Latest News

Deer hunt licensed for 2005-06 season
21 September 2005

Despite appeals from Ireland and all over the world, the Environment Minister, Dick Roche, has issued another licence to the Ward Union Deer hunt. The licence will allow the hunt to continue chasing domesticated, captive-bred deer across the countryside of Meath and North County Dublin.

ICABS is very disappointed at the Minister's granting of this latest licence. We feel it is entirely inappropriate for him to issue a licence under the Wildlife Act as this piece of legislation deals exclusively with wild animals. The deer chased by the Ward Union can not be described as wild because they are bred and kept in captivity.

Please join us in appealing to Minister Roche to revoke this licence immediately and give a commitment that no further licences will be issued.

Action Item

Please write to Minister Dick Roche to express your disappointment at the licensing of another year of carted deer hunting. Urge him to give a commitment that this will be the last ever year of carted deer hunting in Ireland.

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

Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640

(Please compose your own personal letter if possible. If you do not have time to do this, please send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Roche,

I am writing to express my great disappointment at the news that you have granted another licence to the Ward Union Deer Hunt.

As you are aware, a 1997 Department of Agriculture report was damning of this hunt and described many aspects of the hunt as inhumane. It stated:

"The transportation of the stags in the cart is inhumane in its manner and in the design of the cart. The enlargement of the stags is inhumane in that they are ejected suddenly into a strange environment and alone. A stag which has been hunted previously appears, before the hunt starts, to be distressed and aware that he is about to be hunted again. Stags being hunted appear to be terrified of the hounds. A stag is aware when he is being hunted and continues to flee even when the hounds are far behind. Stags are sometimes wounded or injured during hunts by physical incidents or by the hounds. Stags are terrified by people and motor vehicles during the hunt. Stags are apparently distressed and exhausted towards the end of hunts and will hide and lie down at this stage. At the end of the hunt the fact that a man can catch and hold him would seem to be adequate evidence of physical exhaustion by the stag. The handling of the stag when taken at the end of a hunt must be terrifying and stressful to the animal."

Why has the Department of the Environment issued another licence for an activity which has been described as inhumane? Why was the hunt given a licence under the Wildlife Act when the deer used are not wildlife? And why have you ignored senior National Parks and Wildlife Service officials who have advised that the licence application should be rejected.

I implore you to revoke this licence and to give a commitment that no further licence applications will be considered.

Yours sincerely,


The Ward Union licence and its conditions

Licence No. 1/2005
National Parks and Wildlife
Wildlife Act, 1976 (as amended) - Section 26 (1) (ii)
Deer Hunting (Stag Hounds) Licence

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 2005 and ending on the 31st day of March 2006.

  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 2006.

  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 the 30th September 1999.

  4. Deer to be recaptured only if this can be accomplished without danger to the deer.

  5. Deer to be recaptured by designated, experienced Ward Union Hunt Club officials, who can be clearly identified in the field.

  6. The hounds are to be called off before any attempt is made to recapture the deer.

  7. 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 this licence. A copy of the calendar of hunt with assembly points shall be submitted to the Minister in advance.

Dated this ___ day of ___2005.
An officer authorised in that behalf by the said Minister.

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

More Information: Carted Deer Hunting

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

Related News - Carted Deer Hunting:
Deer hunt given licence despite NPWS advice (Animal Voice - March 2005)
Tony Gregory questions licensing of Ward Union (15th February 2005)
Latest Dail Questions from Tony Gregory(2nd February 2005)
Controversial deerhunt licence revealed (08 December 2004)
Priest plugs cruel hunt (31 August 2004)
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 sign a "Ban Blood Sports in Ireland" petition.

Photos: Carted Deer Hunting

Deer being dragged from farmyard
An exhausted deer with blood in its mouth is dragged from a County Meath farmyard towards a livestock trailer at the end of a Ward Union hunt.

Terrified deer being wrestled to the ground in field
An exhausted and terrified deer is wrestled head first into the ground at the end of a Ward Union Hunt.

Bleeding and injured deer
A bleeding deer at the end of a Ward Union hunt. The deer has an injury on top of its head and its tongue is hanging out as it pants for breath. The creature is being held in place by hunters - one is grabbing its ear and mouth.

Deer slipping next to a farmyard gate
A deer slips and falls to the ground after being chased into a County Meath farmyard by Ward Union hunters and hounds.

News Menu | Join | Top | Home