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Meath TD slammed for defending animal cruelty
19 September 2007

Fine Gael TD, Shane McEntee, has been criticised by ICABS for defending animal cruelty. Deputy McEntee has claimed that "hunting has a long and honourable tradition in County Meath" and is asking for a licence to be granted to the Ward Union hunt.

In a statement headed "Hands off Hunting", the Navan TD maintained that the controversial deer hunt "has built up an excellent relationship with farmers and the wider community across the county."

"I am calling on the Environment Minister, John Gormley to grant a licence to the Ward Union Hunt to hunt live stags," he said. "Any doubts about the future of the Ward Union Hunt should be removed. Meath would be a poorer place if the Ward Union Hunt was not allowed to hunt across its fields."

ICABS has strongly rejected Shane McEntee's pro-hunting claims and we have issued the following response.

It's hardly "honourable" to hound tame, defenceless deer around the countryside, leaving them exhausted and at high risk of injury, and even death. Department of Agriculture reports (obtained by this organisation under FOI) have revealed numerous disturbing incidents, including a deer hanging by its front leg on barbed wire, a deer which died of fractured ribs, a deer which died of a ruptured aortic aneurism brought on by the huge stress of the chase, a deer "accidentally" choked on capture, a deer, having run 8 miles in 90 minutes, with a lather of white foam around its muzzle, a deer which drowned in a quarry and a deer which dropped dead after desperately trying to escape over an 8ft wall.

How can Deputy McEntee, as a public representative, stand over and endorse such a cruel activity, masquerading as "sport"?

As regards Deputy McEntee's claim that the Ward Union has an "excellent relationship" with farmers and the wider community, this is highly questionable, given the litany of complaints down the years against this hunt from farmers and the general public regarding trespass on lands, damage to fields and boundaries as well as the cutting of wire - an admission made by a hunt official on RTE's Liveline show earlier this year. The hunt have also been criticised for invading private gardens, creating traffic hazards by riding along public roads, holding up vehicles, including a school bus and two ambulances (witnessed and filmed by ICABS) and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

The high profile and widely reported Kildalkey incident, earlier this year, pointed up the utter irresponsibility of this group, when a deer was chased into a schoolyard by the hounds, resulting in the school having to lock down, while the followers on horseback rode roughshod through Kildalkey village. All of these incidents most definitely negate Deputy McEntee's claim that the Ward Union has an "excellent relationship with farmers and the wider community".

It would behove Deputy McEntee to call for the Ward Union hunt to do the honourable and responsible thing and immediately switch to drag hunting. Drag hunting (already practised by the Ward Union as a way of exercising hounds) would be more humane, safer for all concerned, and more environmentally responsible, as the route taken by the hunt would be pre-ordained and set out with the agreement of farmers and landowners.

Deer at end of hunt
An injured, exhausted and bleeding deer at the end of a Ward Union carted deer hunt.


Please contact Minister John Gormley and ask him to refuse a carted deer hunting licence.

Sample Letter
(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.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 888 2403.
Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

I support the call by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports for you to refuse a licence to the Ward Union carted deer hunt.

The Green Party promised to ban blood sports when in government. I hope that you will take this opportunity to make history for Irish animals by refusing to licence these blood sports groups.

Thank you very much, Minister. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,



Please contact your local TD and Senator and ask them to make an appeal to Minister Gormley on your behalf.

For the names of your TDs, please click on your county on the Irish Government website

Contact your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337889 (1890 DEPUTY).

For a list of Senators, please visit the Irish Government website

Contact your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623 (1890 SEANAD).


If you are one of Shane McEntee's County Meath constituents, make him aware of your views on the Ward Union. If you are a landowner, homeowner, motorist or parent who has in any way been negatively affected by the Ward Union, please point this out in your correspondence. Ask Deputy McEntee to stop defending the Ward Union hunt.

Shane McEntee, TD
Dail Eireann
Kildare St, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 6184447. Fax: 01 6184509.


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