cruel coursing in Loughrea

13 hares were hit and 7 were pinned to the ground during cruel coursing at Loughrea, recently published reports have revealed.

According to the documents uploaded to the National Parks and Wildlife Service website, one hare "died and was buried" at the shameful County Galway bloodsport meeting. Despite no post mortem being carried out on this unfortunate hare to establish the cause of death, an accompanying veterinary report claims the creature "died from natural causes". See https://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/files/10_%20Loughrea%20Reports.pdf

There is absolutely nothing natural about hares being snatched from the wild in nets, trapped in a coursing enclosure, manhandled and used as live lures for dogs to chase in front of a merciless mob. If this particular hare was one of the hares struck during coursing, its death may have been due to fatal internal injuries. Another possible cause of death was capture myopathy - a stress-related condition which can claim the lives of hares during coursing and in the days/weeks/months after they are released back to the wild.

The coursing documents reveal details about the hares hit and pinned to the ground by the greyhounds during the 3-day meeting held last October.

On Day 1, 4 hares were hit and 1 was pinned. According to an attached veterinary report, none of these hares were examined for injuries.

On Day 2, 4 hares were hit and 3 were pinned.
Three hares were examined for injuries.

On Day 3, 5 hares were hit and 3 were pinned.
Just two hares were examined for injuries.

Cruel coursing continues thanks to a licence shamefully issued by Minister Josepha Madigan and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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18. Making a killing from culling our poor badgers - Sunday Independent

Ireland's badgers have been subjected to a relentless and indiscriminate culling campaign that includes nursing mothers leaving their young to starve in their underground setts. More than 100,000 have been killed by the Department of Agriculture - Read Fiona O'Connell's column in the Sunday Independent.

Fiona O'Connell: 'Making a killing from culling our poor badgers'
Lay Of The Land, Sunday Independent, 11 November 2018

The bright lights of a big city mean you don't have to don a fluorescent jacket. Whereas they are essential wear when walking on pitch-black country roads. Alas, our wildlife has no such luminous lifebelt.

Among the most regular road-kill you see is the badger. Though these iconic animals have worse to endure. For badgers have long been blamed for spreading bovine TB. They have been subjected to a relentless and indiscriminate culling campaign for decades that includes nursing mothers, leaving their young to starve in their underground setts. More than 100,000 badgers have been killed.

But earlier this year Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed announced that Ireland would start to use vaccinations. It was claimed "this major shift" was the result of years of scientific research funded by the department.

Yet this humane alternative has been used in other countries for 27 years.

Could Creed's change of heart have more to do with saving face, following a study three years ago by Queen's University that suggested culling badgers "contributed significantly" to TB outbreaks? And indeed that TB stems from poor farm practices?

Yet despite this evidence, and our devastated badger population, Creed insists culling will continue.

A friend of mine, who lives outside this country town, has a theory as to why this might be so. He regularly sees men who work for the department setting snares for badgers.

"They're not supposed to be doing that," he says. "They're supposed to catch them and bring them into the department and test them for TB. If they have TB, then, fair play, put them down. But they're killing the badgers and then bringing them in." Little wonder, when licences are issued en masse once a year, with little or no supervision.

My pal tells me about a nearby place "where they took out 302 badgers - but only one out of the 302 had TB. The girl in the department was a cousin of a cousin of mine and she told me: 'They get €280 a badger - you catch 10 badgers a week'."

My friend waits until the men leave. Then he goes and takes up "those brutal cruel yokes. One time I took out 135 snares in two acres. They had snares at every tree."

My pal understands the farmer's point of view. He and his father kept cattle for 35 years. "The year before we stopped, the department came in and took out the badgers. And that was the first year me and another guy got TB."

He believes dirt causes the disease. "They've done studies in England, where birds filthy the drinking water, and they don't clean it out from one year to the next."

But "badgers are the scapegoats because culling is good business.

The vets don't want to stop because it's a money-spinner. They do three tests and get more for the second and the third than the first one".

Sounds like it pays obscenely well to sett up the poor badger.

Sunday Independent

ACTION ALERTS

Sign our petition
Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW
https://www.change.org/p/ireland-stop-your-badger-snaring-cruelty-now

Please appeal to the Agriculture Minister to show compassion and suspend 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".

Minister Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: michael.creed@oir.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to: @creedcnw

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19. Campaign Quotes

'I've been given a small voice, and if I don't exercise that voice for change then I'm not doing my duty and I couldn't live with myself' - Chris Packham vows to challenge the royals on their love of hunting when he accepts his CBE at Buckingham Palace - and claims he doesn't care if it's 'inappropriate' https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6618239/Chris-Packham-vows-challenge-royals-love-hunting.html

“It's totally immoral…killing beautiful creatures for fun...somebody who does something like that needs to be psychologically assessed because it’s an aberration - the need to kill…” From a discussion about trophy hunting, Joe Duffy Liveline Show, 28 January 2019. Listen to the show at https://www.rte.ie/radio1/liveline/programmes/2019/0128/1026042-liveline-monday-28-january-2019/?clipid=103029336#103029336

"The Irish greyhound industry has been in serious decline for 11 years in spite of the IGB receiving €145 million of taxpayers' money over the 11 year period. The €310,000 that IGB receives from taxpayers every week should not be taken for granted as income. It is currently keeping our industry afloat and has led to a lazy arrogance but we now have an industry that will not survive for a week when this handout is inevitably withdrawn." From a statement by the Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation following the closure of Drumbo Park greyhound stadium in Northern Ireland.

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20. Letters to the Editors

Help raise awareness about Ireland’s animal cruelty issues – write letters to the editors of local and national newspapers to highlight the suffering of animals in hare coursing, foxhunting, etc.

Coursing not good for hares
25 January 2019

Sir – Michael Viney’s article “Can coursing be good for Irish hares? The strange answer is yes” (Weekend Review, January 12th) refers to a study carried out by Queen’s University Belfast (2010), which found that there were 18 times more hares where there were coursing clubs. It relied on hare numbers supplied by just one coursing club out of 76. The hare coursers counted the hares in their own “preserves”, and supplied the numbers.

If it’s the case that there are 18 times more hares in so-called coursing “preserves”, why, for example, did members of Doon coursing club, Co Tipperary, travel to Lough Boora Parklands, Co Offaly, to net hares in breach of the Wildlife Act, for which it was convicted in 2015? And what of Dundalk & Dowdallshill Coursing Club, which had to limit the number of courses it ran in 2017, due to a shortage of hares?

Irish hare numbers have been declining over the last century.

Coursing is not good for hares, not in terms of conservation, and certainly not in terms of their welfare.

How on earth can it be “good” for these timid, defenceless creatures to be cruelly snatched from the wild in nets, shoved into boxes, transported away from their habitat to a coursing compound to remain there for weeks on end, and then callously used as live bait for greyhounds?

As a republic that considers itself civilised and progressive, we are light years behind our neighbours in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, who have long since banned this barbarism. – Yours, etc,

AIDEEN YOURELL,
Irish Council Against Blood Sports,
Mullingar, Co Westmeath.


No hares for courses
Irish Examiner, 16 January 2019

The Taoiseach will eat less meat, he says. How wonderful for the animals! But his government permits one of the vilest animal cruelty practices on the planet and has consistently opposed attempts to ban it.

I refer to live hare coursing, a traditional rural pastime" that the Fine Gael party cherishes and deems an appropriate form of outdoor recreation for 21st century Ireland. The party closed ranks against Maureen O' Sullivan TD when she moved a Dail Bill to end this medieval practice in 2016.

Right now, hundreds of hares are being held captive on a racecourse outside Clonmel, County Tipperary. They were transported there from all over Ireland, having been snatched by trappers from their natural habitats. The trappers used nets to capture these animals for the annual three-day "festival" of live hare coursing due to be staged next month at Powerstown Park.

Each hare will be coursed...possibly up to three times, meaning that if it doesn't get injured or horribly mauled first time around disaster may strike during the second or third course: A twisted Russian roulette caper to which coursing clubs subject these timid, defenseless animals.

Even if a hare manages to avoid injury after three courses the animal may die in the wild afterwards of stress-related ailments. And all of this is staged for the amusement of human beings who derive pleasure from watching trapped hares running for their lives.

Fine Gael TDs either express open support for this squalid excuse for a sport or maintain a stony silence on it. But you'd think that an allegedly liberal and humane Taoiseach who proposes to eat less meat as a gesture towards environmental friendliness would not for an instant tolerate the obscenity of live hare coursing.

John Fitzgerald,
Callan, Co. Kilkenny


‘Can coursing be good for hares?’
Irish Times, 15 January 2019

Sir, – I normally enjoy reading Michael Viney’s articles about our wonderful flora and fauna, but not his one on hare coursing (“Can coursing be good for hares? The strange answer is yes”, Another Life, Weekend Review, January 12th). He concedes that there are animal welfare issues with the “sport” but believes it may not be detrimental to hares as a species, from a conservationist point of view.

The supposed logic behind the often-repeated claim that coursing is good for hares stems from the idea that there are bound to be more hares in the vicinity of where coursing takes place. With coursing clubs ensuring a plentiful supply of the animals for their fixtures, the apologists argue, the hare populations can only benefit and thrive.

In former times, advocates for cock-fighting and badger-baiting could equally have argued that roosters and badgers were always more plentiful around the locations where these “sports” were organised.

But setting up hares as live bait for greyhounds is far from good for them. They get mauled by the dogs, struck at high speed, tossed into the air, and even hares that escape physically unscathed may die afterwards in the wild from stress-related ailments.

With hares under threat from urbanisation, modern farming methods that deprive them of habitat, and widespread poaching, the last thing they need is the kind of disruption caused by the netting gangs that snatch them for coursing – and the trauma induced by bouts of unnatural captivity and the high levels of stress that result from contrived chases in man-made wired enclosures.

Hare coursing is not about conservation. It is about humans watching these animals running for their lives from pairs of hyped-up dogs. All in all, the life of a coursing hare is far from being a happy one! – Yours, etc,

JOHN FITZGERALD,
Callan, Co Kilkenny.


Time to protect the badger
Irish Times 10 January 2019

Sir, – The badger is a jewel in the crown of Ireland’s wildlife heritage, a shy nocturnal creature with its distinctive white and black striped head and short sturdy legs. It enhances our natural environment and most rural dwellers haven’t a bad word to say about it. Badger-baiting, where dogs are pitted against the animal for “sport”, is illegal, and anyone with knowledge of the activity can contact the Garda Síochána.

Unfortunately, “respectable” people also threaten the welfare and conservation status of the badger. Since 1984 an estimated 120,000 badgers have been snared and killed by the Department of Agriculture as part of the discredited bovine TB eradication scheme.

Thousands of wire snares are laid across Ireland each night, quietly and discreetly, and many of these are just as quietly and discreetly removed by landowners, including farmers, who object to their presence on private property.

The method of capture is far from humane: the snare holds a badger until someone arrives a few hours later to shoot the animal. Many snared badgers strangle to death in their vain attempt to free themselves. When nursing female badgers are strangled or shot, their cubs are left to starve underground.

In addition to being cruel, this practice has been shown by recent findings to be ineffective in the war against bovine TB. Over 95,000 people have already signed an online petition calling on the Minister for Agriculture to end badger snaring.

The maligned and persecuted badger deserves complete protection under Irish law, not this barbaric slaughter masquerading as science. – Yours, etc,

John Fitzgerald,
Callan, Co Kilkenny.



Call to stop State funding of horse and greyhound racing
Westmeath Topic, 10 January 2019

If you are a person with a pavement Eircode, stuck in a State sponsored hotel room or a trolley resident on a hospital corridor, it will be a comfort to know that recently, 92 TDs voted in favour of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Regulations 2018 and released €84 million in funding for these gambling industries.

Mostly Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour TDs voted to channel €67.2 million of taxpayers’ money to Horse Racing Ireland and €16.8 million to the Irish Greyhound Board.

The latest €84 million grant brings to over €1.2 billion (€1,204,000,000) the amount paid out by the Irish Government to horse and greyhound racing since 2001. The huge cash injections (which exceed the amounts given last year) not only benefit horse and greyhound racing but trickles down to foxhunting and hare coursing.

Public money is being dished out to support two minority recreational interests that have a seam of animal cruelty running through them.

As you sleep on a pavement, or exist in a cramped hotel room, or receive corridor medical care, you can rest assured that the Irish Government is working to find a solution to your predicament.

In a country where a government funds industries that are circling the drain while its citizens are being treated like human trash, it is time we made a phone call and call reality. And when reality calls you, reality will tell you to cop yourself on.

No more funding for animal abuse industries will be the advice.

2018 should be the last time the funding flag fell on the race of death that is the horse and greyhound industries.

John Tierney
Campaigns Director
Association of Hunt Saboteurs
PO Box 4734


Why do we need to kill animals?
Irish Examiner, 21 December 2018

Why do humans need to kill or torture animals? Why can’t we let them live out their humble lives in peace?

Social media sites abound with pictures of hunters posing with the carcasses of lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, giraffes and other creatures; magnificent specimens that once graced jungles, plains or parklands...now reduced to pathetic drooping hulks, their glazed eyes staring blankly at the camera in contrast to the beaming smiles of their killers.

Meanwhile, smaller, less exotic animals run from dogs and their human masters here in Ireland. The fox faces a two-pronged threat. Lamping gangs prey on them under cover of darkness, dazzling the wily creatures before peppering them with lead.

'Sports' people of a different vintage set off on horseback through a Christmas landscape behind packs of ravenous hounds. Their purpose: To chase a fox until it collapses from exhaustion.

They watch; sipping from stirrup cups, as the fox has the skin ripped from its bones. Then, like the big game hunters, they pose for pictures after the animal’s tail has been hacked from its bloodied and mutilated carcass.

Lower down the social ladder, but equally lethal in their hostility to wildlife, are the hare coursers. They snatch the gentlest creatures in the countryside to perform for them. They roar like the frenzied Romans of old in the coliseum as terrified captives dodge their pursuers. They look on, impassive and uncaring, when hares are pinned down by the dogs, or flung high into the air like sliotar at a hurling match.

You’d wonder sometimes if our absence from the planet would be a blessing to so many other species. Sadly, we appear likely to take most or all of them with us in our seemingly unstoppable march towards extinction.

John Fitzgerald,
Callan, Co. Kilkenny


Saving the world - it's up to us all

Sir - Thanks to humankind, the course of destruction of our environment has been set.

Arrogance and a refusal to live within the laws of nature, population control, balanced use of resources and respect for our living space sees the human race and our allied non-human species swimming up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Ireland is, as ever, behind the curve in facing this Armageddon, lacking a political class to lead and deal with the issues that seep into every aspect of our life on this island. Tugging at the hem of the climate change issue is not political action. As a society we need to buy into measures, no matter how lifestyle-changing and financially exacting, as a commitment towards saving our environment.

This is serious. As humans we must look to ourselves to make changes in our way of living as a micro-action deposit in the account of the next human generation, if that should come to pass. The usual tropes of saving the planet apply. Adopt a minimalist lifestyle, remove animal-based products from your diet, don't breed adopt instead, reduce your travel footprint and recycle/upcycle.

Many other actions can be added to this environmental call to arms. It may seem futile. But each action sends out a ripple that laps up on the boundary of another action thus creating an unstoppable wave.

But knowing there is a problem is half the battle; doing something based on our knowledge is the other half.

As a society we may be supping in the last chance saloon. Indeed, last call on planet earth may already have been shouted. But drawing on the wisdom from the saying 'the best way to predict your future is to create it' means humankind holds one chance to create a sustainable future on this planet.

John Tierney,
Co Waterford

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Follow the ICABS campaign on Facebook for all the latest news, updates and action alerts. Help spread the word about our campaign issues by sharing our posts with your friends. https://www.facebook.com/banbloodsports

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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 www.banbloodsports.com 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
Connect with us on Facebook, 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 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 www.banbloodsports.com

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

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

Animal Voice - Subscribe

To receive "Animal Voice" by email every month, please send "Animal Voice - Subscribe" to info@banbloodsports.com

Make a donation to ICABS

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


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