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Defence Minister "fully supports" ICABS campaign
01 May 2009

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has warmly welcomed a statement from the office of the Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, in which we were told that the Minister "fully supports" our campaign.

The heartening response came in reply to a fax sent by ICABS to Minister O'Dea this week in which we appealed for his help with our campaign against cruelty. We asked him to join our calls to the Minister for Agriculture to ban "cruel and barbaric digging out activities and the use of terriers and packs of hounds to harass, attack, injure and/or kill animals".

Our presentation to the Limerick East Fianna Fail TD included a photo of an injured and bleeding Irish fox being held up by a hunter after it was mercilessly dug out of its earth.

Although similar to illegal badger baiting, fox baiting remains legal in this country. It is carried out by what can only be described as thugs and sadists who dig animals out with spades and take pleasure in seeing their dogs inflicting the most savage injuries on them.

Digging out and terrierwork is also an integral part of foxhunting in Ireland. The foxhunters' so-called code of conduct states that "only one terrier at a time may be used to locate the fox except in rocks, stacks of bales or stick piles, etc...Digging shall only be conducted by a small number of experienced people and assistants appointed by the Master or his nominee." It also highlights their desire to keep this appalling act away from the public eye, stressing that "reasonable efforts shall be made to ensure that digging out will not become a public spectacle."

Badger baiting, dog fighting and cock fighting are already illegal in Ireland. Please join our appeal to the government to urgently take the next step and outlaw the heinous practice of fox digging and baiting and all forms of animal cruelty.


Please send a message of thanks to Minister Willie O'Dea for confirming his support of the campaign against blood sports. Urge him to do everything in his power to secure protection for the animals terrorised, injured and brutally killed in blood sports.

Minister Willie O'Dea
Office of The Minister for Defence
Department of Defence
Infirmary Road
Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8042105
Fax: 01 8042805
Lo Call: 1890 251890


Minister Brendan Smith
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
CC: (Taoiseach, Brian Cowen), (Minister's Secretary) and; (Trevor Sargent, TD, Minister of State at the Dept of Agriculture)
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Dear Minister Smith,

I am one of the majority of Irish citizens opposed to blood sports. I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' call on you to ban terrier work, digging out and the use of terriers and packs of hounds to harass, attack, injure and/or kill animals. There is absolutely no excuse for this shameful animal abuse which is carried out by sadistic thugs and foxhunting groups.

Please act urgently to protect animals from this cruelty.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,


Video: Digging Out and Terrierwork Cruelty in Ireland

Video: Foxhunting Cruelty in Ireland

About Minister O'Dea

Willie O'Dea was appointed Minister for Defence by Dail Éireann on September 29th 2004. He is a member of Dail Eireann for the Limerick East constituency. He was first elected to the Dail in February 1982 and at each subsequent Election.

Willie O Dea was formerly a Barrister and Accountant and has lectured at Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the University of Limerick. He was educated at the Patrician Brothers College, Ballyfin, Co. Laois, UCD, the Kings Inns and the Institute of Certified Accountants (BCL, LLM, BL, Certified Accountant).

Willie O'Dea has written a regular column for the Sunday Independent and occasionally for other national newspapers. Prior to his appointment to Cabinet, he served from June 2002 as Minister of State at Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform with special responsibility for Equality Issues.

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