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Foxes suffering appalling fates due to Simon Coveney's failure to ban terrierwork
26 November 2014

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney's failure to outlaw cruel digging out and terrierwork is leaving foxes to suffer horrendous fates across the countryside. A report in a hardcore British hunting magazine has revealed the ongoing suffering being caused to foxes targeted by those involved in the heinous bloodsport.

The article in the November 2014 edition of Earth Dog Running Dog, focuses on an unnamed hunt operating in the South East of Ireland and describes the terrorisation and killing of several foxes.

The first victim, chased by a pack of hounds, tried to find refuge underground but was doomed to die after the hunt's terrierman was called in.

"Hounds were taken back to give [terrier] Willow and the diggers a chance. Willow was collared up and flew to ground and soon that familiar sound could be heard as Willow met her fox. Digging was tough going with plenty of stone and roots but due to the help of Graham, Declan and Stephen, [terrierman] Jim wasn't long opening up to Willow who had the situation fully under control. Willow was with a fine big dog fox and she had taken a bit of punishment in performing her duties but that didn't bother Willow and she was still mad for more." The fox, who undoubtedly suffered "punishment" too, was dispatched.

Later on in the hunt, a terrier was sent down into an earth and after the clay was dug away, it was revealed that the dog "had a pair of foxes in the pocket", both of which were also killed.

Another unfortunate fox suffered the same fate after being chased through a flock of sheep and up to the top of a hill.

"We thought that this was the lad that was going to give us a good run but the fox only ran along the top of the hill and looked as if he was making his way back into the start of the cover," the report details. "However, instead of going into the cover, he slipped into a small sandy burrow on a bank. Hounds again marked very well and it wasn't long before [huntsman] Swifty was giving the three blows on the horn."

The terriermen were "on the shovels and they soon opened up to [the terrier] working his fox well."

At a nearby bog, hounds disturbed two foxes - "the first fox left the cover with about 20 hounds hot on his tail." The dogs "trenched their way through a small rabbit burrow and had accounted for the fox before any of the terriermen had arrived".

In a plantation, hunting continued for 30 minutes "up and down the plantation and it was obvious that the hounds were putting the fox under a lot of pressure."

The article notes that the hunters "never have a blank day", meaning foxes suffer this terrible fate every day the hunt takes place.

Disturbingly, it also refers to the involvement of youngsters - "we have a large following of children and teenagers, girls and boys, all who carry the whip and provide great help to our hunstman on hunting days. It's great to see children and teenagers involved in hunting, learning about hounds and terrierwork."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is renewing its appeal to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to show compassion and urgently ban digging out and terrierwork. Despite stating that he found the activity "unacceptable", the Minister has so far refused to outlaw it.


Sign our petition: "Irish Government: Save foxes and dogs from horrific cruelty"

Please contact the Minister for Agriculture and demand an end to digging out and terrierwork.

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

Dear Minister,

I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' call on you to urgently outlaw both digging out and terrierwork. These horrendous acts of cruelty are carried out by sadistic individuals and also by merciless foxhunting groups (when terrified foxes try to find refuge underground). There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for this shameful animal abuse and it must be stopped.

Please make it an offence NOW to dig out any animal or send terriers below ground to catch and attack animals under any circumstances. I also call on you to outlaw the use of packs of hounds to harass, attack, injure and/or kill any animal.

Thank you, Minister. I look forward to your positive response.

[Your Name and Location]

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please send a copy of your correspondence to all your local TDs and ask them to put pressure on the Minister to ban digging out and terrierwork. Encourage all your friends, family and workmates to contact their local politicians too.

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Find out the names of your TDs and their contact details

PREVIOUSLY: Hunting mag highlights carnage in Irish countryside

An article in a hardcore British hunting magazine has revealed the carnage being caused in the Irish countryside. The account of lamping, terrierwork and ferreting exposes the suffering being inflicted on wildlife and the desperate need for our inadequate animal welfare legislation to be expanded to protect foxes from bloodsports.

The Ireland-based hunter behind the Earth Dog Running Dog article recounts a terrierwork session which ended in a fox being caught and killed as it ran for its life.

"One morning that springs to mind is when out with the terriers we came across a small earth that was situated along a ditch," he writes. "Blue [a lurcher] was showing interest around it and we also noticed fresh fox droppings only five yards or so away from one of the entrances. So without wasting any time, my terrier was entered and could be heard sounding just seconds after entering. Blue was going mad with excitement, bouncing from one hole to the other, listening to the sounds underneath. I was standing on top of the ditch so I had a view of both sides if anything was to bolt...and that's what happened."

"The fox bolted and ran along the side of the ditch but Blue was hot on his tail and nailed a fine dog fox," he adds. "I was fairly happy going home that evening as both my dogs worked well as a team..."

In relation to lamping, the article outlines that in addition to being used to catch hundreds of rabbits, the lurcher was also brought out to cruelly catch foxes - "In his second season on the lamp, I introduced him to mister fox. He showed great interest in them putting in some fine strikes after a long twisting chase. I only took ten foxes with him on the lamp that season...As soon as September comes around, we will be out with the terriers, ferrets and out on the lamp as much as possible. He will get plenty of opportunities to shine...he is not a world beater of a dog but he suits me and gives me good sport and I'm pretty sure that's all the matters."

Other creatures persecuted were those living on local bog land - "every time I come here during the hunting season, I always let the lurcher run loose as it is good sport watching him hunt up and get a chase and maybe a kill for himself."

The report ends by noting that "this article is from Ireland - the Hunting Act outlaws much of this activity in the UK" - a reminder of the shameful refusal by the Irish Government to protect our wildlife from this vile abuse.

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Video: Digging Out and Terrierwork Cruelty in Ireland

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