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Respa Beds owner and Westmeath county hurler at foxhunt
13 January 2015

Among those taking part in a recent fox hunt in the midlands were Westmeath county hurler Philip Gilsenan and Tosh Kellett, the owner of Meath-based bed company, Respa Beds.

According to a 2nd January Irish Field report about the Ballymacad Foxhounds, “the [foxhunt] meet at Seamus Reilly’s Hurler’s Rest pub near Clonmellon is close to Brownstown Hurling Club, which has won three intermediate county championships in the last five years. One of its stars, Westmeath county hurler Philip Gilsenan, was mounted on a fine 17hh bay that carried him in style throughout the day.”

The report also revealed that “Joint-master Tosh Kellett, owner of Respa Beds, was at the meet but his 160 staff in Oldcastle had their foot to the boards fulfilling a rush order for 250 mattresses for hotel clients in Britain.”

It went on to outline that during the hunt, several foxes were chased.

- One fox was terrorised by hounds who “hunted at speed for 30 minutes” before they “eventually marked their fox to ground in Brownstown Bog”.

- Elsewhere, hounds were “spoiled for choice as foxes headed in different directions. Two were marked to ground.”

- Later, the pack of hounds “found a fox in one of the many small woods” and chased him “from hill to hill, keeping close to him”. This fox too went to ground “with hounds marking him in fine voice”.

In foxhunting, “marking to ground” refers to the point when the pack of hounds chase the exhausted fox into an earth or drain. This is typically followed by the arrival of a terrierman who sends a terrier down the hole to attack and corner the fox until the clay is dug away from above.

A previous report in hardcore hunting magazine Earth Dog, Running Dog outlined more sickening cruelty to foxes during a Ballymacad hunt. One particular fox was “hunted hard” for half an hour by hounds that were “really pushing him”. When this terrified creature tried to find refuge underground, the hunt’s terrierman was summoned to carry out what was described as a “nice little dig”. Nets were placed around the exits to the hole and a terrier was sent in to violently confront the cornered creature. It attacked for 15 minutes until the fox came running out “like a runaway train” to meet its death.

During the same hunt, hounds pushed a vixen into a “tight spot under a stone wall”. When escape routes were again blocked, another terrier was sent in and savaged her to death.

Witness the cruelty of foxhunting and join calls for a ban


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

Sign our “Ban Blood Sports in Ireland” petition

Please join us in appealing to the Minister for Agriculture to give wild animals the same protection that is given to domestic animals. Tell the Minister that since all animals are capable of suffering, all animals should be protected from cruelty. Demand the removal of an exemption for foxhunting from Ireland's Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Contact the Taoiseach and Tanaiste. Ask them to show compassion for foxes and hares and ban hunting and coursing.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048

An Tanaiste, Joan Burton
Office of the Tanaiste
Iveagh House,
80 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Tel: 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)
Fax: 01 408 2400
Email Enda Kenny and Joan Burton:,

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to replace foxhunting with the humane alternative - drag hunting.

Drag hunting sees the hounds chasing an artificial lure instead of a live animal. This form of "hunting" is already practised successfully by a few groups in Ireland. In a modern and civilised country like Ireland, there should be no place for foxhunting, particularly when a transition to drag hunting would be simple.

Please contact all your local politicians and ask them to express their opposition to this blood sport. Encourage your friends, family and workmates to contact them too.

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

Write to your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

Extracts from “Earth Dog, Running Dog” magazine, 2009 (Ballymacad Hunt)

“Hounds hunted hard for about 20 minutes before the fox broke away and made for cover…he was headed for a big badger sett which had been stopped and so he had to kick on a bit. His safe haven being denied to him, he had to get a move on for hounds were flying and really pushing him and after another ten minutes of hard hunting he went to ground…”

“We were there very quickly [with hunt terriers] as we tried for a quick bolt. My own little bitch, Gem, was entered and she was soon at her fox. It was evident that he was not for bolting and so [the huntsman] lifted his hounds and headed for the next draw leaving us with a nice little dig…”

“We could hear Gem working away, starting to boss her fox and we still hoped for a bolt for we had set nets and sure enough, after 15 minutes, [the fox] hit the net like a runaway train with my bitch close behind her. Magic, first of the day…”

“On to the next draw and we soon heard “gone to ground” again as our hounds pushed a dog fox and a vixen into a tight spot under a stone wall. As we got there, [the whipper-in] was blocking two holes…it was a very tight stone wall so I used a small bitch of mine called Nala…Nala entered the tight gap and found immediately. We gave her ten minutes to settle and then got a mark at two feet, just off the wall. It took us about 15 minutes to reach her with the vixen but it looked as if the dog would be a tricky customer and cause a few problems. He was further along and had managed to find a place up on a ledge where he could give a good account of himself. We dug to her but the fox had gained himself a good position and was certainly making things difficult for her and giving her a hard time.”

“I had with me that day a very good Border dog…and so I sent for him. I lifted out the small red bitch and dropped in Skipper, the Border. He banged straight in there, took a hold and drew this big dog fox back to me. Job done, another two accounted for.”

Video: Ireland's cruel digging-out and terrierwork

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