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IFA asked to clarity position on blood sports
6 May 2010

The President of the Irish Farmers Association has been urged to clarify its stance on blood sports. The call comes following a claim that the IFA's Vice President has "given his organisation’s support" to a pro-blood sports campaign.

In a 9th April statement headed "Pro-hunting campaign welcomes farming support", the Rise group claims that "Vice President of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Eddie Downey, has given his organisation’s support to the campaign. Mr Downey said the campaign to defend hunting and other traditional rural sports was an integral part of the wider battle to defend rural Ireland on issues like cutbacks in farmers’ REPS payments and restrictions on turf cutting."

In a letter to the IFA President, ICABS highlighted the appalling cruelty involved in blood sports and the fact that a majority of Irish people are opposed to these activities.

"It is highly inappropriate for the national farming organisation (which depends on this very majority to purchase its members' produce) to come out in support of animal cruelty," we stated. "Surely the defence of any form of hunting is not official IFA policy. As you are no doubt aware, the majority of farmers want nothing to do with hunts due to fears about disease spread, the disturbance of farm animals and damage to pastures and field boundaries."

Quoted in the Irish Times of May 4, 2010, a spokesman for the IFA denied that they have links with the Rise group. “They are a separate organisation," he said. "The IFA is a very separate organisation.”

In the same article, Socialist MEP Joe Higgins called on the IFA and the ICMSA to “carefully consider” whether they supported the hunt because farming organisations depended on “millions of us buying their produce”.


Ask the IFA to clarify its position on blood sports, including deer hunting, fox hunting and hare coursing. Point out that you are one of the majority of Irish citizens opposed to animal cruelty. List the goods you purchase which are produced on Irish farms.

Mr John Bryan
President, The Irish Farmers Association,
Irish Farm Centre, Bluebell, Dublin 12.

The cruelty of blood sports in Ireland

More ICABS Videos

ICABS criticises milk group over pro-hunting stance
16 April 2010

ICABS has expressed disgust to the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association after its president referred to carted deerhunting as a "humane country activity" and claimed that the ban on the Ward Union is "unwanted, uncalled for, unfair and unprecedented in terms of the bias it represents against traditional country pursuits". The group has been told about the cruelty of deerhunting and presented with the results of an opinion poll which show that a majority want the hunt banned.

The comments from president Jackie Cahill were made in an April 2nd, 2010 statement headed "Minister Gormley should 'cop-on' and drop Wildlife Bill".

"The President of the country's second largest farmers' organisation has given his association's full support to the RISE [pro-blood sports] campaign against the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010," the statement says. "We have here a perfect example of Minister Gormley acting on the advice of a tiny but vocal group and banning something that the silent majority know to be a traditional and humane country activity."

"It is simply not acceptable to have perfectly legitimate pastimes banned," it adds.

In a letter to Jackie Cahill and ICMSA General Secretary, Ciaran Dolan, ICABS highlighted the suffering caused to deer by the Ward Union and rubbished claims that it was in any way "humane". Photos of terrified, exhausted, bleeding deer at the end of hunts, as well as links to our campaign videos, have also been forwarded to the organisation. We also dismissed the claim that the ban was unwanted, pointing to the results of an opinion poll which shows that a two thirds majority in County Meath want the hunt banned.

An injured, exhausted and bleeding deer at the end of a Ward Union carted deer hunt. The president of the ICMSA has referred to carted deer hunting as a "humane country activity"


Contact the ICMSA and tell them that carted deer hunting is inhumane and that a ban is most definitely wanted.

Jackie Cahill, President
Ciaran Dolan, General Secretary
ICMSA Head Office
John Feely House
Dublin Road, Limerick
Tel: +353 (0)61 314532 / 314677
Fax: +353 (0)61 315737

Forward a copy of your correspondence to your local TDs and urge them to reflect the wishes of the majority by voting in favour of legislation banning the Ward Union.

Address your correspondence to:
Dáil Éireann
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

Find out the name of your TDs and their email addresses

Dear Deputy

I am writing to urge you to vote in favour of the upcoming legislation which will outlaw the Ward Union deerhunt.

The unacceptable suffering caused to animals by this hunt is clearly presented in a new Irish Council Against Blood Sports leaflet which can be viewed at

I also encourage you to watch the following ICABS videos which explicitly show the cruelty: and

Deputy, I am one of the majority of the electorate who abhor animal cruelty. I want to see the Ward Union banned. Please do the right thing and vote in favour of the legislation.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,



Please send "I support a ban on the Ward Union" to Environment Minister, John Gormley, and An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen - Send email now Ask all your friends, work colleagues, neighbours and family members who are against blood sports to support this action alert. Thank you.

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