latest news

TV3's "Truth" documentary was not based on "scientific evidence"
13 May 2011

TV3 has said that its "The Truth About Irish Blood Sports" documentary was not intended to reflect scientific evidence but rather personal opinions. The significant statement was part of a response to an ICABS complaint about the propaganda-filled programme.

In the reply, forwarded to ICABS by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, a TV3 spokesperson says: "The programme was an exploration of people's opinions of hunting and coursing and was not intended to be based on scientific evidence."

The series of "Truth" documentaries, presented by Henry McKean, were originally claimed by TV3 to provide a "look at the real story" behind the issues covered. However, without a focus on the well-documented evidence, the truth about blood sports was always going to struggle to emerge.

In our complaint to the programme's producer back in March, ICABS observed that it didn't appear that the purpose had been to uncover the truth, despite its title.

We criticised the lack of proper research which would have helped convey the real truth about foxhunting and coursing.

The evidence the documentary chose to sidestep, shows the truth to be that foxhunting and hare coursing are inarguably cruel from beginning to end and that the suffering inflicted on animals is integral and not isolated, as suggested.

ICABS hopes that TV3, despite having rejected the complaint, will revisit the issue of blood sports in the future and produce an evidence-based exposé about the shocking suffering caused to our wildlife by hunters and coursers.

ICABS complains to TV3 about blood sports "documentary"
24 March 2011

ICABS has complained to TV3 following the airing of a documentary purporting to present the "the truth" about blood sports in Ireland.

In an email to the programme's producer, ICABS criticised the lack of balance and the fact that it was biased in favour of the blood sports enthusiasts. The majority of the time was given over to the hunting and coursing fraternity whose claims went largely unchallenged.

Dismay has also been expressed that some doubt was expressed about the inherent cruelty of blood sports. Presenter Henry McKean questioned if the cruelty highlighted on our website amounted to "isolated" cases - a suggestion that we could easily have addressed, if given the opportunity.

In the case of hare coursing, we know from years of National Parks & Wildlife Services monitoring reports obtained under Freedom of Information, that hares are injured and killed at coursing meetings every season. This data is available to read on our website.

As regards foxhunting, the video footage in our campaign video shows a fox being dug out of the ground and subsequently mauled to death by a pack of hounds. This is typically what happens during foxhunting. It is not isolated, as we know from hunting reports in the Farmers Journal and Irish Field which tell of foxes chased and killed.

As for the research which Henry did to find out the "truth" about blood sports, he relied heavily on what the hunters said and showed him. Representatives from animal welfare groups were not given an opportunity to counter the hunters' cliched propaganda about foxes killing hens or their contradictory claims that, on the one hand, hunts rarely kill foxes and on the other, that they perform a service to farmers by killing foxes.

ICABS has described as "laughable" and "very naive", the presentation of two cameras to a hunstman for him to film what happens during a hunt outing. "There was absolutely NO WAY anything controversial was going to be filmed that day, and their failure to find a fox wasn't an accident," we stated.

Also criticised was the programme's segment on hare coursing - "a pre-arranged and a very nice 'snow job'" - which showed kindly coursers gently medicating a hare and stroking it and the coursing club vet saying that all the hares were "perfect" after their ordeal.

ICABS has told TV3 that these are wild animals that have been snatched out of their habitats in nets and subjected to interference by humans. Hares in captivity are prone to stress and if the programme makers had sought the relevant information, we could have shown them official reports about hares dying in large numbers with stress-related diseases in coursing compounds. We would have told them of reports detailing pregnant hares and hares with young being snatched from the wild as well as hares giving birth to leverets while in captivity.

With some interview extracts repeated at least twice throughout the programme, there certainly could have been time created to instead include facts about the reality of blood sports.

"The time could have been used better, trying to get to the truth," we stated in our correspondence to TV3. "It seems, however, that that's not what the programme was about."

You can watch the programme online at


Express your views about the programme to TV3 and ask them to do a proper investigation into the reality of blood sports in Ireland.

You can send an email from the TV3 Website
or email the programme producer directly -
Telephone TV3: 01 4193333

TV3 documentary failed to unearth the truth

It's not surprising that Henry McKean failed to unearth "The Truth About Irish Blood Sports" in his TV3 documentary. Not only were the foxhunters expectantly awaiting his arrival, they were put in charge of chauffeuring him around and actually invited to do the filming themselves.

Instead of the anticipated investigation into the grisly reality of hunting, McKean happily handed over camcorders to the hunters and entrusted them with the task of capturing the moment a fox has its back and neck broken and its intestines bitten out by the hounds. Very predictably, it quickly became clear that the local foxes would all be getting away today and that the only footage the horse-cam was going to pick up was that of hunters smiling innocently.

There was little truth revealed about hare coursing either with the presenter assuring skulking coursers in Edenderry that he was "not here to try and catch you out". At a coursing club in Kerry, he got a much warmer welcome - understandable, given the fact that members were afforded the opportunity to present, without challenge, their absurd claims that "hares are never stressed", "hares always escape" and "all hares are released afterwards".

The already well documented truths about hares suffering broken bones and mashed innards during coursing went ignored. There was no acknowledgement of the stress-induced shock disease which claims the lives of hares, days and weeks after the coursing has ended.

Despite this "documentary" documenting so many untruths, the truth remains that Irish blood sports are full of the most terrible cruelty to animals and that the suffering will only stop when a long overdue ban is put in place.

Response to Apprentice judge's shameful defence of coursing
07 April 2011

In a letter to the editor published in the Irish Independent, ICABS has responded to Apprentice judge, Brian Purcell's disgraceful defence of hare coursing. Speaking on TV3, Mr Purcell shamelessly revealed his support of the activity and presented a false claim that "the hare gets away all the time."

Please scroll down to read the letter...

Coursing is indefensible -- even hares that escape soon die
Irish Independent, March 28 2011

In his shameful defence of coursing, Brian Purcell of 'The Apprentice' claims that "the hare always gets away" (Irish Independent, March 20).

National Parks and Wildlife Service monitoring reports show that his statement is completely false. These routinely record the hares that have not got away, including ones killed after suffering agonising injuries such as dislocated hips and broken legs.

In coursing clubs in Mr Purcell's native Kerry, hares have been mauled so severely by greyhounds that they had to be put down.

The hares that do get away have not necessarily survived the ordeal of being netted from the wild and used as lures. Their welfare has been seriously compromised and they are at risk of succumbing to capture myopathy -- a stress-related condition that claims victims weeks and months later.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Apprentice judge and hare coursing supporter, Brian Purcell, at the Ballyduff coursing meeting. Mr Purcell wrongly claimed on TV3's "The Truth About Blood Sports" that "the hare gets away all the time" and "they're all released afterwards." (Image: TV3)

Note: Brian Purcell was filmed by TV3 at the Ballyduff coursing meeting last November. See photos* of hares being terrorised by greyhounds at this meet. * This is a link to a pro-coursing gallery

The Truth About Irish Bloodsports - TV3 Documentary
22 March 2011

Tonight, Tuesday, 22nd March, at 10pm, TV3 will broadcast a documentary entitled "The Truth About Irish Bloodsports". Presenter Henry McKean "ventures into the world of blood sports" to investigate the cruelty of foxhunting and hare coursing.

Footage from the ICABS/ARAN Edenderry protest against hare coursing last October will be featured.

If you wish to comment on the programme, you can send an email from the TV3 Website

Please support our campaigns to secure a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing. Visit our
Campaigns Page for more information and action alerts.

More ICABS Videos

Make a donation to ICABS

Please consider making a small donation to ICABS. For more details, please click on the button below or follow this link to find out how to become a campaign supporter. Thank you.

News Menu | Join | Top | Home