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Controversial deerhunt licence revealed
08 December 2004

ICABS has obtained a copy of the latest licence issued by the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, to the Ward Union deerhunt. The licence was issued despite ongoing appeals from all over the world for this hunt to be ended.

The licence issued to the Ward Union

National Parks and Wildlife
Wildlife Act, 1976 (as amended) - Section 26 (1) (ii)

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, by this licence authorises Oliver Russell, Palmerstown, Oldtown, Co Dublin, Master/Person in charge of the Ward Union Hunt Club to hunt deer with that pack subject to the conditions specified hereunder. The authority given by this licence extends to all members of the said Ward Union Hunt Club.


1) Deer may be hunted with the above-mentioned pack during the period beginning on the 15th day of October 2004 and ending on the 31st day of March 2005.

2) The Ward Union Hunt Club shall inform the Minister of the number and sex of all deer released and not recaptured together with an indication of where such deer were last sighted. This information shall be supplied as soon as possible after 31st day of March 2005.

3) All hunts undertaken under the terms of this licence shall be carried out in accordance with the Ward Union Hunt Club code of practice adopted by the hunt committee and dated 30th September 1999.

4) The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government may appoint a person or persons to undertake the monitoring of the Ward Union Hunt Club in a manner to be determined by the Minister and the licensee will co-operate with such person or persons. The Licensee shall indemnify and keep indemnified the Minister, and the Minister for Agriculture and Food, their successors, employees, agents and assigns against all actions, claims, demands and costs in respect of any such losses, injuries, accidents or damage arising from the monitoring operation undertaken in accordance with the licence. A copy of the calendar of hunt with assembly points shall be submitted to the Minister in advance.

Note: This licence does not authorise any person to enter on any land without the permission of the owner or the occupier.

Dated this 22nd day of October 2004
Signed by an officer authorised in that behalf by the said Minister

Bloodied deer - Ward Union Hunt
An injured and exhausted deer at the end of a Ward Union hunt. The hunt has received a licence for another season from Ireland's Department of the Environment.

Action Item 1

Please write to Minister Dick Roche and register your objection to the Ward Union deer hunt being licensed for another year.

(If possible, please write your own original letter. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence).

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1.

Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
LoCall: 1890-202021 (Request to speak to Minister Roche or his secretary)
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640.

Dear Minister Roche,

I wish to register my strong objection to your licensing of the Ward Union Deer Hunt for another season.

It is extremely disappointing that you have deemed it appropriate to give the go-ahead to a hunt which uses a domesticated animal as quarry. Such carted deer hunting has already been banned in England, Scotland and Wales. It was also stopped in Northern Ireland several years ago when authorities recognised that the status of the deer meant they were subject to protection under animal welfare legislation.

I do not accept that a hunt which uses captive-bred and privately-owned domesticated animals is eligible for a licence under the Wildlife Act which deals exclusively with WILD animals. I therefore call on you, Minister, to immediately withdraw the Ward Union's licence.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.

Yours sincerely,

Action Item 2

Please appeal to Minister Mary Coughlan (she is responsible for animal welfare and the Protection of Animals Act) to end carted deer hunting.

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2000
LoCall: 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Captured deer
"The authority given by this licence extends to all members of the said Ward Union Hunt Club...Deer may be hunted with the above-mentioned pack during the period beginning on the 15th day of October 2004 and ending on the 31st day of March 2005." (Extract from the licence issued by the Minister of the Environment).

Ward Union: AG's advice partly revealed

Some light has finally been shed on secret advice given in 1999 by the Attorney General in relation to the legal status of the Ward Union's deer. Correspondence recently received by ICABS from the office of the Environment Minister has confirmed that the then Attorney General was of the opinion that the controversial carted deer hunt "was subject to the licensing provisions of Section 26 of the Wildlife Act 1976 irrespective of the status (i.e. wild or captive bred/domesticated) of the deer involved".

This advice was given in March 1999 to the then Minister for Arts and Heritage, Sile DeValera. Since then, ICABS has been repeatedly denied access to the relevant documents.

We have always maintained that the Ward Union hunt is illegal in that it is an offence, under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, to terrify or cause unnecessary suffering to a domestic animal. We contend that the deer used by the Ward Union are domestic animals as they are reared in captivity, similar to farmed deer. Furthermore, we feel this hunt should not be granted a licence under the Wildlife Act because the deer cannot be considered as wildlife.

More Information: Carted Deer Hunting

What is carted deer hunting?
Read our information leaflet to find out more

Latest News - Carted Deer Hunting:
ICABS launches campaign postcards (12 August 2004)
Animal Voice Newsletter - Summer 2004 Edition (30 July 2004)
Minister questioned about legality of Ward Union (23 March 2004)
Star Sunday exposes millionaire members of hunt (14 March 2004)
Kane report damning of Ward Union (11 March 2004)
Deerhunt plea to Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice (11 March 2004)
Carted Deer Hunting: New leaflet launched (10 March 2004)
Carted Deer Hunting: Latest Images (10 March 2004)
Government "subverting protection of animals legislation" (04 March 2004)

Ban Carted Deer Hunting Website:
For more information on carted deer hunting (along with images and video clips), please visit our Ban Carted Deer Hunting website at:

Visit our Petitions page to print out and sign a Ban Hunting with Hounds petition.

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