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Farming group demands deer hunt ban
02 February 2007

The Farmers Against Foxhunting And Trespass organisation has become the latest group to demand a ban on the Ward Union deer hunt. In a statement issued this week, they have called on farmers to "take a stand against these out of control marauders in our countryside." Please see below for the full text of the FAFT statement.

Farmers demand deer hunt ban
(Media Statement, 1 February 2007)

Farmers Against Foxhunting And Trespass (FAFT) today calls on the Minister for Environment, Dick Roche, to STOP licensing the Ward Union deer hunt in Co. Meath, and to immediately revoke their current licence.

Our call comes after the recent outrageous incident when the Ward Union deer hounds invaded a school playground in Kildalkey, Co. Meath, rode roughshod through the village, causing traffic chaos and risk to life and limb, and then continued on their merry way to invade farmers' lands, without permission, cutting wire, and treating the landowners with arrogance and contempt. Not surprisingly, the Ward Union has now been banned from the Kildalkey area by local landowners.

FAFT would like it to be known that farmers in counties Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Laois, Kildare, Westmeath and elsewhere have been very successful in stopping hunting with hounds on commercial farms. We will continue to stop the hunters in their tracks and we urge all farmers to take a similar stand against these out of control marauders in our countryside. The cost to the farmer cannot be tolerated - trespassing hunters are responsible not only for damage to grassland and crops but also for destruction of the all-important fences and hedges which are vital for disease control and confinement of livestock.

There are still disease black spots in the country, including parts of counties Meath, Tipperary, Limerick, and North Dublin to which hunt supporters are invited from other areas, and from outside Ireland, to cause criminal damage to farmers' property.

There are now moves afoot to compensate farmers for the recreational use of their land. Not before time. FAFT are looking forward to payments of 500 Euro per incursion, per farm, per day - plus compensation for all damage; all of this to be paid promptly by hunting clubs.

We would like to see DRAG HUNTING only, and this exclusively on the hunters' own land or on land which farmers have given them signed permission to be on. This will prevent hunts from encroaching on lands, roads, schools, or villages where they are not wanted. It would ensure that the disgraceful scenes such as those witnessed in that County Meath primary school will never again shame our country.

There is also an urgent need for mounted hunts to comply with safety regulations, in particular for both horses and riders to wear reflective clothing when they are passing up and down country roads. Otherwise, they will continue to be a serious unseen obstruction on roads. "Be safe, be seen" is the advice to all road users, and the rest of us have to follow this advice. Why are the hunts not complying?

Philip Lynch
Farmers Against Foxhunting And Trespass
Tel: 056-7725309

Keeping hunts out: ICABS advice to farmers and other landowners

Unless hunters hold sporting rights to hunt on your property (this is not usually the case but if so, it will be specified on the title deeds to the property), neither they nor their dogs have a right to trespass on your property.

Under the (Control of Dogs Act), dogs must be kept "under effectual control" so if hunt hounds come on to property where they do not have permission to be, this would be an offence and the Gardai should be notified. (If possible, take photos or video footage to prove it took place). If trespass occurs by members of the hunt, the Gardai should be notified as well.

Sometimes hunts will say something like "we go where the dogs go" or "we didn't know we weren't allowed to enter your property" but this is not acceptable. If they didn't receive permission to enter the property, they should not be there.

Farmers affected by hunt trespass may wish to contact the Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass organisation which offers advice to landowners. Their chairman, Philip Lynch, can be reached at 056-7725309.

Please also see the Irish Council Against Blood Sports information leaflet, Troubled by the Hunt.

Photos: Ward Union's animal abuse

Six men holding deer in field
An injured, panting deer at the end of a Ward Union hunt. (Photo: Philip Kiernan)

Man with bloodied hand grabbing deer's mouth and ear
At the end of a Ward Union hunt - the captured deer can be seen here with blood on its wounded head.

Dogs closing in on exhausted Ward Union deer
The pack of Ward Union hounds closing in on the exhausted deer at the end of a day's hunting in County Meath. (Photo: Mike Huskisson)

Captured stag with bleeding mouth being dragged along
The captured deer - with a bleeding mouth - is dragged along towards the hunt's trailer at the end of a Ward Union hunt. Minutes earlier it was "rugby tackled" to the ground by a hunter. (Photo: Philip Kiernan)

Stag being dragged head first to the ground
A deer is tackled to the ground by hunters. Though exhausted from the chase, it struggles desperately to escape. (Photo: Mike Huskisson)


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.

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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