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Outrage at killing of "magnificent" neighbourhood fox
12 March 2008

The shooting of a fox by a Dublin golf club has left locals outraged. The fox, which the club claims was damaging greens, has been described by neighbours as a magnificent and fascinating creature. According to a report in the Irish Independent, a woman and her two children were in a "terrible state" after witnessing the shooting.

ICABS shares the outrage of residents at the killing of this fox. We have told Milltown Golf Club that foxes should be viewed as an asset in that they add to the character of the course and that most golfers cherish the sight of wildlife. We have urged the club to consider non-lethal methods if foxes really need to be deterred.

It is heartening to learn that those living in Milltown value the presence of foxes in their neighbourhood. The vast majority of citizens, both urban and rural, have a genuine appreciation for wildlife and would welcome increased protection from the kind of wanton destruction displayed on the local golf course. It's time now for our animal welfare laws to be updated to give wild animals the same protection as domestic animals.

Foxes continue to be among Ireland's most abused species. In the countryside, they are erroneously demonised out of all proportion and suffer relentless and widescale persecution. They are shot, usually at night by gunmen, who use high powered lamps to dazzle the creatures (gun clubs even compete on the numbers of foxes shot). They are also dug out of their earths and attacked underground by terriers where horrific battles take place, resulting in terrible injuries to both dogs and fox. They are hounded around the countryside by mounted hunters and packs of hounds, and if caught, they are ripped apart; if they find sanctuary underground, they are dug out by the hunt terriermen to meet their fate. They are also caught in snares where they die slow and agonising deaths. All this vile activity is carried out for "sport", thinly masquerading as so-called pest control.

However, foxes are not considered a major agricultural threat, according to experts. Incidents of predator attacks on lambs, including attacks by dogs and other animals, while dramatic and upsetting, are relatively low statistically. According to figures quoted by Teagasc in an article in the Irish Independent last year, the leading causes of lamb deaths were starvation and exposure to the elements 30%, difficult lambing 25%, infectious diseases 20%, and physical injury 15%. Furthermore, in 1992, a pilot study on lamb losses (Dept. of Agriculture Veterinary Lab, Athlone) showed generally similar results, with predation (including all kinds of predators) and misadventure (accidents, drownings, etc.) combined, cited at only 5%. The UK Ministry of Agriculture found much the same, citing predation at a mere 1%, adding that they did not consider foxes to be a significant factor in lamb mortality.

Meanwhile, Zoologist and author, Prof. James Fairley, in his 'An Irish Beast Book', deals with the erroneous perception some people hold, saying: "A great deal many allegations of lamb killing are based on insufficient or even non-existent evidence. When interviewing farmers, I found that in some cases, a dead, unwounded animal or the mere disappearance of a lamb were attributed to the work of the fox." Another Zoologist, Dr AD Scott, BSc PhD MBOU, concurs: "I've worked at fox dens in all areas covering every aspect of prey possibilities. I've observed what adult foxes have brought in, I've analysed countless numbers of scats or droppings, and also the stomach contents of many animals. Game birds were insignificant, and so too were poultry, and the only two lambs I've ever found at dens were already dead before they were carried in. They were in fact carrion mutton."

red fox photo by clodagh blake
Milltown Golf Club had a fox like this shot twice in the head for allegedly damaging its precious greens.


Please contact Milltown Golf Club and appeal to them to stop killing wildlife which comes on to their course. Tell them that the presence of wildlife adds to the atmosphere and character of a golf course and that many golfers would cherish the sight of a fox. Encourage them to use non-lethal methods if they really need to deter foxes.

Denis McDowell
Milltown Golf Club,
Lower Churchtown Road,
Milltown, Dublin 14

Tel: +353 1 497 6090
Fax: +353 1 497 6008

Irish Independent article on killing of fox

Outrage after golf club kills neighbourhood fox
Irish Independent - March 08 2008

Residents living near an exclusive golf club are up in arms after officials had a neighbourhood fox shot dead for damaging the greens.

Milltown Golf Club in south Dublin said that the animal was shot because it had caused "extensive damage" to the greens in recent times. It was shot by a licensed contractor and in accordance with regulations, it added.

However, locals living nearby said they were horrified that the creature, which had been a source of fascination for their children, was destroyed.

They denied that the fox, thought to be around three years old, had caused any damage to the links.

"A lot of the neighbours are thinking where is it going to stop?

"Are they going to start shooting neighbours' dogs and cats if they get on to the golf course?" asked one local man on RTE's 'Liveline' programme.

He said that another resident and her two children had been left in a "terrible state" after they witnessed a man shooting the fox twice in the head at around 10am on Monday. This allegedly happened within 60 feet of surrounding houses.

"All the neighbours are up in arms, including ourselves. We had observed this fox, he was a magnificent creature. He had actually learned to not fear humans as much as they (foxes) do. He would often be seen in the golf club within maybe 50 feet of the golfers playing there," he added.

"Apparently, they shot him within 20 feet, two shots to the head, and then one of the guys from Milltown left the golf buggy thing and went over and kicked it.

"Then they just dragged it up on to the back of the buggy and drove off with it. It was shocking, absolutely shocking," he said.

by Breda Heffernan


Please make a special appeal to Trevor Sargent TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture where new animal welfare legislation is currently being drafted. ICABS welcomed a statement from Minister Sargent last year in which he assured us that the new legislation will "ensure that the welfare of animals is properly protected". Please appeal to him to prioritise fox protection in the new act.

Trevor Sargent TD
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture
Tel: 01-6183465 (Dail)
Fax: 01-8900361

Dear Minister Sargent,

As one of the two thirds majority of Irish people who want foxhunting banned, I appeal to you to please ensure that foxes are afforded full protection from hunting groups in the new animal welfare legislation being drafted. Please do everything in your power to finally bring foxhunting to an end and protect foxes from this horrendous abuse.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,



Urge the Minister for Agriculture to protect foxes and all wild creatures from unnecessary cruelty.

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Dear Minister Coughlan,

I appeal to your sense of compassion to urgently intervene to save foxes from the barbarism of foxhunting. This blood sport is an abhorrent assault on our wildlife heritage and a complete ban is long overdue. Please ensure that Ireland's new animal welfare legislation includes protection for foxes.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,



Please urgently appeal to your local politicians

Please join us in telling all of Ireland's TDs that it is now time to replace foxhunting with the humane alternative - drag hunting.

Drag hunting sees the hounds chasing an artificial lure instead of a live animal. This form of "hunting" is already practised successfully by a few groups in Ireland. In a modern and civilised country like Ireland, there should be no place for foxhunting, particularly when a transition to drag hunting would be simple.

Please stand up for the foxes so cruelly abused by hunting groups - write to all of your local politicians and ask them to act to secure a ban on foxhunting. If possible, get your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. We need as much help with this campaign as possible.

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Write to your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website -


Contact Ireland's forestry board, Coillte, and demand an end to foxhunting on its property.

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

Mr. David Gunning
Chief Executive Officer
Coillte, The Irish Forestry Board
Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow

Tel: 01-201 1111
Fax: 01-201 1199

Dear Mr Gunning,

As an Irish citizen, and thereby a shareholder in Coillte, I am writing to demand an end to foxhunting on Coillte property.

I understand that Coillte currently issues permits to a number of foxhunts to carry out blood sport activities in forests. Considering the appalling cruelty of foxhunting and the fact that a majority of Irish people want it outlawed, the time has come for Coillte to do the decent thing and make all of its property off limits to foxhunting groups.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,


Video: Ban Foxhunting in Ireland
(Duration: 57 seconds)

Slideshow: The truth about foxes
(Duration: 02:22 minutes)

Videos: Drag Hunting - The humane alternative

Photos: Fox hunting cruelty

Please click on the pictures to view them in full-size.

More information about blood sports

Foxhunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition
Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition
Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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