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Disappointment as Gormley green lights Ward Union hunt
25 September 2008

Bleeding deer alongside photo of Minister John Gormley

ICABS has expressed its disappointment to Minister John Gormley after learning that he has issued another licence to the Ward Union hunt. The licence came despite strong appeals for the hunt to be stopped from practising what is believed to be an unlawful activity under existing animal protection legislation.

We are currently awaiting details of the 34 conditions attached to the licence but it has to be acknowledged that no amount of conditions can alleviate the terror and stress of the animals.

We are aware of two licence conditions - the deer are to be given a 2km start before hounds are released, and the "hounds must not encounter the deer at close quarters and will be required to withdraw to a distance of 150 metres." How this will be enforced is, to say the least, mind-boggling! As far as we are concerned, these conditions are merely window dressing and the Minister should have refused this licence outright.

Our campaign against this cruel and illegal hunt continues.

At the end of a hunt, one of the Ward Union hunt's "deer handlers" prevents an exhausted and injured deer from escaping by grabbing hold of its mouth and ear. Another handler attempts to hide the head injury by holding his hand over it. View more photos

Minister Gormley's statement on latest hunt licence

Mr John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government stated today (12 September 2008) that he had notified the Ward Union Hunt of his decision to grant the Hunt a licence under the Wildlife Act, 1976 with a number of new conditions.

Section 26 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, provides that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government may issue a licence for the hunting of stags with a pack of stag hounds. The Minister has examined the Ward Union Hunt's licence application for the 2008/2009 season and he has decided to issue a licence to the Hunt subject to thirty four conditions.

In granting the licence for the forthcoming season, the Minister took account of the High Court settlement reached with the Ward Union Hunt earlier in the year relating to the conditions attached to the previous licence. The Minister also took into account the reports by officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of his Department who monitored last season's hunt meetings. The Minister was particularly concerned with the protection of the deer from undue stress and two new conditions have been included on the new licence to reflect his concerns in this regard.

The new conditions allow the deer to travel at least 2 kilometres before the hounds are released or if this cannot be confirmed the hounds may not be released until 30 minutes after the release of the deer. In addition, the hounds must not encounter the deer at close quarters and will be required to withdraw to a distance of 150 metres. These new conditions will still allow the hounds to pick up the scent of the deer but address concerns that the hounds should be kept well away from the deer.

The other new conditions on the licence relate to limiting the size of the hunt and public safety issues. The Minister also said that officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of his Department will continue to monitor hunt meetings to ensure compliance with the conditions of the licence.


Express your disappointment to Minister Gormley at his decision to issue yet another licence to the Ward Union. Restate your opposition to cruel carted deer hunting and urge him to stop licensing this, and other, blood sports.

(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.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Videos: Carted deer hunting cruelty

Slideshow - Ward Union
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Ban the Ward Union
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Carted deer hunting
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More information about carted deer hunting

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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