letter writing

ANIMAL VOICE - January 2004
The letter writing appeals newsletter
of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS)
PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland
Website: www.banbloodsports.com

Now available to print out as an 8-page magazine (Adobe Acrobat pdf format)
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In This Issue:

  1. Minister Refuses To Implement Humane Alternative
  2. News: Coursing Banned In Northern Ireland
  3. Ward Union Deerhunt Back On Public Roads
  4. News: Prosecutions Being Taken For Capture Of Hares
  5. Updated Appeal: Bookmakers And Live Hare Coursing
  6. Hunt Meets Outside Wicklow Hotel
  7. Courser Vinnie Jones And Bacardi
  8. Update: Offaly Hotel Denies Coursing Sponsorship
  9. Roscrea Website Lists Coursing As "Sport" - Campaign Ended
  10. Ganly Walters Present Blood Sports As Property Attraction - Campaign Ended
  11. Renewed Appeal: Catering Company's Coursing Connection
  12. News: Hunting Book Removed From Shop Display
  13. News: Irish MEPs Vote For Ban On Cat/Dog Fur Imports
  14. Cats And Dogs Under Severe Threat In Korea
  15. Update: Ireland Condemns Whaling Slaughter
  16. Update: UK Cow Run Will Not Take Place
  17. Letters To The Editor - 1
  18. Letters To The Editor - 2
  19. Cats And Dogs And Goats: Homes Needed
  20. Parliamentary Question: Trevor Sargent, TD
  22. News: ISPCA Cruelty Helpline Launched
  23. New Websites


Dear friends,

Happy New Year and thank you for your help with the December letter writing appeals.

Below you will find the latest set of appeals along with news and updates on the campaign. If possible, please encourage your friends and family to join you in your campaigning efforts.

We thank you in advance for your continued help and support throughout 2004.

With best wishes.

Philip Kiernan
Letter Writing Campaigns Co-ordinator


The Minister for Arts, Sports & Tourism, John O'Donoghue, has informed the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that his officials raised the issue of introducing drag coursing with the Irish Coursing Club, but were told that "coursing greyhounds would not follow a drag" and that "drag coursing would be unpopular".

Minister O'Donoghue should take on board that the vast majority of Irish people (80% when last independently surveyed), want a total ban on the use of live hares for coursing. So drag coursing (where a mechanical lure is used instead of a live hare) may be "unpopular" amongst the tiny diehard minority who engage in this barbaric and outdated animal abuse, but it most certainly would be very popular with the Irish public.

We are quite amazed, furthermore, that Minister O'Donoghue, a greyhound racing enthusiast himself, would swallow the claim from the coursers that greyhounds would not follow a drag. ICABS has submitted video footage from a drag coursing club in the U.K. which shows the greyhounds enthusiastically following a drag, and indeed a mechanical lure is used on the tracks. In Australia and the USA, where the use of live hares is banned, drag coursing is very successful.

At coursing matches in Ireland, hares are still capable of being pinned down, injured and killed by muzzled dogs. Minister O'Donoghue and his department may attempt to salve their consciences by stating that hare kills have been reduced due to muzzling, but what they fail or seemingly don't want to take on board is the fact that hare coursing is an inherently and intrinsically cruel sport which involves the snatching of hares from the wild in nets and terrorising them on coursing fields for unnecessary and thoroughly gratuitous purposes - the "entertainment" of a tiny minority.

That such an activity is now under the same department that oversees art and culture is totally bizarre.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is renewing its call on Minister John O'Donoghue to respect the wishes of Ireland's majority and replace live hare coursing with drag coursing. Please join us in this call.


Minister John O'Donoghue,
Department of Arts, "Sports" and Tourism,
Frederick Buildings,
South Frederick Street,
Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-631 3802.
Email: customerservice@dast.gov.ie

More Information on Hare Coursing and Drag Coursing

For More Info on hare coursing and the humane alternative, drag coursing, please visit our "Ban Hare Coursing" website at: www.banbloodsports.com/coursing. Video clips showing drag coursing in action are available to view in the Videos section.


The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is delighted to report that hare coursing and other forms of hare hunting was banned in Northern Ireland on January 19th, 2004 for at least 12 months.

The development was announced by Angela Smith, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment in Northern Ireland who stated: "It's clear that the activities which a ban would prevent put the lives of Irish hares at risk."

"It has been established over a number of years that Irish hare numbers are low," she added. "As a result, the Environment and Heritage Service of the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment published a Species Action Plan which includes a target to double the 1997 hare population levels over as wide an area as possible by 2010."

The move comes just months after the decision by Angela Smith to refuse a licence to Northern Ireland's two coursing clubs in Ballymena and Dungannon. As you will recall, these clubs were welcomed with open arms south of the border with the Department of the Environment here claiming that nothing could be done to prevent clubs from another jurisdiction from coming to Cavan to terrorise hares.

ICABS has renewed its appeal to Minister Martin Cullen to permanently revoke the licence issued to coursing clubs to net hares from the wild and act to make coursing illegal in Ireland. We have also appealed to Minister John O'Donoghue, asking him to replace live hare coursing with drag coursing. Please join us in our efforts by responding to the Urgent Action Item below.

(If possible, please modify this letter or write a different one.)

Dear Minister Cullen,

As one of the eighty per cent majority of citizens who wish to see coursing banned in Ireland, I appeal to you to immediately intervene to end this blood sport.

As you may be aware, coursing in Northern Ireland was banned for at least 12 months from January 19th. I call on you to now permanently revoke the licence issued by your Department to the Irish Coursing Club.

The licensing of coursing cruelty in Ireland has been condemned not only in Ireland but all over the world. Coursing represents a blemish on Ireland's international reputation. In this, the 21st Century, it is time for the Irish Government to replace this blood sport with the humane alternative of drag coursing.

Drag coursing sees greyhounds chasing a mechanical device known as a drag. The drag, comprising a piece of cloth or plastic, is rapidly dragged along by a wire cable and can be made to be as unpredictable as a hare and to provide challenging runs for the greyhounds. This is practised successfully in the United States and Australia and trials in the UK have shown it to be a simple and effective alternative to live hare coursing. There is no reason why Ireland should not follow this compassionate route and replace live hare coursing with drag coursing.

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

Yours sincerely,



Minister Martin Cullen
Dept of the Environment and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1, Ireland.
Tel: 1890-202021 (Locall) (Request to speak to Minister Cullen or his Secretary)
Tel: +353 (0) 1 888 2000
Fax: +353 (0)1 888 2888.
Email: minister@environ.irlgov.ie


Last year, following an ICABS appeal, the National Safety Council told the Ward Union Deerhunt to stay off the public roads in the interests of road safety.

Responding to concerns that the hunt poses a potential danger to road users in Meath and North County Dublin, an NSC spokesperson stated at the time that: "We would have obvious concerns if such [hunt] practices posed a danger to road users. We will be writing to the Ward Union Hunt to communicate these concerns and that in the interests of road safety we would request that all appropriate precautions be taken to prevent incursions (by deer/stag, dogs and the hunt party) onto the public highway during hunting outings. Secondly we will also be passing on your correspondence to the local road safety officer for County Meath for his consideration."

In November 2003, we received the following statement from Larry Whelan, Meath County Council's Road Safety Officer: "Legislation down through the years has always provided for the right of pedestrian, vehicular or horse traffic to pass and re-pass over public roads. There is provision in the Roads Act 1993 which enables a Local Authority to take action against individuals or companies who cause damage to the public road - however, I am not aware of any such damage being caused as a result of the activities of the Ward Union Hunt. The responsibility for the free movement and control of Traffic on public roads rests with the Garda Siochana."

ICABS was disappointed at this response. We feel that some form of action should be taken. ICABS observers have witnessed massive tailbacks forming behind the hunt, frustrated drivers trying everything to get past and even members of the hunt holding up traffic to pose for photographs.

We have also seen hunt members causing road blocks by congregating at road junctions, displaying indifference to the traffic tailbacks they cause, chasing a stag at speed along a public road, parking at the sides of narrow country lanes, jumping through ditches onto roadways and moving from narrow country lanes onto busy main roads. The potential danger to motorists was also highlighted in a past report in the Irish Independent which referred to a stag being struck dead by a truck. Clearly, this is not the type of thing motorists should have to put up with.

Please write to Larry Whelan, urging him to take action to prevent hunts from coming onto Meath's public roads. Tell him that he should not permit the local roads to be used as an extension of the Ward Union's hunting grounds, particularly when it means motorists are being subjected to inconvenience and potential danger.


Mr Larry Whelan
Road Safety Officer
Meath County Council
County Hall
Navan, Co. Meath

Email: lwhelan@meathcoco.ie

Tel:046-902 1581
Fax: 046-902 1463

If you wish to report any instances of the Ward Union (or any hunt) blocking roads or causing inconvenience to motorists, please visit the following web page for the phone numbers of Garda stations all over Ireland: www.garda.ie/angarda/stations.html

Images of the Ward Union on roads

To view images of the Ward Union on public roads, please click on Gallery at: www.banbloodsports.com/deerhunting


Replying to a Dail Question asked by Trevor Sargent (Green Party) in November, Minister Martin Cullen revealed that "prosecutions are currently being taken by my Department for alleged unlawful capture of hares in the Border area."

No further details are available at present but we will keep you updated on any developments.

In his reply, Minister Cullen also stated:

"Concern has been expressed to me by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Ms Angela Smith, MP, regarding the possible capture of hares here for the purposes of coursing in Northern Ireland. In response, I have undertaken to consider whether it would be feasible to include conditions prohibiting the removal of hares from the State in future annual licences.

"A steering group comprising members of staff from my Department and the environment and heritage service of the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland has been set up to draft an all-Ireland species action plan for the Irish hare. Work on drafting this plan commenced in June 2003 and is expected to be finalised by March 2004. A survey to estimate hare numbers in Ireland is expected to be one of the strategies proposed in the action plan. Once the plan has been finalised implementation of identified strategies will commence."


Paddy Power Bookmakers has confirmed that the company accepts bets on the blood sport of live hare coursing. A company spokesperson said: "We offer betting on most sports where there is a public interest and coursing as a greyhound sport is popular with the betting public. At present we offer betting on the National [coursing] meeting at Clonmel and on the Irish Cup meeting at Tralee."

Please write to Paddy Power and urge them to stop helping to keep coursing alive in Ireland. Paddy Power is one of the last remaining companies in the country which shamelessly associates itself with this cruel and barbaric activity.

(If possible, please modify this letter or write a different one.)

Dear Sir,

I am writing to ask that Paddy Power Plc severs all connections with the blood sport of live hare coursing.

I am very disappointed at a previous statement from your company which refers to coursing as a "sport" and defends its policy of accepting bets on the activity. Paddy Power is one of the last remaining companies in the country which shamelessly associates itself with this cruel and barbaric activity.

Until I learn of a change in the Paddy Power policy, I will not be visiting any of your company's outlets and will be informing others about your pro-blood sports stance.

I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,



Mr. John O' Reilly, CEO
Paddy Power PLC,
Airton House, Airton Road
Dublin 24, Ireland.

Tel: 1850 4144444 (Ireland), 0800 039 1800 (UK), +353 1 4049611 (Rest of World)
Email 1: ppower@paddypower.com
Email 2: support@paddypower.com


BoyleSports also accepts bets on hare coursing. Please write a similar letter to this company, asking them to stop supporting this blood sport.

Email: alexmar@boylesports.com
Cc: customerservices@boylesports.com; dkennedy@boylesports.com; pcody@boylesports.com; amurray@boylesports.com

Alexander Mar
Customer Services Manager
Internet Service Centre
31 Shop Street
Drogheda, Co. Louth

Tel: +353 (0) 41 9834344
Fax: +353 (0) 41 9834258


The Wicklow Foxhunt set out for a day's hunting from the Woodenbridge Hotel according to a report in the Irish Field newspaper (December 27th, 2003). A photograph shows members of the hunt posing in front of the hotel alongside the pack of hounds. Reference is made in the report to foxes being chased and killed. Please write to the manager of the Woodenbridge Hotel and outline that as long as foxhunts are associated with the hotel, you will not be in a position to patronise it in the future.

The Manager
Woodenbridge Hotel
Vale of Avoca
County Wicklow

Tel: 0402-351 46

In related news, a report in the Irish Field newspaper (December 20th, 2003), revealed that "Michael Lennon, who runs the Westport Woods Hotel, is chairman of the South Mayo Hounds."


As highlighted in the December 2003 edition of Animal Voice, former footballer Vinnie Jones owns a dog which is due to take part in the National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel at the beginning of February.

In court in December, Jones was fined and ordered to do 80 hours community service after pleading guilty to an "air rage" incident during which he reportedly threatened to have the crew of the Virgin Atlantic airplane murdered. An article in the Irish Mirror (December 13th, 2003), told also of how Jones was reported to the FA in 1995 for biting a Mirror journalist's nose in a bar in Dublin, "leaving the reporter's face bloodied".

Following the court case, Bacardi Rum (which had been featuring Vinnie Jones in its TV advertising campaign) announced that it would be "reviewing our options when his contract comes up for renewal"

In a letter to ICABS, a company spokesperson stated: "We very much regret the recent behaviour of Vinnie Jones."

Please write to Bacardi and ask them to take into consideration Vinnie Jones' involvement with blood sports when they are reviewing his contract.

(If possible, please modify this letter or write a different one.)

Dear Mr Searle,

I understand that Bacardi will be reviewing its options when the Vinnie Jones advertisement contract comes up for renewal.

I am writing to ask you to please consider Mr Jones' involvement with the blood sport of hare coursing. According to a report in the Sporting Press newspaper last November, Mr Jones owns a greyhound which will be taking part in Ireland's national coursing finals in February. As you may be aware, hare coursing is opposed by eighty per cent of Irish people.

Is Bacardi content to have its brand name associated with this form of animal cruelty?

Thank you. I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,



Mr Chris Searle
Executive Director
External & European Affairs

Email: csearle@bacardi.com
Tel : +44 (0)2380 318211
Fax : +44 (0)2380 318679


Further to our appeal in December regarding a hotel in Offaly which had apparently sponsored hare coursing, we are delighted to report a positive development.

ICABS observers heard the Midway Park Hotel being thanked for its support over the loudspeaker system during the coursing meeting in Ballinagar. However, any connection to the event was subsequently denied by hotel management. Responding to letters from concerned campaigners, General Manager, Kieran McGurran stated: "This hotel has never or will ever sponsor any form of blood sports. I am led to believe from the owners that it was a very sick and cruel attempt by a former disgruntled employee to cause as much damage to our good name in Daingean."

ICABS is pleased that this has been clarified. Thank you to all who contacted the hotel.


Campaign Ended


Campaign Ended


Last year, we highlighted how Cork catering company, Excellent Choice, was one of the sponsors at the 2003 National Hare Coursing Meeting in Clonmel. The company has ignored repeated appeals from ICABS to confirm that no such sponsorship would be given again.

Please join us in writing once again to the manager of Excellent Choice. Ask her to give a commitment that no sponsorship will be given by the company to the 2004 National Hare Coursing meeting or to any other coursing events.

(If possible, please modify this letter or write a different one.)

Dear Ms Fagan,

I am writing to appeal to you to ensure that no further financial support is given by your company to the blood sport of live hare coursing.

I was very disappointed to learn that Excellent Choice sponsored the National Hare Coursing Meeting event last year. I hope that you will withdraw all support for this cruel blood sport.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.

Yours sincerely,



Anne Marie Fagan
Excellent Choice
Unit 3, Portside
Marina Commercial Park
Cork, Ireland

Email: info@excellentchoice.ie
Tel: 021 4319398. Fax: 021 4319399


A book about foxhunting was removed from the window display of a book shop in Mullingar following an appeal by ICABS before Christmas.

"This book amounts to a promotion of the blood sport of foxhunting which results in the horrific deaths of thousands of foxes annually," we stated in our appeal to the manager.

Earlier in the year, the town's Kilroys Superstore responded positively to an appeal and removed a painting of a foxhunting scene from their window display.

If you spot similar displays of hunting scenes - in shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs, etc - please express your opinion to the manager. Tell them about the reality of hunting and the suffering it causes to animals.


ICABS is delighted to report that a majority of Irish MEPs responded positively to our appeal to them to sign a Written Declaration calling on the European Commission to introduce an EU wide ban on the trade in domestic dog and cat fur. This is only the fifth occasion in history that Members of the European Parliament have given their backing to a Written Declaration.

The Declaration asked the European Commission to draft a regulation under internal market powers to ban the import, export, sale and production of cat and dog furs and skins to restore European Union consumer and retailer confidence and end the trade immediately.

Responding to the news that the declaration had received more than enough signatures (346 MEPs signed; 325 were required), the author of the declaration, Struan Stevenson stated: "This is fantastic news. [A majority of MEPs] now support moves to make the trade of cat and dog fur illegal. The Commission should now listen to the Parliament and bring in new proposals to ban this vile trade across the EU."

The following is a list of the Irish MEPs who signed the declaration: Nuala Ahern, Niall Andrews, Mary Banotti, Gerard Collins, Brian Crowley, John Cushnahan, Avril Doyle, Jim Fitzsimons, Liam Hyland, Joe McCartin, Patricia McKenna, Sean Ó Neachtain and Dana Rosemary Scallon. ICABS has thanked them all for their support with this issue.

We will keep you informed on the European Commission's response to this tremendous development. In the meantime, please avoid purchasing any product which contains fur - animals will inevitably have suffered. Cat and dog fur can be found in, for example, clothing, decorative accessories, ornaments and pet toys.


(Source: Korean Animal Protection Society/IAKA)

For the past year, campaigners in South Korea have been leading a campaign to persuade the government to reject a draft law which would classify animals as either pets or livestock. The law would mean that cats and dogs could be raised as either pets or as livestock for human consumption.

The Korean Animal Protection Society has argued that dogs and cats need to be placed under a special category so that their longstanding role as companion animals would be recognised and which would prevent them from being farmed as livestock.

Unfortunately, the South Korean Government appears determined to adopt the new law and has begun a process that could result in it being approved by the Korean National Assembly in July 2004. It doesn't help that the country's president has shamelessly admitted that he enjoys eating dogs.

Campaigners in Korea urgently need your help. They say that if this law is passed it will mean that not only would dogs and cats raised for human consumption have no protection from abuse but it would also allow for any dog abuser to get away with torturing these animals, just as long as he claims the animal is not a pet.

Please send an urgent protest letter to both the president and the Minister of Agriculture.


President Roh Moo-Hyun
Blue House
1 Sejong-Ro, Jongno-gu
South Korea, 110-050

Email: None available

Minister Huh Sang-man
The Ministry of Agriculture
1 Jungang-dong, Gwacheon
Gyeonggi Prov.
South Korea, 427-760

Email: wmaster@maf.go.kr

(If possible, please modify this letter or write a different one.)

Dear President Roh Moo-Hyun,

I am appalled to learn that the Korean Government is currently drafting an amendment to the Animal Protection Law of 1991, making a distinction between certain breeds of dogs as meat-producing livestock animals and other breeds as pets. In the draft law, the definition of pet animal is an attempt to give legitimacy to dog and cat meat. The dogs and cats are protected only if people raised them purposely as pet animal. This means that any dog or cat purposely raised for food will not be protected.

Not only does this deny protection to animals who are raised for food or medicine but it will also result in a situation where the law cannot punish any animal abuser who claims that their dog or cat was raised for any purposes other than pets. In 1991 your own government acknowledged that all dogs, not just certain breeds, were entitled to protection from cruelty, mistreatment, and abuse. Any amendment leaving dogs and cats purposely bred for food or medicine without protection would be a grave injustice and a major setback for the animal protection efforts in Korea.

If this new law passes, it would make Korea the first and only country in the entire world to explicitly legitimise dog meat, legally sanctioning dog and cat killing for human consumption. This would bring a great mark of shame to your country, especially when the overwhelming majority of the rest of the world has banned dog-meat, including Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. In fact, Taiwan has recently strengthened their law to ban the killing and selling of dogs as food. Almost every other country in the world, especially those as developed as Korea, is moving forward with animal protection laws. Why do you want to embarrass your country and let it be known as the only country taking a step backwards?

All dogs and cats are companion pet animals and should not be raised for human consumption.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,



In the September 2003 edition of Animal Voice, we highlighted the resumption by Iceland of its deplorable whaling activities. The country's barbaric slaughter of 38 Minke Whales prompted calls for Iceland to be boycotted by the international community. Iceland and Japan are among the countries which continue to exploit a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's world-wide moratorium on commercial whaling by claiming that their whale hunts are for so-called scientific purposes.

An ICABS letter writing campaigner who brought his concerns about whaling to the Irish Government received the following response from the office of Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen.

"The Minister has asked me to say that he notes your strong personal objection to the whaling which has been undertaken by Japan for many years. For your information, Japan's whaling is represented by them to be "scientific" or Special Permit whaling which they carry out under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) under Article VIII of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling. In this regard, the Minister would wish to inform you that Ireland has acceded to this Convention and has been a member of the IWC since 1985. Over that period, you will no doubt be pleased to learn that Ireland has consistently voted against annual quotas for Japan for Special Permit whaling within the Commission. Indeed, at the meeting of the IWC last June, Ireland maintained its stance of previous years and again voted against a separate proposal from Japan for quotas for Special Permit or "scientific" whaling.

"Traditionally, as you will be aware, such "scientific" whaling has been undertaken by Japan. However, you will be interested to know that, in anticipation of a decision by Iceland to commence Special Permit whaling this year, Ireland co-sponsored a motion at the annual meeting of the IWC last June which, inter alia, noted that Iceland had presented a programme of research to the Scientific Committee of the IWC and urged "any country conducting or considering the conduct of Special Permit Whaling to terminate or not commence such activities and to limit scientific research to non-lethal methods only". The Resolution also noted that Article VIII of the Convention, which Japan continues to invoke, "was drafted and accepted by States Parties in 1946, at a time when few alternatives to lethal investigations existed, a situation drastically different today".

"When Iceland subsequently announced its decision to commence "scientific" whaling - in defiance of the Resolution which was adopted at the IWC and which is quoted above - Ireland joined a Demarche or official complaint to the Foreign Ministry in Reykjavik along with no fewer than 22 other countries to convey this country's strong objection to the decision.

"The Minister hopes you will accept from the foregoing that the position of Ireland in relation to "scientific" whaling is fully in line with your own strong views in the matter."


In the December edition of Animal Voice, we outlined reports that the Welsh village of Cowbridge was planning to organise a Pamplona-style bullrun as part of its 750th anniversary celebrations as a market town.

We are now happy to report that this event will not take place. The council maintain, in fact, that it was never even being considered.

According to Jeffrey James, local council leader: "This is a complete untruth. I, or any of my colleagues would never consider such an event. Please rest assured nothing of this nature will ever take place in Cowbridge."



(Limerick Leader - December 13th 2003)

In medieval England, it was customary to go hunting deer in order to feed the household, rather than simply as a sport. The prepared venison was served to the lord of the manor and his household.

The hunt servants, being much lower on the social scale, had to sit below the lord's dais and there they were served with the offal and entrails of the deer - known as the "umblies" - which were used as a filling for pies. Hence, the origin of the term "eating humble pie".

Meanwhile, hunting foxes with hounds, described as the most sophisticated form of venery ever devised, is a legacy from the 18th Century English squires who found in the fox a more adventurous quarry than the hare.

Those squires, their hands "dripping with the fat of sacrilege" to use Lloyd George's words, hunted the fox for pleasure alone. That those English foxhunting squires were "aped" or imitated by Ireland's "squireens" is hardly surprising. Nor is it surprising that from 1849 to 1882, those squireens evicted and drove from their houses 363,000 peasant families.

All at a time when, according to Gladstone, eviction meant a sentence of death.

"To hunt, to bathe, to gamble, to laugh - that is to live!" So reads the celebrated inscription from the pleasure lovers of the old Roman Empire. To hunt, to booze, to gamble, to laugh: that is the lifestyle of the "squirearchy" of our time.

As for their "great tradition" - the tally-ho enthusiasts would do well to ponder the words of Pius XII to Roman aristocrats: "The wind of a new era is blowing away many traditions of the past. A page in history has been turned, a chapter closed. A new chapter has been opened. You may think what you like but those are the facts."

What did Roosevelt say to Churchill when the latter lamented the break-up of the British Empire? "A new period has opened in the world's history and you will have to adjust yourselves to it."

That foxhunting with hounds, another legacy of the British Empire, is being blown away [is a cause for rejoicing].

Dick Power
Director, ICABS



(Sligo Weekender - January 13th, 2004)

Dear Editor

What a lovely picture you had in your paper the week before last of a little girl on her pony at the Sligo Harriers' Annual Hunt at Ransboro. What a pity you had not your photographer in Carrigans Lower and Carrickbanagher last Saturday, January 3 to capture the true colours of Sligo Harriers.

Ewes due to lamb, cows due to calve, running terrified through fences. There were ponies frightened out of their enclosures, cattle racing mad throughout the fields, not to mention the land itself, which was all cut-up. They even left some of their hounds behind them.

This behaviour is totally unacceptable in this day and age. These lands have been preserved for the last three years, a fact that the County Sligo Hunt is well aware of, as there was a public notice in the paper and letters were sent to Sligo Harriers and local gun clubs. Signs are also in place stating same.

These people have no regard for farmers / landowners or the law. Do they hunt on their own lands and disturb their own livestock? They have no respect for land, cattle, sheep, ponies and indeed the wildlife of our countryside. Hunting is not and never will be welcome on these lands again. That day is well and truly dead and gone. So take note Sligo Harriers, stay away.

Natalie Golden,
Ballymote, Co Sligo


If you can offer a good home to a cat or dog, please visit the "Homes Needed" section of the Irish Animals website at: www.irishanimals.com At this time of year, there is an even greater number of animals looking for homes. If you can help find a new home for three goats, please contact Mary Chundee of Westmeath Friends of Animals (Tel: 044-42205 or Email: friendsofanimalswh@eircom.net).


The following Dail Question was answered on 18th December 2003. For more Dail Q&A relating to the campaign against blood sports, please visit the "Politicians/Parliamentary Questions" section of the ICABS website.

To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the level of Exchequer funding made available to the Irish Coursing Club each year in the past ten years; and the purpose for which this funding was required. (Trevor Sargent).

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Mr. O'Donoghue): Under the provisions of the Greyhound Industry Act 1958, Bord na gCon is the statutory agency responsible for the promotion and development of greyhound racing in Ireland. Section 16(1)(c)(vi) of the Act allows Bord na gCon to provide funding to the Irish Coursing Club, ICC, "in assisting the club in the performance of its functions or contributing to the costs of schemes operated by the club for the improvement and development of greyhound breeding and coursing." Bord na gCon has informed my Department that it has not allocated any Exchequer funding to the ICC over the last ten years.


"When, last month, Northern Ireland's junior minister for the environment Angela Smith banned the killing or trapping of hares as a 'temporary, precautionary measure', she may have been foreshadowing the animal's permanent, year-round protection in the island as a whole, much to the disgust of the coursing clubs." (Michael Viney, Another Life column, Irish Times, January 17th, 2004).

"Royal gunsmith Holland and Holland - best known for supplying shotguns to the well-heeled, including Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie - are offering clients the opportunity to kill, amongst other species, leopards (£2,500) and cheetahs (£2,000), both of which are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as threatened with extinction.'" (From the League Against Cruel Sports' www.bloodybusiness.com website which exposes companies "promoting, endorsing, participating in or in any way profiting from cruelty to animals in the name of 'sport'", December 2003).

"On to the Bog Wood where hounds eventually opened and pushed a strong fox back and forward around the wood before eventually getting him to break across the land in the Briar Wood. Hounds checked in the field in front of Dern Wood. There was a holloa on the far side and [the hunt master] put hounds on and hunted him back to the Briar Wood before he turned again and went to ground behind the kennels." (From a report on the Louth Foxhunt, The Irish Field, November 8th, 2003).

"It was a difficult day for hunting, with horrendous showers of rain. But, while hounds could hold scent in the covers and wooded areas, once they were on open ground scent was non existent. But it didn't really matter as the objective was to provide a bit of fun…" (From a report on two new hunts in County Mayo, The Irish Field, December 20th, 2003). We can only imagine the state of the wet land after horses and hounds trampled across it.

"Whips Aidan Galligan and Mark Casserly were on the spot to view Charlie [the fox] away, but the huntsman took a short cut and was the first over a strong sheepwire fence, topped off with barbed wire and overhanging branches, just to make it more interesting onto the busy Kilmessan/Bective main road! Hounds crossed the road and did a circle back under the bridge, with our pilot [the fox] heading directly into Kilmessan Village. But he mustn't have been in town for a while, as he put the brakes on, probably surprised at a new housing development that was obviously a green space when he was there last." (From a report on the Meath Foxhunt, The Irish Field, December 6th, 2003).


The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has launched a new national cruelty helpline. The society is asking members of the public to call the number if they come across an animal in distress or want to report a case of suspected cruelty. The helpline number is 048-9081 4242.


Northern Irish-based "Irish Hare Initiative" are in the process of creating "the most comprehensive Irish hare resource available". For more information on the Irish hare, please visit www.irishhare.org

The group have also set up a hare helpline - known as Hareline - on 08707 44 22 85. Members of the public can call this number for information on hares and also to report hare casualties and orphans.

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