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Stagg's stunning U-turn on blood sports
21 May 2010

Labour Party TD, Emmet Stagg, has recently said that he sees "nothing wrong with stag hunting" and that he will vote against the legislation that will ban the cruel activity. This deplorable stance is in stark contrast to his views in the early Nineties when he expressed his full support for the ICABS campaign. Find out what he said then and what he is saying now.

In the early Nineties, Emmet Stagg sent the following message in support of a rally against coursing in Balbriggan:

"On behalf of myself and the Labour Party I want to express my full and unequivocal support for the banning of hare coursing in Ireland and throughout the European Community. It is a travesty that hare coursing is referred to as a 'sport'. It is a sadistic, cruel and barbarous activity and it is a discredit to our society that such activities remain legal. The vast majority of Irish people want this activity banned and the Labour Party commits itself to working with any other political party in Dail Eireann to bring about an end to hare coursing and other so-called field sports. It is imperative that the Irish Council Against Blood Sports continue their campaign and that people highlight in the media the barbarity of this activity. Only through a campaign of protest can we bring enough pressure on the Government and political parties to ban hare coursing. I wish this and future protests every possible success. Again, on behalf of the Labour Party, we will assist this campaign in every way possible."

Despite stating that he and the Labour party would work to bring an end to hare coursing and other "so-called field sports", now almost 20 years later, he has come out in support of what he now calls "country sports in general". Quoted in the Irish Times of April 29th 2010, Mr Stagg said: I see nothing wrong with it [stag hunting] at all. I think its well regulated. Im a supporter of country sports in general. He made these comments despite being made aware of the appalling cruelty of carted deer hunting.

So we in ICABS ask what conversion did Emmett Stagg have that changed his mind so utterly about the type of cruelty he condemned so unequivocally back then. We can only conclude that Deputy Stagg is playing politics with the issue, opposing the banning of the Ward Union deer hunt because it is the Green Party's initiative, agreed by Fianna Fail in the programme for government.

We call on the Labour Party to make known their stance on the Bill to outlaw the Ward Union, which we hope they will decide to support, and we remind them of Ruairi Quinn's (then Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1992) statement to an ICABS Conference regarding bloodsports as follows: "Political circles in Ireland have been weak on this issue and the whole campaign against blood "sports" unfortunately receives tacit support from many of our public representatives. It is about time that our legislators faced up to the stark cruelty involved in blood "sports" by tabling appropriate legislation which would ban such "sports" for once and for all in Ireland."

As for Fine Gael, they have, like the Tories across the water, said that they will repeal the legislation if they get into government, and have declared that they support what they term all regulated country sports. Are we to conclude therefore that the Labour Party, if they happen to form a future government with Fine Gael, will support repealing the upcoming ban on this cruel deer hunt?

It's time for TDs of all parties to quit playing politics with this issue, and to examine these pieces of legislation on their facts, leaving aside party politics. As the editor of the Irish Times quite rightly stated in last Saturday's editorial, opposition to the bill by Fine Gael and some Labour TDs is "a shabby, short-sighted exercise that does not reflect the legislative intent."



Ask Emmet Stagg, TD to open his eyes to the cruelty of stag hunting and vote in support of the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which will ban the cruel blood sport.

CC: Eamon Gilmore, Leader, Labour Party
Tel: 00353 (0)1 6183013


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,


The Cruelty of Carted Deer Hunting

Videos: Carted deer hunting cruelty

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.

More information about carted deer hunting

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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