latest news

Deer chased on to "busy public road"
24 October 2007

A Ward Union deer was chased on to a "busy public road" with "many vehicles going in both directions", ICABS was horrified to recently learn. Revealed in a document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it's yet another worrying incident involving the hunt coming on to main roads.

"As the hunt was close to finishing, the stag headed in the direction of Agher Cross, Summerhill, County Meath, where the huntsman, master and followers and some of the hounds were held up in a field surrounded by secure wire fencing." the document says of the incident which, we believe, occurred during the 2004/05 season. "The delay in the hunt's exit from this field, by way of looking for alternative exits and subsequently cutting wire, allowed the stag to continue onwards and away from the hunt along the road, followed by 16 hounds for several minutes."

The report outlines how it was members of the hunt who were following along on the road in a 4 wheel drive who eventually caught up with the fleeing animal.

"As soon as they observed the stag and hounds detached from the main hunt and on the public road, they called off the pursuing hounds and caught the stag with the aid of another nominated deer handler," it states, adding that "despite the busy road, with many vehicles going in both direction, this procedure was carried out with a minimum of fuss."

ICABS can only imagine the terror experienced by this deer as it contended with hounds, hunters and traffic in its desperate effort to escape.

We have brought the incident to the attention of the Road Safety Authority, the Garda Commissioner, the Road Safety Officer of Meath County Council and the Minister for Transport. We are asking all of them to act in the interests of public safety and join the calls on Minister John Gormley to refuse another licence to the Ward Union.

To see other instances of the Ward Union on public roads, please see our Gallery. The inconvenience and potential danger caused to motorists when hunts encroach on to roads can also be witnessed in our Hunts on Roads video presentation below.

Ward Union holding up traffic
"It's not unusual for a deer to end up on the road." (Ward Union hunt chairperson, Oliver Russell, Fingal Independent, January 2006)

Photos: carted deer hunting cruelty

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.

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.

Videos: Carted deer hunting cruelty

Ban the Ward Union Deer Hunt
Duration: 00:30
Hunts on our Roads
Duration: 06:39


Please contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to him 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 am writing to express my support for a total ban on the Ward Union hunt.

This hunt has been condemned not only by animal welfare groups but also by farmers, landowners, motorists, parents, householders and even hunters.

Refusing the Ward Union a licence will be welcomed by a huge cross-section of people across Ireland and the world. We all eagerly await your decision to ban this loathsome blood sport.

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).

Ambulance and bus halted by hunters
(From Animal Voice, Autumn/Winter 2005)

In the past, Animal Voice has highlighted how members of the Ward Union deerhunt and their followers act as if they own the public roads in Meath and North County Dublin.

We've caught them causing huge tailbacks when they come on to busy major thoroughfares, creating road blocks while posing for photographs, jumping through hedges onto country lanes, chasing deer onto and along roads and causing general inconvenience and potential danger to motorists.

We can now add another incident to the list. While monitoring the Ward Union last season, we witnessed a Bus Eireann school bus being forced to make an unscheduled stop when it met the hunt.

The bus slowed down and had to come to a complete standstill because the road ahead was impassable. The reason? Poorly parked cars owned by hunt followers.

The narrow country lane was littered with abandoned cars as their owners hung around to catch a glimpse of the deer the hunt was chasing that day.

Some returned to move their vehicles as a hunt member acted as traffic warden. He motioned to the bus driver that in order to avoid scraping along the side of a car, she would have to move in closer to the ditch. It was a delicate operation but finally the bus edged its way past and continued on its journey.

What makes this interference with the freeflow of traffic even more appalling is that it happened at a time of the day when the bus was more than likely on an active school run - en route, perhaps, to collecting waiting children.

But even worse was to come at this scene of traffic chaos. When the bus squeezed through, it emerged that directly behind was an ambulance vehicle.

The "Patient Care Transport Service" ambulance had also been halted on its journey by the hunters. We dread to think what affect the delay had on the care of patients.

ICABS has written to Bus Eireann and the Health Service Executive and urged them to lodge a complaint to the Gardai.

The halted bus and ambulance
A Bus Eireann school bus driver carefully navigates around vehicles abandoned by hunt followers. Some cars are eventually moved, allowing the delayed bus to slowly edge its way past. An ambulance was also caught up in the hunt obstruction. (Photos: Aideen Yourell/Philip Kiernan)

More information about carted deer hunting

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

News Menu | Join | Top | Home