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Secretive animal welfare conference in Farmleigh on Friday
11 June 2015

ICABS has learned that Simon Coveney and the Department of Agriculture are to hold an animal welfare conference in Dublin on Friday, 12th June. The "2nd Annual Animal Welfare Conference" is to take place from 9am at Farmleigh House.

Following major protests last year outside the conference (held in Dublin Castle), the Department has this year apparently decided to hush up the event. There is no publicity and no reference to the conference on the Department of Agriculture's website or on Minister Coveney's Facebook page or Twitter feed.

This year, any protestors will be kept well away from the conference. A notice on the Farmleigh House website states that the building "will be closed to the public on Friday 12th June due to Government Business."

Last year's protests drew attention to Minister Coveney's failure to stop some of Ireland's worst acts of animal cruelty. ICABS protested against Coveney's refusual to stop foxhunting, hare coursing, terrierwork and digging-out - activities shamefully allowed under his Animal Health and Welfare Act. Other groups protested at the continuation of fur farming, live exports and badger culling.

ICABS contacted the Department of Agriculture today to enquire if, like last year, representatives of bloodsports groups have been invited to the "animal welfare" conference. The Department spokesperson refused to answer our question, saying "we can't give out third party information".

There was outrage following last year's conference after it emerged that Minister Coveney invited "delegates from the Hunting Association of Ireland" - a group representing the cruel bloodsports of foxhunting, hare hunting, deer hunting and mink hunting. Also invited were representatives of terrierwork - the appalling act of sending terriers underground to attack foxes and other cowering creatures. In attendance too was pro-hunting group Horse Sport Ireland as well as Irish Farmers Association president, Eddie Downey, described as a "a great supporter of hunting, shooting and fishing."

As was the case last year, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has not been invited to Friday's conference. The Minister clearly doesn't want to be confronted with any awkward questions or reminded of his facilitation of some of the country's most appalling acts of cruelty.

Last year, when ICABS campaign director Aideen Yourell phoned a Department of Agriculture official (one of the organisers of the conference) to enquire as to why an invitation wasn’t 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". He was later forced to apologise.

Photos: 2014 protest outside Simon Coveney's "Animal Welfare" Conference


If you are attending the animal welfare conference in Farmleigh House, please question Minister Coveney on why he is facilitating bloodsports and other forms of animal cruelty.

Please contact the Minister for Agriculture and demand a ban on ALL animal cruelty, including foxhunting, hare coursing, hare hunting, mink hunting, digging-out, terrierwork, etc.

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.
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