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Details emerging about dead Ward Union deer
05 October 2007

More disturbing details have emerged about the deaths of two deer hunted by the Ward Union. As reported previously by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, one deer died after it desperately tried to escape over a wall while another drowned in a quarry.

Documents recently supplied to ICABS include statements from a veterinary surgeon who was present at some of the hunts. His description of two particular incidents provide a sickening account of the fate of the deer.

In a report submitted to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the vet refers to a Ward Union hunt in Scurlogstown in County Meath during the 2006-07 season. He reveals that a deer "died as a result of 'dry drowning' having fallen into a quarry." This shocking incident obviously occurred as the creature was desperately trying to stay ahead of the pack of hounds and Ward Union riders.

The vet mentioned other deer that suffered injuries during the season. Five had "slight lameness" and two had "skin abrasions", he said.

In another report dealing with the 2004-05 season (also recently obtained by ICABS), details are provided about an unfortunate deer that dropped dead after trying to escape over a high wall. The deer was eight years old and was hunted for approximately one and a half hours, according to the document.

What follows is the harrowing account of the deer's final minutes of life...

"At 15.25, the stag approached a walled garden attached to a semi-detached cottage in a cul-de-sac near Ringlestown, Kilmessan, County Meath. At this point the hunstman called off the hounds and effectively ended the hunt, thus allowing the nominated deer handlers to commence the capture of the stag...At this point the stag, which was not being pursued, jumped over a 5 foot in height wall into the cottage garden, following which 3 nominated handlers entered the garden through a side gate. The stag, in full view of two of the handlers then attempted to escape from the garden by attempting unsuccessfully to scale a higher wall (approximately 8-9 feet high) before being captured on his feet by the three nominated handlers...The stag was held for approximately five minutes by the handlers as they waited for the deer cart to arrive, following which he suddenly dropped dead...The cause of death was due to a ruptured aorta."

Incredibly, members of the hunt were praised in the report for lifting the dead deer "in a dignified manner" through the side gate of the garden and into the deer cart.

Please urgently join our appeal to Minister John Gormley to ban this hunt by refusing a licence. Scroll down now for photos, video and Action Alert.

Photos: carted deer hunting cruelty

One of the Ward Union hunt's "deer handlers" prevents an exhausted and injured deer from escaping by grabbing hold of its mouth and ear. Another handler attempts to hide the head injury by holding his hand over it. This photo was taken at the end of a Ward Union hunt in County Meath.

Ward Union hunt members push the injured and panting deer back towards the deer cart at the end of a hunt.

Ward Union "deer handlers" wrestle the deer head-first into the ground at the end of a hunt. Animals are at great risk during this merciless move and at least one has been choked to death. Please help us to stop the Ward Union hunt by responding to our action alert below.

Video: Carted deer hunting cruelty

Carted deer hunting


Please contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to stop carted deer hunt cruelty by firmly refusing a licence to the Ward Union.

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 appeal to you to please refuse a licence to the Ward Union hunt. It is sickening to read about the injuries sustained by deer during Ward Union hunts and also the horrendous deaths of deer. One dropped dead after trying to escape over a wall, for example, while another drowned in a quarry. This cruel blood sport has no place in modern Ireland.

May I remind you of the Green Party's pre-election pledge to ban blood sports when in government. Minister, please do not licence this hunt for another year of animal abuse.

Thank you.

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).

More information about carted deer hunting

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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