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RTE radio show provides platform for hunt misinformation
13 March 2008

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has contacted RTE after a radio programme profiled a hunter who outrageously branded foxes as "vermin" and anti-hunt campaigners as "no good for society". The "Curious Ear" show also gave the hunter an opportunity to make the erroneous claim that hunting with packs of dogs is part of nature.

ICABS has asked RTE to stop providing hunters with a platform for spreading misinformation. We have also appealed to them to redress the balance by featuring an anti-hunt campaigner in a future episode.

If you would like to hear the show for yourself, please click on this RTE website link: (mp3 file)

Among the misinformation presented on the show by the hunter was:

Hounds are bred to hunt "the same as a cat is bred to catch a mouse".
The truth: Before foxhounds will chase a fox, they have to be introduced to fox blood. This deplorable practice takes place before the start of the hunting season when hunts bring their new hounds to a fox covert and urge them to attack and kill young fox cubs. This is known as cub hunting, or, in euphemistic hunting terms, "Autumn Hunting".

"Just because some people think it's cruel catching a fox, you can't stop nature"
The truth: Chasing a fox with a pack of hounds is certainly not a part of nature.

"[Anti-hunt campaigners] have no idea of country life or the way it works, they are no good for society"
The truth: Successive opinion polls in Ireland have shown that a majority of people in both urban and country areas are opposed to foxhunting. It is an insult to those living in the countryside to suggest that they are incapable of recognising animal cruelty and opposing it.

"Healthy foxes rarely get killed"
The truth: All kinds of foxes get killed during hunts - the healthy ones and the ones not fit enough to run from the pack of hounds. It is the healthy foxes which hunts undoubtedly prefer to chase as they provide them with longer runs across the countryside. When these foxes are so exhausted that they can run no more, they are knocked off their feet and ripped apart by the pack.

"Foxes are vermin - foxes will kill everything"
The truth: All the scientific evidence shows that the fox is not a significant pest to either sheep or poultry farmers. The Department of Agriculture, Teagasc and the National Parks and Wildlife Service agree that foxes are not a major threat to farmers. The Department of Agriculture recommends to farmers that they "should not allow foxhunts to traverse fields with livestock". The fact is that foxes can be a valuable asset to farmers by, for example, keeping down the numbers of rabbits, voles and rats which form a natural part of their diet. Hunters never mention this, of course.

red fox photo by clodagh blake
People from both rural and urban areas want foxes protected from the cruelty of foxhunting.


Please contact RTE and ask them to redress the balance by featuring an anti-hunt campaigner on a future episode of the "Curious Ear" programme.

Ronan Kelly
The Curious Ear
Donnybrook, Dublin 4.



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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