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URGENT ACTION ALERTS - Ban the Ward Union hunt
25 June 2010

We need your help with a selection of urgent action alerts. Please get involved now and help bring the Ward Union hunt to an end. Forward the action alerts to family members, friends and colleagues and ask them to join you. Thank you.

Contact all your TDs and ask them to support the Bill
Ask the Labour Party to change its stance and vote for bill

Contact all your TDs and ask them to support the Bill


Please contact all the TDs in your constituency and urge them to vote in favour of the Wildlife Amendment Bill which will ban the Ward Union hunt. The vote takes places this Tuesday, 29th June, so please act now. It's easy - simply click on your constituency below and an email will be created for you to send.

Bobby Aylward (Fianna Fail):
Phil Hogan (Fine Gael):
John McGuinness (Fianna Fail):
MJ Nolan (Fianna Fail):
Mary Alexandra White (Green Party):

Margaret Conlon (Fianna Fail):
Seymour Crawford (Fine Gael):
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Sinn Fein):
Dr. Rory O'Hanlon (Fianna Fail):
Brendan Smith (Fianna Fail):

Pat Breen (Fine Gael):
Joe Carey (Fine Gael):
Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fail):
Tony Killeen (Fianna Fail):

Cork East
Michael Ahern (Fianna Fail):
Ned O'Keeffe (Fianna Fail):
Sean Sherlock (Labour Party):
David Stanton (Fine Gael):

Cork North-Central
Bernard Allen (Fine Gael):
Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fail):
Kathleen Lynch (Labour Party):
Noel O'Flynn (Fianna Fail):

Cork North-West
Michael Creed (Fine Gael):
Michael Moynihan (Fianna Fail):
Batt O'Keeffe (Fianna Fail):

Cork South-Central
Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael):
Simon Coveney (Fine Gael):
Ciarán Lynch (Labour Party):
Micheál Martin (Fianna Fail):
Michael McGrath (Fianna Fail):

Cork South-West
Jim O'Keeffe (Fine Gael):
Christy O'Sullivan (Fianna Fail):
PJ Sheehan (Fine Gael):

Donegal North-East
Niall Blaney (Fianna Fail):
Joe McHugh (Fine Gael):
Dr. James McDaid (Fianna Fail):

Donegal South-West
Mary Coughlan (Fianna Fail):
Dinny McGinley (Fine Gael):

Dublin Central
Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail):
Cyprian Brady (Fianna Fail):
Joe Costello (Labour Party):
Maureen O'Sullivan (Independent):

Dublin Mid West
John Curran (Fianna Fail):
Paul Nicholas Gogarty (Green Party):
Mary Harney (Independent): minister'
Joanna Tuffy (Labour Party):

Dublin North
Michael Kennedy (Fianna Fail):
Darragh O'Brien (Fianna Fail):
Dr. James Reilly (Fine Gael):
Trevor Sargent (Green Party):

Dublin North Central
Richard Bruton (Fine Gael):
Sean Haughey (Fianna Fail):
Finian McGrath (Independent):

Dublin North-East
Tommy Broughan (Labour Party):
Terence Flanagan (Fine Gael):
Dr. Michael J Woods (Fianna Fail):

Dublin North-West
Noel Ahern (Fianna Fail):
Pat Carey (Fianna Fail):
Róisín Shortall (Labour Party):

Dublin South
Tom Kitt (Fianna Fail):
Olivia Mitchell (Fine Gael):
Eamon Ryan (Green Party):
Alan Shatter (Fine Gael):

Dublin South-Central
Seán Ardagh (Fianna Fail):
Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael):
Michael Mulcahy (Fianna Fail):
Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Sinn Fein):
Dr. Mary Upton (Labour Party):

Dublin South-East
Chris Andrews (Fianna Fail):
Lucinda Creighton (Fine Gael):
John Gormley (Green Party):
Ruairí Quinn (Labour Party):

Dublin South-West
Brian Hayes (Fine Gael):
Conor Lenihan (Fianna Fail):
Charlie O'Connor (Fianna Fail):
Pat Rabbitte (Labour Party):

Dublin West
Joan Burton (Labour Party):
Brian Joseph Lenihan (Fianna Fail):
Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael):

Dún Laoghaire
Barry Andrews (Fianna Fail):
Sean Barrett (Fine Gael):
Ciaran Cuffe (Green Party):
Eamon Gilmore (Labour Party):
Mary Hanafin (Fianna Fail):

Galway East
Ulick Burke (Fine Gael):
Paul Connaughton (Fine Gael):
Michael P Kitt (Fianna Fail):
Noel Treacy (Fianna Fail):

Galway West
Frank Fahey (Fianna Fail):
Noel Grealish (Progressive Democrats):
Michael D. Higgins (Labour Party):
Pádraic McCormack (Fine Gael):
Éamon Ó Cuív (Fianna Fail):

Kerry North
Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael):
Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein):
Thomas McEllistrim (Fianna Fail):

Kerry South
Jackie Healy-Rae (Independent):
John O'Donoghue (Fianna Fail):
Tom Sheahan (Fine Gael):

Kildare North
Aíne Brady (Fianna Fail):
Bernard Durkan (Fine Gael):
Michael Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail):
Emmet Stagg (Labour Party):

Kildare South
Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Fianna Fail):
Seán Power (Fianna Fail):
Jack Wall (Labour Party):

Brian Cowen (Fianna Fail):
Olwyn Enright (Fine Gael):
Charles Flanagan (Fine Gael):
Sean Fleming (Fianna Fail):
John Anthony Moloney (Fianna Fail):

Limerick East
Michael Noonan (Fine Gael):
Willie O'Dea (Fianna Fail):
Kieran O'Donnell (Fine Gael):
Jan O'Sullivan (Labour Party):
Peter Power (Fianna Fail):

Limerick West
Niall Collins (Fianna Fail):
John Cregan (Fianna Fail):
Dan Neville (Fine Gael):

Longford -Westmeath
James Bannon (Fine Gael):
Peter Kelly (Fianna Fail):
Mary O'Rourke (Fianna Fail):
Willie Penrose (Labour Party):

Dermot Ahern (Fianna Fail):
Séamus Kirk (Fianna Fail):
Arthur Morgan (Sinn Fein):
Fergus O'Dowd (Fine Gael):

Dara Calleary (Fianna Fail):
Beverley Flynn (Fianna Fail):
Enda Kenny (Fine Gael):
John O'Mahony (Fine Gael):
Michael Ring (Fine Gael):

Meath East
Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail):
Shane McEntee (Fine Gael):
Mary Wallace (Fianna Fail):

Meath West
Johnny Brady (Fianna Fail):
Noel Dempsey (Fianna Fail):
Damien English (Fine Gael):

Roscommon-South Leitrim
Frank Feighan (Fine Gael):
Michael Finneran (Fianna Fail):
Denis Naughten (Fine Gael):

Sligo-North Leitrim
Jimmy Devins (Fianna Fail):
John Perry (Fine Gael):
Eamon Scanlon (Fianna Fail):

Tipperary North
Noel J Coonan (Fine Gael):
Máire Hoctor (Fianna Fail):
Michael Lowry (Independent):

Tipperary South
Tom Hayes (Fine Gael):
Dr Martin Mansergh (Fianna Fail):
Mattie McGrath (Fianna Fail):

Martin Cullen (Fianna Fail):
John Deasy (Fine Gael):
Brendan Kenneally (Fianna Fail):
Brian O'Shea (Labour Party):

John Browne (Fianna Fail):
Sean Connick (Fianna Fail):
Michael W D'Arcy (Fine Gael):
Brendan Howlin (Labour Party):
Paul Kehoe (Fine Gael):

Joe Behan (Independent):
Andrew Doyle (Fine Gael):
Liz McManus (Labour Party):
Dick Roche (Fianna Fail):
Billy Godfrey Timmins (Fine Gael):

Ask the Labour Party to change its stance and vote for bill


Please contact all Labour Party TDs and urge them to fully support the upcoming ban on the Ward Union.
Click Here to send an email to the party's TDs

Down the years, various members of the Labour Party are on record as opposing blood sports. For example, Eamon Gilmore, the Leader, stated (when in Democratic Left): "I am opposed to the blood sports of badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hare coursing and stag hunting. Democratic Left strongly believes in protecting our wildlife and we are very concerned about the cruelty and impact on the various species of so-called blood sports."

And in 2007, Eamon Gilmore tabled a Dail question to Minister John Gormley, asking him not to grant a licence to the Ward Union hunt (Eamon Gilmore: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if, in view of the fact that the stags hunted by a hunt (details supplied) in County Meath are farmed domesticated deer, and therefore not wild, he will withhold the issuing of a licence in 2007 under the Wildlife Act 1976 permitting stag hunting)

"They (Labour) should be ashamed of themselves," said ICABS spokesperson, Aideen Yourell. "What they are doing in opposing this Bill is utterly unprincipled and morally bankrupt. Their words of support in the past are now empty and meaningless – they have no word! They are devoid of compassion for these vulnerable animals hounded for fun, and for their own cynical reasons, they are now opposing legislation to outlaw this barbarism. They should take note of the fact that the vast majority in this country oppose bloodsports and the Ward Union deer hunt."

Views of Labour Party TD

Among the comments from Labour Party TDs we have recorded are as follows:

Eamon Gilmore, TD (Leader of the Labour Party): "I am opposed to the blood sports of badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hare coursing and stag hunting."

Tommy Broughan, TD: "I remain opposed to all so called blood 'sports'"

Joe Costello , TD: "I am opposed to all blood sports...The legislation is silent on blood sports...We must address the bloodsports issue in Ireland. We have touched on it from time to time but we have never dealt with it seriously, either in terms of coursing, fox hunting, stag hunting or badger baiting or hunting, nor have we addressed the considerable cruelty attached to the manner in which it is done and the way the animal is treated both in the hunt and in the killing." (Speaking as a Senator in 16th November 2000).

Liz McManus, TD: "I support a ban on live hare coursing, carted deer hunting and a tightening up of regulations on fox hunting."

Michael D. Higgins, TD - Michael D Higgins is a former vice-chairperson of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Jan O'Sullivan, TD: "I will allow you to add my name on to the list of T.D.'s who do not support bloodsports"

Emmet Stagg: In 1993 - "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." In 2010 - I see "nothing wrong with stag hunting"

Pat Rabbitte, TD: "I do not support bloodsports"

Ruairi Quinn, TD: "As you may know I used to be a member of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports. Personally, I am against the hunting of live animals with dogs i.e. fox hunting, live hare coursing and carted deer hunting."

Video: Carted deer hunting cruelty

View More Videos exposing the cruelty of carted deer hunting and other blood sports.

The cruelty of carted deer hunting

The following list conveys just some of the cruelty of carted deer hunting and the suffering caused to the deer.

"In January 1999, Irish Council Against Blood Sports monitors obtained the first ever photographic and video evidence of the cruelty of the Ward Union carted deer hunt. Available to view in the videos and gallery pages of, it shows a terrified and exhausted stag, having been pursued across countryside for one and a half hours and cornered in a field by a pack of hounds. An ICABS cameraman raced to the scene and managed to film the terrified stag under pressure from hounds and being bitten. A number of hunt supporters manhandled the stag to the ground, and the exhausted animal with blood on its mouth and its tongue hanging out, was dragged away down a laneway through a farmyard and pushed into a cart." (Irish Council Against Blood Sports report, 1999)
During a Ward Union hunt in December 2009, a hunted deer jumped on to a road, was struck by a car, smashed into its windscreen and suffered a broken leg. The animal was put down. The occupants of the car were left badly shaken according to a relative speaking on RTE's Liveline radio show. The Irish Times of December 19, 2009 reported on the collision as follows "An incident occurred last Friday week which will only strengthen Gormley’s view that it should be banned. At 1.30pm a stag collided with the windscreen of a car on the Slane-to- Ashbourne road near Ashbourne. The animal broke a leg and was put down."
On 25 November 2008, a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger monitoring the Ward Union hunt reported that he was forced to "brake hard" to avoid a collision with a hunted deer. The ranger said he "narrowly avoided killing" the animal.
In a veterinary report submitted to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, a veterinary surgeon monitoring a hunt at Scurlogstown, County Meath during the 2006-07 season, reveals that a deer "died as a result of 'dry drowning' having fallen into a quarry." The vet mentioned other deer that suffered injuries during the season. Five deer had "slight lameness" and two had "skin abrasions", he said.
In an official report dealing with the 2004-05 Ward Union season (obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act), details are provided about an 8-year-old deer that dropped dead after trying to escape. The death occurred after the creature was hunted for approximately one and a half hours. The following provides a harrowing glimpse into the deer's final minutes of life... "the stag...jumped over a 5 foot in height wall into the cottage garden, following which 3 nominated handlers entered the garden through a side gate. The stag, in full view of two of the handlers then attempted to escape from the garden by attempting unsuccessfully to scale a higher wall (approximately 8-9 feet high) before being captured on his feet by the three nominated handlers...The stag was held for approximately five minutes by the handlers as they waited for the deer cart to arrive, following which he suddenly dropped dead...The cause of death was due to a ruptured aorta."
A report in the Irish Times revealed that a stag being pursued by the Ward Union hunt was forced to swim across the River Boyne in a desperate bid to escape. The stag went into the river near Navan during a hunt on December 30th 2008 during a chase involving "50 huntsmen and huntswomen on horseback, in addition to some Ward Union staff...and a pack of hounds". (from "Stag escapes from Meath hunters by swimming river", Irish Times, December 31, 2008)
A farmer who phoned in to RTE's Liveline show following the chasing of a Ward Union deer into a school playground, said he had never before seen "an animal so shook looking". "I pitied him," the farmer said. "He was covered in a lather of sweat and his tongue was hanging out." When he questioned the hunt about their behaviour, he said they told him to "F*** off." (Liveline Radio Show, RTE, January 2007)
A Ward Union deer was choked to death in a wood, the Irish Farmers Journal has revealed. The death occurred at the end of a hunt and is one of the fatalities caused by the Ward Union "over the last few years", the newspaper reported. (From a report highlighted on the Irish Council Against Blood Sports website, 2007)
Two deer were hounded to their deaths by the Ward Union hunt during the 2004-05 season. The deer deaths were recorded in a Department of Agriculture report obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act. A veterinary inspector from the Department highlighted in the report how one deer died from fractured ribs while another died from a ruptured aortic aneurism.
According to a Department of Agriculture report obtained by ICABS, a deer hounded by the Ward Union Deerhunt died when recaptured at the end of a hunt. Following a post mortem, it was found that the deer had died from a ruptured aneurism. The report concluded that it was "most likely that the physiological stress of hunting led to the rupture". (From an article in ICABS newsletter, Animal Watch, Issue 1, 2003)
A report from a Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector revealed that a deer "accidentally choked" while being captured.
"As a young Irish man living in Dunshaughlin County Meath in the 1950's as a groom, I saw many a deer put down after breaking his back as a result of having to make a jump because the hounds were at its heels. I can honestly say it was not a pretty sight. Whilst at home a few years ago the hunt came by and to see the reaction of the huntsmen on the Dublin / Navan road galloping up and down was unbelievable." (From a comment on the Irish Times website, Joe Dowd, United Kingdom, December 2009)
The quotes in this section are extracts from the Kane Report on the Ward Union The conclusions of Veterinary Inspector, Kieran Kane are utterly damning of the Ward Union...

"The transportation of the stags in the cart is inhumane in its manner and in the design of the cart. The enlargement of the stags is inhumane in that they are ejected suddenly into a strange environment and alone. A stag which has been hunted previously appears, before the hunt starts, to be distressed and aware that he is about to be hunted again. Stags being hunted appear to be terrified of the hounds. A stag is aware when he is being hunted and continues to flee even when the hounds are far behind. Stags are sometimes wounded or injured during hunts by physical incidents or by the hounds. Stags are terrified by people and motor vehicles during the hunt. Stags are apparently distressed and exhausted towards the end of hunts and will hide and lie down at this stage. At the end of the hunt the fact that a man can catch and hold him would seem to be adequate evidence of physical exhaustion by the stag. The handling of the stag when taken at the end of a hunt must be terrifying and stressful to the animal." (Kane Report)

"Nervousness of stags in the cart prior to hunts was variable...with some appearing very nervous or stressed. At one hunt it was notable that of the two stags in the cart, one which had been hunted previously was showing body tremors, excessive salivation and panting."

"A farmer who saw, at very close range, the stag at bay on 7th February told me that it was bleeding from one leg; also I was informed by Hunt staff that some stags are given antibiotic treatment after hunts if they have injuries such as wounds or swollen limbs." (Kane Report)

"On two hunts on which the route of the stag was traced well on a half inch map, it was calculated that one stag had run at least 8 miles and the other at least 12 miles." (Kane Report)

"A stag which has been hunted before is, presumably, aware that he is about to be followed by hounds and runs from fear: indeed it is notable that the stag runs although the hounds are not yet on his trail. In the early stages of the hunt the stag runs constantly but as the hunt progresses he may stop running and hide or even lie down and it is at this stage that the hounds may catch up with him." (Kane Report)

"A major hazard encountered by stags is barbed wire. One stag was seen attempting to jump a very fence and getting his front leg caught on a top strand of barbed wire and hanging, thus suspended, for some seconds before his struggles and/or weight tore him free." (Kane Report)

"Stags are frightened by people and motor vehicles when they cross public roads, which they frequently do during hunts.

"A stag observed, down to 30 yards range through binoculars, having run at least 8 miles in 90 minutes showed extreme physical distress, panting through its mouth and with a lather of white foam around its muzzle." (Kane Report)

"I was informed by two eye-witnesses that hounds, although chary of a stag at bay, will attempt to bite him." (Kane Report)

"Stags are hunted until about 9 years of age at which time they may get "stiff" or fail in condition and I was told that they are then sold or exchanged with commercial deer farms or slaughtered for venison." (Kane Report)

"Domesticated Red Deer are obviously completely unfit for a prolonged chase by hounds. A recent scientific report in England has concluded that wild Red Deer are physiologically unable for a prolonged chase by hounds." (Kane Report)

In December 2003, ICABS monitors filmed and photographed a Ward Union deer at the end a hunt. The injured animal was seen panting for breath. There was blood on its head. Photos taken on the day can be viewed in our Gallery Page, including this one showing an injured deer with blood on its head
"Of course the stag suffers. I saw the hounds attack the hind quarters of the legs of the poor, unfortunate animal. It's horrific to see the end of the hunt." (Fianna Fail Meath Councillor, Noel Leonard, on his opposition to the Ward Union hunt, Meath Chronicle, 9th January 2010)

Print and distribute this leaflet

Please print out this leaflet and distribute among friends and family. Thank you.

The Facts About Carted Deer Hunting - Download Now (pdf, 85Kb)

Carted deerhunting Factsheet

More information about carted deer hunting

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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