latest news

Ask PR Institute to drop cruelty campaign from awards
26 May 2011

ICABS is calling on the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) to drop the RISE campaign from its 2011 Awards shortlist. In an email to the group's CEO, we highlighted that the campaign was criticised for spreading misinformation and that the deerhunt ban it fought was widely welcomed by the Irish public.

In an email to PRII CEO, Gerry Davis, we questioned the inclusion of RISE on the shortlist for the so-called 2011 Awards for Excellence in Public Relations.

"The RISE campaign was a highly reprehensible campaign," we stated. "It attempted to block a ban on the Ward Union carted deer hunt - one of Ireland's worst examples of cruelty to animals. This internationally condemned activity, now thankfully illegal, involved taking out a pack of hounds and chasing a terrified, farm-bred deer across the countryside. Carted deer hunting was cruel from beginning to end. Among the victims of the Ward Union were a deer that died from fractured ribs, a deer that died as a result of 'dry drowning' having fallen into a quarry, a deer that dropped dead with a ruptured aorta, a deer choked to death in a wood and a deer that died from a ruptured aortic aneurism."

The RISE campaign aimed to convince the public and politicians that "Hunting is not cruel to the deer" and "is not a danger to the public". We have presented Mr Davis with evidence showing that both of these claims are untrue.

This includes details of an incident in December 2009 in which a hunted deer jumped on to a road, was struck by a car, smashed into its windscreen and suffered a fractured leg before hobbling away in agony. It was later caught and shot in the head. The occupants of the car were said to be badly shaken and lucky to be alive.

Referring to Section 7 of the Code of Lisbon to which the PRII subscribes ("Any attempt to deceive public opinion or its representatives is forbidden") and to the Code of Athens which discourages the circulation of information which is "not based on established and ascertainable facts", we pointed out that the RISE campaign was criticised for scaremongering and spreading misinformation.

Meath Councillor, Shane Cassells, is on record as saying; "I was very pleased to speak out against the MISTRUTHS which the RISE campaign are using to try and advance their cause."

Senator Ivana Bacik too was unhappy with RISE, describing their tactics as "UNACCEPTABLE" and stating that they engaged in scaremongering (Seanad debate, 30th June 2010).

Government Minister, John Gormley, was also very critical of the RISE campaign. In the Winter 2010 edition of Country Sports and Country Life magazine, he is quoted as saying "RISE's campaign was one not based on any foundation of respect. Its supporters and representatives continued to make a series of FALSE CLAIMS that the Greens' policy was opposed to shooting and angling, which is simply NOT TRUE. RISE supporters went to extreme lengths. For example cars outside a church belonging to people attending a religious service organised by Mary White TD were covered with leaflets saying Greens RIP. In another instance eggs were pelted at cars."

The Irish Times of June 29, 2010 reported that "members of the Rural Ireland Says Enough! (RISE!) campaign group...booed and jeered" Minister John Gormley and Minister of State Mary White as they attended the opening of a library in Borris. The report outlined that eggs were placed on the bonnet and inside the interior of the Minister's State car and that GardaI had to remove Rise! stickers which protesters attached to the state car. Minister Gormley described the protesters' behaviour as "MALICIOUS" and "UNACCEPTABLE".

In the Offaly Express of May 11, 2010, the then Councillor, and current TD, Barry Cowen, similarly criticised RISE. He stated: "Having recently attended a public meeting organised by RISE, I feel it necessary to re-affirm the Bills' contents and refute the claims by RISE that there is some wider agenda...RISE are WRONG to suggest there is some wider agenda. Minister Gormley recently confirmed the legislation will not have any implications for other country pursuits such as fox hunting, hare hunting, hare coursing or deer stalking. This bill only affects those involved in stag hunting, any suggestion otherwise by RISE is MISLEADING and FALSE."

ICABS has suggested that RISE could be replaced on the shortlist with the successful, positive, public relations campaigns by animal welfare groups which were instrumental in securing a historic ban on carted deer hunting.

"This campaign was based on an approach the Public Relations Institute would surely favour," we remarked. "This involved the presentation of evidence-backed facts, a respectful approach to lobbying politicians, good-natured demonstrations and helpful collaboration with members of the public negatively affected by hunting."


Please lodge a complaint with the CEO of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and ask them to drop the RISE campaign from their shortlist.

Mr Gerry Davis
Chief Executive
Public Relations Institute of Ireland
8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 661 8004
Mobile: +353 86 8274390
Fax: +353 1 676 4562
With a copy to:
The PRII National Council members
Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications, of which the PRII is a member

Barry Kenny
Public Relations Institute of Ireland National Council
Tel: +353 1703 2457
Mobile: +353 87 238 1224

Scan to call PRII CEO, Gerry Davis

[Mobile: 00353 (0)86 8274390]

ICABS highlights cruelty to awards sponsors
10 June 2011

ICABS has contacted the three main sponsors of the "Awards for Excellence in PR" to highlight the animal cruelty defended by the shortlisted RISE campaign.

We have urged Supervalu/Musgrave, RR Donnelley and Fennell Photography to support our call for RISE to be removed from the shortlist. Please join us now in our appeal to the sponsors.

Chris Martin
Group CEO, Musgrave Group
Musgrave House, Ballycurreen
Airport Road, Cork
Tel +353 (0) 21 4522100
Fax +353 (0) 21 4522244

Thomas J. Quinlan, III
President & Chief Executive Officer:
R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company
111 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Mr Frank Fennell A.I.P.P.A.
Fennell Photography
98 Upper Leeson St
Dublin 4
tel: [353] 1 668 9766
fax: [353] 1 668 4998

PR Association criticised for shortlist praise
22 June 2011

The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) has been criticised for applauding "all" those shortlisted for a PR Excellence award and for saying they "can afford to be proud." ICABS has expressed disgust at the statement, pointing out that an animal cruelty campaign was on the shortlist.

The association's website proclaims: "Congratulations to all our 2011 winners, who received their Award at the Conrad Hotel on 17 June. And well done too to everyone who made this year's very competitive shortlist - you can afford to be proud. Now in its 18th year, the PR Awards for Excellence reflect the scale and diversity of the great work being done the length and breadth of Ireland and we look forward to seeing the results of more great campaigns next year."

In an email to PRCA Chairman, Laurie Mannix, we stated: "Given that one of those shortlisted was a campaign that defended some of Ireland's most disgusting cruelty to animals, it is indeed regrettable that the PRCA deems it appropriate to make this statement. Those who defend activities such as foxhunting, deerhunting and hare coursing should feel not pride but absolute shame."

"It reflects very poorly on the PRCA - an association purportedly concerned with 'public relations' - that the stance adopted in relation to animal cruelty is so out of step with public opinion in Ireland," we added. "Opinion polls show that a majority here want blood sports and other forms of animal abuse outlawed."

The PRCA co-hosted the Awards for Excellence in Public Relations 2011 at which the RISE cruelty campaign did not win an award.

Thanks to all the individuals and groups who joined us in complaining about the inclusion of RISE on the shortlist.


Ask the Public Relations Consultants Association to clarify its stance on animal cruelty.

Laurie Mannix
Public Relations Consultants Association
8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: (01) 661 8004
Fax: (01) 676 4562

Videos: Blood Sports Cruelty in Ireland

The Public Relations Institute of Ireland has shortlisted for an award, a campaign which defended animal cruelty - carted deer hunting, foxhunting and hare coursing.

Victims of the Ward Union deer hunt.

The Public Relations Institute of Ireland has shortlisted for an award, a campaign which tried to prevent the banning of this cruel hunt.

"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)

Make a donation to ICABS

Please consider making a 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