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Revealed: Bloodsports enthusiasts at Coveney's "animal welfare" conference
06 June 2014

While the Irish Council Against Blood Sports (which campaigns for a ban on some of Ireland's worst acts of animal cruelty - fox hunting, hare coursing and terrierwork) was denied an invitation to Simon Coveney's recent "Animal Welfare" conference, we can reveal that representatives of all three bloodsports were invited to attend the Dublin Castle event.

As a major anti-cruelty protest took place outside the castle, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney addressed an audience which included foxhunters, hare coursers and terriermen.

In reply to a 27th May Dail Question from Clare Daly TD - who asked why "members of groups involved in cruelty to animals, such as hunters, were invited to the animal welfare conference" - Minister Coveney confirmed that "delegates from the Hunting Association of Ireland were in attendance". The Hunting Association of Ireland represents foxhunting as well as the bloodsports of hare hunting, deer hunting and mink hunting. Despite being aware of the cruelty of foxhunting, Minister Coveney chose to include in his Animal Health and Welfare Act, an exemption from prosecution for foxhunters.

According to a report in the Irish Farmers Journal of 22 May, a "man from a hare coursing association" was also present at the conference and spoke to Minister Coveney. Hare coursing involves netting hares from the wild and using them as live lures for greyhounds to chase. Hares suffer fear and stress and those hit and mauled by the dogs are at risk of suffering painful and life-threatening injuries such as broken bones and dislocated hips. Every coursing season, hare injuries and deaths are recorded. As with foxhunting, Minister Coveney ensured that his "animal welfare" legislation included an exemption for coursing.

Representatives of terrierwork - the appalling act of sending terriers underground to attack foxes and other cowering creatures - were also invited to the "animal welfare" event (confirmed in a statement from a terrierwork group who said "members accepted an invitation to attend"). Minister Coveney and his officials are very aware of the obscene cruelty of terrierwork. We have furnished them with video footage, images and information which makes it abundantly clear that this activity causes horrific suffering to Irish wildlife. But instead of banning terrierwork and digging-out, Minister Coveney (who previously said he found the practice to be "unacceptable") is intent on introducing a so-called code of conduct - as if anything but a ban, could protect animals from the inherent cruelty.

Another pro-hunting group invited to the conference was Horse Sport Ireland. This Department of Agriculture-funded body presents hunting as an "equestrian discipline" and includes a claim on its website that "the hunting field is an ideal nursery for both horse and rider". Horse Sport Ireland also shamefully directs people who want "more information on your local hunt club" to contact the Hunting Association of Ireland, providing a contact email address and phone number.

Also in attendance at the conference was the president of the Irish Farmers Association - Eddie Downey. According to a foxhunting website: "Eddie is a great supporter of hunting, shooting and fishing." At a hunt in Co Meath last year, he was photographed shaking hands with hunters and thanking them for their support. As deputy president of the IFA in 2010, Downey was one of the speakers at a RISE gathering in Waterford which protested against the Green Party's work to ban carted deer hunting. In a statement headed "Pro-hunting campaign welcomes farming support", RISE stated at the time that "Vice President of the Irish Farmersí Association, Eddie Downey, has given his organisationís support to the campaign. Mr Downey said the campaign to defend hunting and other traditional rural sports was an integral part of the wider battle to defend rural Ireland."

In embracing bloodsports enthusiasts and lacking the courage to ban their cruelty, Simon Coveney and his officials have betrayed our wildlife. His Animal Welfare Act paves the way for cruelty to continue and so dooms defenceless creatures to untold suffering and death.

Please join us as we continue pushing, with renewed determination, for an end to foxhunting, hare coursing, terrierwork and all acts of cruelty.

 ACTION ALERTS 

Sign our petitions:

Minister Coveney: Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
"Irish Government: Save foxes and dogs from horrific cruelty"

Please contact the Minister for Agriculture and demand a ban on bloodsports (foxhunting, hare coursing, hare hunting, mink hunting, digging-out, terrierwork, etc)

Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie
CC: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie (An Taoiseach)
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimonCoveney
Tweet: @simoncoveney

Outrage as hunters and terriermen invited to Coveney's 'animal welfare' conference
20 May 2014

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is outraged that Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, issued invitations to bloodsports enthusiasts to attend his day-long animal welfare conference at Dublin Castle last Friday, while excluding our organisation and others campaigning against hare coursing and fox hunting.

During a discussion at the conference on fox hunting, when the Minister was challenged about foxhunting and the digging out of foxes, a hunter present referred to those who were protesting outside the castle as "extremists", we were told.

When Irish Council Against Blood Sports Director Aideen Yourell later phoned a Department of Agriculture official (who was one of the main organisers of the conference) to enquire as to why an invitation wasnít issued to ICABS, she was dismissed and told that if she wanted tickets, she should have phoned up for them. However, invitations were sent out to other animals welfare groups - as well as to hunters and terriermen. In the course of the phone conversation, Aideen was told by the Department official to "shut the f*** up". ICABS has registered a complaint about this abusive and uncalled for language to Minister Simon Coveney.

ICABS protested outside the conference to highlight the fact that some of Ireland's worst cruelty to animals - hare coursing, fox hunting, terrierwork and digging-out - are allowed to continue under the new legislation.

 ACTION ALERTS 

Sign our petitions:

Minister Coveney: Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
"Irish Government: Save foxes and dogs from horrific cruelty"

Please contact the Minister for Agriculture and demand an end to foxhunting, hare coursing, digging out and terrierwork.

Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie
CC: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie (An Taoiseach)
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Tweet: @simoncoveney

Videos: the cruelty that Minister Coveney's Act allows to continue

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