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ICABS letter in Sunday Independent
9th January 2008

The Sunday Independent has published three letters highlighting the cruelty of the Ward Union's deer chase. Among those printed was one from ICABS Campaign Director, Aideen Yourell, who called for the hunt to stop terrorising the deer and switch to the humane alternative of drag hunting.

Stop bizarre deer hunting 'sport'
Sunday Independent, January 06, 2008
by Aideen Yourell, Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Sir -- It seems that the cavalry of the Ward Union, headed up by Michael Bailey, weren't able to whoop it up on St Stephen's Day when they couldn't hound a deer around the countryside for "sport", after Environment Minister John Gormley issued a restricted licence, which stipulates that deer must not be hunted by hounds (Sunday Independent, December 30).

For over 100 years now, this hunt, twice-weekly from November to March, has been subjecting tame deer to a distressing ordeal, leaving them exhausted, often injured and at risk of dying of heart failure, despite claims from one of their supporters that she had never seen a hunted deer injured.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, incidents of cruelty have been documented, such as deer dying of aneurisms; a deer choked on capture; a deer drowned in a quarry; a deer sustaining fractured ribs and dying; a deer hanging by its front leg on barbed wire; and lameness in deer following hunts. These, we believe, are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has always contended that this hunt should never have been licensed and this has now been borne out by Professors William Binchy and Clive Symmons of Trinity School of Law in a recently published legal opinion which concludes that the Ward Union hunt is "illegal" under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, and that it shouldn't be licensed under the 1976 Wildlife Act.

The Ward Union should now call it a day on their bizarre, outdated and abusive deer hunt, and switch to drag hunting, which is cruelty-free.

For more letters on this issue, visit

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