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"Phoney war is being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers"
18 May 2010

An editorial in the Irish Times has pointed to the "phoney war being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers against animal rights legislation". The paper has also criticised opposition to the legislation by Fine Gael and some Labour Party TDs as "a shabby, short-sighted exercise that does not reflect the legislative intent".

You can read the full text of the editorial below. Afterwards, please respond to the urgent action alert. Thank you.

Animal rights legislation
The Irish Times - Saturday, May 15, 2010

SOMETHING OF a phoney war is being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers against animal rights legislation promoted by the Green Party in Government. The legislation in question: the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill and the Wildlife Amendment Bill have been agreed by the leadership of both parties under a revised programme for government and are likely to become law before the summer recess.

The Wildlife Amendment Bill is the more contentious of the two. It proposes to ban stag hunting with hounds, which is only conducted by the Co Meath-based Ward Union Hunt. Green Party leader John Gormley argues the practice is unacceptable to the Irish people and should end because of animal welfare and public safety reasons. Hunt supporters say it is long established and highly regulated, contributes to the local economy, gives employment and no stags are killed. The issue is fiercely divisive, with many rural TDs and groups involved in "country sports" representing the proposed ban as the "thin end of the wedge" that will eventually be extended to hare coursing, fox hunting, shooting and fishing. Fine Gael has announced it will oppose the Bill and has pledged to revoke the legislation in government. The Labour Party has not adopted a formal stance on the issue but local TDs have spoken against the ban.

On the face of it, the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill should be uncontentious. It requires local authorities to regulate all agencies with more than six breeding bitches, ensure proper animal welfare standards are maintained and introduce electronic tagging for puppies. Offending establishments can be closed down.

Funding for this new regulatory system will come from the establishments concerned. Action was prompted by a series of horror stories from badly run puppy farms that involved appalling cruelty to animals in what is a highly profitable business. Unfortunately, Ireland's animal welfare reputation as "the breeding capital of Europe" is poor and remedial action was required.

Change is always difficult. But it is one of the few certainties in life. As the years pass, attitudes and values change. The phoney war now being waged by Fianna Fail backbenchers is little different from the behaviour of Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Politicians from all three organisations are appealing for traditional country votes. In the process, the Green Party and its concerns for animal welfare are being represented as intrinsically anti-rural. It is a shabby, short-sighted exercise that does not reflect the legislative intent.


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.


Please contact your local TDs today and encourage them to vote in favour of the upcoming legislation. Tell them that their attitude towards animal issues and their commitment to bringing animal cruelty to an end will be a major factor in your voting decision.

Why not also arrange a meeting with your local politicians to discuss your concerns about animal cruelty and encourage them to take action.

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

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

Dear Deputy

I am writing to urge you to vote in favour of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 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,


Majority support a ban on Ward Union
22 April 2010

An opinion poll carried out by the Irish Times has found that at least two out of every three people support legislation that will ban the Ward Union deerhunt. The hunt was described by those who voted in the poll as "unjustifiable", "uncivilised", "disgusting", "inhumane" and "barbaric". ICABS has brought the result to the attention of all TDs to remind them of the majority opposition across Ireland to the hunt.

The Irish Times poll asked "Do you support the introduction of a ban on hunting deer with packs of dogs?". A majority of 65 per cent voted YES. ICABS believes the number would have been even higher if the poll had remained open yesterday evening and last night.

When we asked the Times why people were unable to cast a vote from early evening on Wednesday, we were told that they were "experiencing a technical problem with all our polls over-night" and that this wasn't resolved until Thursday morning.

We believe that this prevented many more people from voting YES in favour of a ban. Those involved in hunting (who are free to go out for hours terrorising animals two, three or more times a week) are clearly more likely to be able to vote during non-working hours.

ICABS has thanked the Irish Times for conducting this poll and recording the fact that a majority of Irish people are opposed to the Ward Union and want it banned.

Previous poll found that Meath majority wants Ward Union banned
6 November 2007

A majority of people in Meath want Minister John Gormley to refuse a licence to the Ward Union hunt. According to a poll carried out by the Meath Post, nearly two thirds of residents in the Royal County now want the cruel hunt ended.

The poll also found that only around a quarter of locals want the hunt to continue while nine per cent of those polled said that they didn't know.

Pie chart showing majority want Ward Union hunt banned
The results of a Meath Post opinion poll confirm that a majority of Meath residents want the Ward Union banned.

The Cruelty of Carted Deer Hunting

The cruelty of carted deer hunting

A selection of images showing the cruelty of carted deer hunting.
To enlarge an image, simply click on it.

Videos: Carted deer hunting cruelty

More information about carted deer hunting

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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