latest news

Sickened hunter calls for "life ban" on 2 hunts
9 April 2008

A hunter who is alleging that foxes were dug out of their earth with spades and bars is calling for "a life ban" on two hunts. Quoted in the Avondhu newspaper, the long-time hunt supporter said he was "sickened to the core" to witness the scene. He has also alleged that a captive fox was released from a bag in front of hounds and that members of the Ormond and Avondhu hunts were "implicit in this act of barbarism".

Following a call from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, the incident is currently being investigated by the Gardai in Fermoy.

The Avondhu newspaper says it was contacted by the sickened hunting enthusiast who "described how a group of men dug foxes out of their underground hiding place with spades and bars, subsequently killing them".

The hunter brands digging out as being contrary to 'the good sport' to leave foxes alone once they have outwitted the hounds and escaped underground. However, digging out is commonplace during Irish hunts and acknowledged by the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association's so-called code of conduct as being a part of foxhunting in Ireland. "Digging shall only be conducted by a small number of experienced people and assistants appointed by the Master or his nominee," it states. "Reasonable efforts shall be made to ensure that digging out will not become a public spectacle."

In 1999, ICABS urged our then government to show compassion and make it illegal for hunters to dig foxes out of their earths. Our appeal fell on deaf ears but over the years we have continued to plead with politicians to outlaw this vile practice and hit those taking part in dig-outs with tough penalties. In recent weeks, we have renewed our appeal to the current government.

"It goes against my grain to report this to you but these hunts deserve to be exposed and the actions of the IMFHA need to be questioned,” the quoted source told the Avondhu. “I thought bagged foxes were a relic of darker times and consigned to the history books. The gentlemen of the Avondhu and Ormond Hunts are stuck in the past and their actions will only hasten the demise of foxhunting in Ireland. The anti foxhunting brigade can hang up their boots, foxhunting will end as a result of the actions of its own followers”.

Although unlawful to release a captive animal in front of hounds, ICABS believes that this may also be commonplace in hunting and that hunt followers turn a blind eye to the cruel practice. Bagged foxes are released by hunts when hounds fail to find the scent of a fox in the wild.

In a separate report in the Nenagh Guardian, it is suggested that the alleged incident came to light only after complaints were made by hunters from the UK.

Please join ICABS in our urgent appeal to the Irish Government to follow the example of the UK Governments and finally ban foxhunting with packs of hounds. Cruelty is integral to foxhunting - from the moment the fox is disturbed from its habitat to the finale when the creature is knocked off its feet and bitten and mauled to death. No rules, guidelines or suspensions will ever change the fact that this blood sport is totally based on unacceptable animal abuse and that a huge majority of Irish people want it banned NOW.


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)

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

Make a donation to ICABS

Please consider making a small donation to ICABS. For more details, please click on the button below or follow this link to find out how to become a campaign supporter. Thank you.

News Menu | Join | Top | Home