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Call for licence withdrawal as deer hunt resumes
31 January 2007

Last week the Ward Union deer hunt announced that they had "suspended hunting indefinitely" following an incident involving hounds chasing a deer into a school playground. It has today emerged, however, that the hunt is back chasing their domesticated, captive-bred deer. ICABS is calling for the hunt's licence to be revoked.

In a letter to Environment Minister, Dick Roche, ICABS stated: "We were dismayed to read in the current edition of the Meath Chronicle that the Ward Union hunt have resumed hunting despite overwhelming opposition to their activities. We renew our appeal to you to please immediately revoke the hunt's current licence and stop issuing further licences to this hunt."

According to the February 3rd edition of the Meath Chronicle: "Hunting was suspended by the Ward Union on Friday to allow for a review of the incident but resumed yesterday (Tuesday)."

In a report headed "Furious backlash against hunt", the principal of the school whose grounds was invaded by the hunters and hounds said that the quick reactions of staff and parents had "averted what could have been a catastrophe had the children been out".

The ordeal was “frightening and dangerous” and the “children were very upset”, she told the Chronicle, adding that she and the children had said a prayer the next day "to thank God that everyone was safe".

Ward Union Hunt chairman Oliver Russell was quoted as admitting that the incident had caused "anxiety and stress to staff and potential risk to the children".

The report went on to reveal that the Gardai in Trim received "numerous complaints about the Ward Union Hunt" and that the incident in Kildalkey has prompted landowners in the area to ban them - and neighbouring hunts - from coming on to their property.

One local farmer was reported as saying that he heard the dogs barking in his yard and saw that the hounds were running across a field of wheat with the horses after them. He said he roared at them and asked who gave them permission to come in and they ignored him. “About 100 to 120 horses came through the hole in the hedge. They ignored my request to vacate,” he said.

Farmer, Denis Smith, said that the deer was trapped in his yard, hardly able to move and had run around the side of his house and out into a field. Mr Smith said the cattle in a nearby shed went hysterical and that, three minutes later, about 70 horses came “ploughing across the field”. “They have no respect for anybody’s property,” he said. “The state the deer was in was something wicked. I’ll give in to a lot of sports but anyone who calls that sport is sad.”

Another eyewitness commented that he was about a half a mile from the village when the stag came by. “The stag came by ready to collapse. He was covered in mud and water. It’s a disgrace. The steam and sweat coming off him,” he recalled.

Link: Meath Chronicle

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Ward Union suspend carted deer hunt
Previous ICABS News Item
25 January 2007

The Ward Union deer hunt have announced that they have "suspended hunting indefinitely while a full enquiry and review are completed" into an incident on Tuesday which saw hounds chasing a deer into a school playground. The hunt's statement was issued today to RTE Radio's Liveline programme and read out on the air by presenter, Joe Duffy. Please urgently join us in calling on Minister Dick Roche to immediately revoke the hunt's licence and stop issuing further licences.

In a letter to the Minister, ICABS Campaign Director, Aideen Yourell said: "I hope that when you hear the testimony of the callers to Joe Duffy's show, you will give your serious consideration to discontinuing licensing this abuse. In any event, it is our contention, as you know, that these deer are farmed animals and not wild, and thus should not be licensed under the Wildlife Act. Furthermore, this hunt, we strongly assert, is in breach of the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, as it is an offence to terrorise or cause unnecessary suffering to an animal."

"We will be making a complaint against the Ward Union hunt to the Gardai, based on accounts given by eyewitnesses who described the condition of the deer on RTE Radio yesterday," she added.


Please write to Minister Dick Roche and demand that he stop licensing the Ward Union Hunt.

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

Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
LoCall: 1890-202021
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640.

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

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Bloodied deer at end of hunt
A bloodied and exhausted deer at the end of a Ward Union hunt. Minister Dick Roche issues an annual licence which allows this hunt to abuse deer. Please contact him now to demand an immediate end to this licensing.

Video Presentation: Ward Union carted deer hunt

To witness what happens to the deer during a Ward Union hunt, please view our YouTube video presentation by clicking on the following link:
Blood Sports in Ireland - Carted deer hunting

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