Tell Ireland's forestry board, Coillte, to stop profiting from killing

ICABS is calling on Ireland's forestry board, Coillte, to stop selling licences to hunters to shoot defenceless forest creatures.

The licences Coillte are selling will allow hunters to target deer, birds and "other wild quarry species". The animals that will be gunned down include both forest wildlife and creatures introduced to the forests and released as living targets for shooters.

In an email to Coillte CEO, David Gunning, ICABS said that it is saddening that the company is happy to boost its profits from wildlife destruction. "Coillte is owned by the Irish people, the majority of whom value our wildlife and would abhor killing for fun," we stated. "We hope you will take this into consideration, end the killing and give protection to the defenceless forest creatures."

On its website, Coillte says it respects "the traditional nature" of hunting and stalking. Ironically, in another section of the site, Coillte urges nature-loving visitors to the forests to "respect wildlife", "avoid disturbing" animals and birds and avoid feeding wildlife as "our foods damage their health and leave them vulnerable to predators."


Please urgently contact Coillte and demand that they stop selling licences to hunters and making profits from the killing of defenceless animals and birds.

David Gunning
CEO, Coillte
The Irish Forestry Board
Co Wicklow

Tel: +353 (0)1 201 11 11
Fax: +353 (0)1 201 11 99

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter.)

Dear Mr Gunning,

I am writing to demand that Coillte stops selling licences to hunters to enter Coillte property to shoot and kill defenceless birds and animals.

It greatly saddens me that Coillte is happy to boost its revenue from the destruction of life. The animals that will be blasted to death are creatures currently living in the forests and those brought in for the specific purpose of being used as living targets for shooters.

These animals should be allowed to live free from persecution. Foxes, deer, rabbits and birds all add immeasurably to the public's enjoyment of the forest experience. I find it unacceptable that Coillte is sacrificing them for profit.

Coillte is owned by the Irish people, the majority of whom would oppose the killing of animals for fun. I call on you to make our forests a safe haven for wildlife and immediately end the practice of inviting hunters in to destroy.

Thank you. I look forward to your prompt reply.

Yours sincerely,


Also contact your nearest Coillte regional office.
You can find their locations at

Will creatures in your local forests be shot and killed?

To see the areas around Ireland at which Coillte is inviting hunters in to kill, please click on the links: Birds | Deer
Find out more about the licences on the Coillte website.

Letter to Editor - Irish Independent

Coillte’s callous yes to hunters in our forests
Irish Independent, August 08 2011

Ireland's forestry board is set to sacrifice thousands of defenceless creatures in a callous bid to boost its profits.

Coillte is currently selling licences that will allow hunters to destroy life in forests all over the country. Not only will woodland wildlife be killed but also creatures that Coillte is inviting hunters to introduce into the forests to use as targets.

Coillte is owned by the Irish people and this contamination of profits with blood money is surely unacceptable to the merciful majority.

The deer, foxes and birds should be allowed to live free from persecution. Ironically, on its website, Coillte urges visitors to forests to “respect wildlife” and “avoid disturbing animals and birds”.

Everyone who values life over death should urgently demand that Coillte practises what it preaches and keeps the hunters out.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports


Renewed appeal to Coillte to protect wildlife
22 October 2010

ICABS has renewed its appeal to state-owned forestry company, Coillte, to act to prevent hunters and hounds from persecuting wildlife in its forests. We have also urged the company to stop licensing hunting on its land.

Responding to a request from ICABS for the names of "any hunting clubs (e.g. foxhunts, mink hunts, hare hunts) that currently have permission to hunt in Coillte property", a company spokesperson said that there are a "small number of licence agreements in place with some clubs" but that Coillte is not in a position to disclose the details.

He also stated that many hunt clubs continue to traverse its forests, repeating an earlier company claim that Coillte "do not have control over this activity". ICABS believes that, in the absence of so-called sporting rights, Coillte is in a strong position to prevent such hunts from accessing its property.

In our latest appeal to Coillte to prevents hunters and hounds from terrorising wildlife, we pointed to Section 23 of the Forest Act 1988 (Section 37) Bye Laws 2009 which makes it clear that "A person shall not injure or otherwise interfere with any wildlife on Coillte lands, but nothing in this Bye-law shall affect Bye-law 17." Bye-law 17 refers to firearms and states that "A person shall not bring onto Coillte lands or use any firearm, as defined in section 4 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990 (No. 12 of 1990), except with the permission of Coillte (a) for competitions approved by Coillte, and b) for practice for such approved competitions."

In a Recreational Hunting page on its website, Coillte describes hunting and stalking as "some of the oldest forms of ‘forest recreation’", adding that "Coillte currently licence a large proportion of its forest estate for the recreational hunting and shooting of wild game, deer and other quarry species, by individuals, clubs / syndicates and commercial shoot operators."


Please urge Coillte to make its forests off limits to hunters and give protection to the resident wildlife.

The Irish Forestry Board
Co. Wicklow

Tel: ++353 1 2011111
Fax: ++353 1 2011199

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Coillte! Keep hunts out of our forests!
4 January 2008

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has renewed its appeal to Coillte to stop allowing hunters to chase and kill foxes on its property. The state-owned forestry company currently permits hunts to carry out their blood sport in a number of forests around the country. ICABS has this month launched a campaign video exposing the disturbance caused by packs of hounds in Coillte woodland.

In a letter to Coillte CEO, David Gunning, we stressed that facilitating hunting is totally unacceptable on land owned by the people of Ireland, most of whom want foxhunting banned (as confirmed by a 2007 Millward Brown opinion poll). We pointed out that hunters and packs of hounds running amok ruin the forest experience for everyone else - the tranquility of the forest is shattered for miles around and the hounds pose a danger to adults and children in the forest.

Also highlighted was the disturbance caused to the wildlife (including protected species such as badgers and squirrels) and the sickening fate of forest foxes chased and torn apart by the hounds. This animal cruelty which Coillte allows to take place must end.

Please join us now in urging Coillte to ban hunting from its property and to reject all future permit applications from hunts.

Campaign Video: Coillte! Keep hunts out of our forests!
Duration: 53 seconds

Send video link to a friend

About Coillte: Coillte is a private limited company. All of the shares in the company are held by the Minister for Agriculture and Food on behalf of the Irish State. The Board of Directors is appointed by the Minister for Agriculture and Food.

Fox running in forest
A fox desperately running for its life as a pack of foxhounds close in for the kill. This image was captured in a Coillte forest.

Closeup of foxhound
Frightening: A pack of howling foxhounds running amok in a Coillte forest. ICABS has told the company that this appalling situation represents not only a threat to wildlife (including protected species) but also to members of the public.

Trees in Coillte forest
"Forests are a great place to walk your dog. However remember that other visitors use the forest and they may not be as fond of your dog as you are and dogs can also cause disturbance to wildlife and live stock on adjoining farmland. Therefore you must be aware of what your dog is doing in the forest and be sure that they are under effective control. Effective control means that your dog will come at your command, if not your dog must to be kept on a lead." (The Coillte Outdoors website acknowledges that other forest users may not appreciate dogs running loose in the forest)

Video: Foxhunting cruelty

Foxhunting: More information

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