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Ranger narrowly avoids killing Ward Union deer
17 April 2009

A National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger has reported that he was forced to "brake hard" to avoid a fatal collision with a Ward Union deer. The ranger who was monitoring the hunt last season (25 November 2008) said he "narrowly avoided killing" the animal. ICABS has renewed its appeal to Green Party Environment Minister, John Gormley, to refuse future licences in the interests of both animal welfare and public safety.

These latest revelations about another near-miss incident surfaced in NPWS documents obtained by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports this week under the Freedom of Information Act.

In a letter to Minister Gormley, we stated that deer being chased on to public roads pose a very serious risk to motorists. We have urged the Minister to refuse future licence applications from the hunt before a member of the public is injured or killed during a hunt.

While monitoring the same hunt in the past, members of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports had to take evasive action to avoid crashing into a deer which was being chased around a corner into oncoming traffic. Only by braking hard, as the NPWS ranger was forced to do, were we able to avoid a collision with the terrified animal.

(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.

To: Environment Minister, John Gormley
Copy To: Green Party TDs, Senators

Dear Minister Gormley:

I was horrified to learn that a representative of your NPWS department was forced to "brake hard" to avoid hitting and killing a deer that was chased on to the road during a Ward Union deer hunt. Such a collision would have resulted in even greater suffering for the deer terrorised by this hunt and could also have led to the serious injury of a member of your own staff.

I urge you to refuse future licences to the Ward Union, on the grounds of both animal welfare and public safety. Another reason for you to stop licensing this blood sport is that it is contrary to the Green Party's animal welfare policies and your party's pre-election promise to 'introduce legislation to end blood sports'.

Please honour this promise for the animals and for the motorists in Meath and North County Dublin who are being exposed to potential danger.

Thank you. I look forward to your reply.

[*** Insert Your Name and Location Here ***]

A deer desperately running along a road in County Meath during a Ward Union hunt (2009)

A deer desperately running along a road in County Meath during a Ward Union hunt (1999)

Road chaos photos from the 2008-09 Ward Union season

Absolute mayhem: Cars and lorries are brought to a standstill as the pack of hunt hounds spill out on to the road.

With the hounds still on the road, traffic inches forward past the parked jeep of a hunt follower.

Roadblock: Hunters and hounds make this road totally impassable.

Horses, hounds and parked vehicles are seen here holding up traffic at this crossroads in Meath.

No way forward: A NPWS representative (present to monitor the hunt on behalf of Minister Gormley's office) is forced to reverse out of the way of oncoming traffic. The road has been reduced to a single lane due to the parked vehicles of hunt followers.

A hunter standing on the road looks down on traffic from his horse.

Ward Union followers block a road to traffic as mounted hunters cross in pursuit of the deer.

Vehicles delayed behind horseback hunters on a narrow country lane.

Hunters casually standing on the road and narrowing it to traffic.

A hunt follower signals to lorries that have been delayed due to horses and hounds on the road.

A mounted hunter crashes through a hedge on to a public road, narrowly missing a collision with an ICABS observer

Video: Urge the Green party to ban blood sports

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Video: Hunts on Irish Roads

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