ANIMAL VOICE - November/December 2003
The letter writing appeals newsletter
of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS)
In This Issue:
1 Urgent: Cavan plans to host Dungannon coursers
December 2003 Appeals/Updates:
14 Update: Northern coursers allowed to terrorise hares in Cavan
Thank you for all your excellent work on the last set of letter writing appeals.
We are delighted to report that GoIreland.com has removed all references to foxhunting and deerhunting from its website.
Other websites to have responded to ICABS appeals in recent weeks include East Coast & Midlands Tourism (www.eastcoastmidlandsireland.com) who eliminated details about the Kildare Hunt and also the Kilkenny Information Age website (www.kilkenny.ie) which deleted references to three foxhunts in Kilkenny. We are very grateful to these for their positive and prompt responses.
Please join us in as many of the campaigns below as possible and help play a part in stopping animal suffering.
Thanks again for your continued help and support.
With best wishes.
1. Urgent: Cavan plans to host Dungannon coursers
Thank you to everyone who wrote to Minister Martin Cullen following our urgent appeal in October. As you will recall, hares which had been captured in the south of Ireland were brought up to Northern Ireland to be used in the Dungannon Coursing Club's meeting. Minister Cullen has confirmed that no clubs in Northern Ireland are included in the current licence to lawfully catch hares.
The meeting which was scheduled for October 25th was cancelled due, we believe, to intense media interest and local protest.
However, we have now learned from the Sporting Press publication that the Cavan coursing club plan to host the Dungannon coursing club and they have extended their two day meeting to a three day event to accommodate the Northern club. This meeting in Cavan is due to take place this coming weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 21, 22 and 23).
The licence to net hares does not cover Dungannon and we contend that the arrangement between the Cavan and Dungannon clubs is in breach of the hare netting licence. The addition of a third day to Cavan's meeting will put further pressure and stress on hares already subjected to cruelty and terror.
Please join us in appealing to Minister Cullen to call a halt to this arrangement between Cavan and Dungannon on the grounds that it is a blatant attempt to circumvent the conditions of the hare netting licence which applies to clubs in the Republic only.
Minister Martin Cullen
Dear Minister Cullen,
I call on you to immediately intervene to prevent the Cavan coursing club from hosting the Dungannon coursing club this weekend.
The Cavan coursing club has announced the addition of a third day to its annual meeting to accommodate the Dungannon Club.
As you are aware, the Dungannon club was in possession of hares which were netted from the south. This despite the fact that no clubs in Northern Ireland are included in the current licence to lawfully catch hares.
It would be appalling if this fact was disregarded and that the joint meeting was allowed to proceed.
Please act to ensure that the Cavan coursing club are prevented from hosting this club.
I also call on you as the Minister responsible for issuing hare netting licences, to make this the last hare coursing season in Ireland. It is deplorable that in the 21st Century - when a humane alternative known as drag coursing exists - your Department finds nothing wrong with facilitating this animal cruelty which a massive eight in ten majority of Irish people want banned.
Thank you. I look forward to your response.
2. Government gives multi-million Euro grant to Kildare Hunt
As reported in the media, the Punchestown Centre, which is half-owned by the Kildare Hunt, has received a 15 million Euro grant from the Government.
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is outraged that the Kildare Foxhunt is the beneficiary of this massive grant. This is tantamount to an endorsement by the government of the Kildare Hunt and thereby their barbaric activities.
ICABS is also concerned that the Kildare Hunt will direct profits earned from this facility (paid for by our taxes) towards their cruel activity - the hounding down and killing of foxes for fun.
We ask the general public to bear this in mind when considering attending events at the Punchestown Centre.
Please also write to the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern and An Tanaiste, Mary Harney, expressing your disapproval of taxpayers' money being given to a foxhunt.
Charlie McCreevy, Minister for Finance
An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
An Tanaiste, Mary Harney
Dear Minister McCreevy, Deputy Ahern, Deputy Harney,
I am writing to express my outrage at the news that a grant of 15 million Euro has been given to the Punchestown Centre which is half-owned by the Kildare Foxhunt.
As a taxpayer, I demand that absolutely no money is given to those who engage in the barbaric practice of foxhunting or other blood sports.
I am extremely concerned that the Kildare Hunt will direct profits earned from the Punchestown facility into the funding of their hounding and killing of foxes for fun.
Foxhunting is an activity which I call on the Government to immediately work towards making illegal in Ireland.
3. Foxhunt book promoted in Easons brochure
A Christmas brochure produced by Easons is featuring a book about foxhunting. The book "Hunting - A Portrait" is included in the Sport section of the brochure alongside the description: "a colourful portrait of the centuries-old SPORT".
Dear Mr Black,
I call on Easons to stop promoting the book entitled "Hunting - A Portrait".
I find it offensive that Easons deemed it appropriate to categorise fox hunting as a "sport" - the book in question is included in the sports section of the Christmas 2003 edition of your "Diamond Collection" brochure.
Also of concern to me is the description of the book on the Eason's website as an account of "some of the hunting world's wonderful canine, equine and human characters".
Foxhunting is a form of animal cruelty which involves the chasing to exhaustion of a fox before the animal is ripped apart. This is not something which Easons should be promoting.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
4. Offaly hotel sponsors hare coursing
5. TDs/Senators - Make this the last coursing season
Eight in ten Irish people want coursing banned in Ireland. We desperately need to keep reminding the politicians about this enormous opposition to coursing and demanding that they work towards making it illegal. Please write to all of your local politicians and ask them to support the campaign against coursing and other blood sports. Encourage your friends and family to contact them too. We need as much help with this campaign as possible. Thank you.
Write to your TD at:
Write to your Senator at:
For the names of politicians, please visit the Irish Government website at: http://www.irlgov.ie
I am writing to ask you to use your influence as a TD/Senator to help bring hare coursing and other blood sports to an end in Ireland.
As one of your constituents who is opposed to animal cruelty, I wish to see you working towards outlawing the blood sports of hare coursing, foxhunting, carted deer hunting, mink hunting and all forms of hunting with hounds.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
** Visit the "Politicians" section of the ICABS website for:
6. TV transmissions of Spanish bullfights
at times when kids are watching
You can participate in the online campaign at http://www.antistierkampf.de/tv or send the following letter to Commissioner Viviane Reding
Dear Mrs. Reding,
I have been informed that Spain violates directive 89/552/CEE by allowing bullfighting transmissions at times when children are watching television within Spain. At the same time, international Spanish station RTVE transmits bullfights to other European countries.
In some countries the programmes, which are unencoded, can be watched by satellite, from 4.30pm onwards. Bullfights are extremely cruel and are "gratuitously violent", which is explicitly forbidden by article 22 of the said directive.
We ask you to insist that the transmissions of bullfights, at a time when children watch, are stopped, or in the case of non-compliance, the Kingdom of Spain be prosecuted in the Tribunal of Justice of the European Community.
7. Irish Independent lists hunting and coursing in "sports" section
The Irish Independent is continuing to include foxhunting and hare coursing in the sports listings section of the newspaper.
Please write to the editor asking for these activities to be excluded from the sports pages on the grounds that they are not sports but forms of cruelty to animals.
As a reader of the Irish Independent, I find it offensive that you deem it appropriate to include both foxhunting and live hare coursing in the listings section of your sports pages.
I do not believe that these cruel activities should be included in the sports section and appeal to you to stop giving them positive coverage in your newspaper.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
8. Charities and blood sports
ICABS has written to numerous charities in Ireland, asking them to please refuse donations offered by foxhunts or other groups involved in the killing of animals. Such donations amount to blood money and are a thinly disguised public relations exercise by blood sports groups to gain brownie points in their local communities.
We fully understand that charities need funds to survive but considering the awful animal cruelty associated with foxhunting, we are appealing to them to please show solidarity for our campaign and refuse donations from hunts.
If you are aware of a charity who has accepted funds from a hunt, please appeal directly to the charity and immediately notify ICABS. Thank you.
9. Send a "Stop the Badger Snaring" postcard
Copies of our "Stop the Badger Snaring Slaughter" postcard are still available. We are encouraging people to send them in to Minister Walsh as part of a nationwide protest against his Department's massacre of this "protected species". Please contact us now for a postcard (if you would like extra cards to give to your friends, please let us know) - ICABS, PO Box, 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
The Department of Agriculture has already killed 50,000 badgers as part of its so-called TB Eradication Scheme. Most of these badger were TB-free. More and more badgers are being targeted around Ireland. This despite the fact that no scientific evidence exists to definitively link badgers to the spread of TB. Bernie Barrett of BadgerWatch describes how badgers are suffering under the Department's Scheme. "The method of capture is a barbaric wire snare which holds the helpless badger in excruciating pain until it is dispatched by gunshot," she says. "That's provided the animal has not agonisingly strangled itself beforehand." More info on the new Badgerwatch Ireland website: www.badgerwatch.ie
10. Mastercard promoting circuses
Mastercard has been sponsoring circuses which feature animal acts. In the USA, the credit card company is actively promoting the Barnum & Bailey and Ringling circuses by sending out discount vouchers to their customers. According to a report on http://www.circuses.com , the circuses have broken federal animal welfare guidelines and carry animal handlers that have been charged with cruelty to the animals. Please write to MasterCard and ask them to stop promoting circuses which use animals.
Robert W. Selander
Email via the online form at: http://www.mastercard.com/cgi-bin/contactus.cgi?template=ContactUs
** Never pay to see a circus which features animal acts.
11. Petition: Anti-bullfighting Barcelona 2004
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is supporting a campaign launched by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and Spain's ADDA. The campaign is aiming to convince the mayor of Barcelona to make the city anti-bullfighting in 2004. Please help us to collect as many signatures for the Anti-bullfighting Barcelona 2004 petition. Copies can be printed from the petitions section of the ICABS website.
12. Update: Squirrel cull funding defended
The funding of a research project which involves the "intensive culling" of squirrels has been defended by the body who funded it.
As reported in the September edition of Animal Voice, the Trinity College Dublin project received over 76,000 Euro under the ERTDI programme which is implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Local Government.
According to Shane Colgan of the ERTDI Programme: "The research team confirm that this work is being carried out in accordance with standard research procedures and that it is covered by the ethics policy of the college."
13. Update: Bullfighting in Lisbon's Expo 98 complex
Thank you very much to everyone who responded to the September appeal relating to bullfighting in Lisbon's Expo 98 complex. Unfortunately, despite all the appeals from around the world, the bullfight took place. It was attended by the Mayor of Lisbon who is well known for his support of bullfighting. Also the President of Portugal sent a letter praising one of the bullfighters and the "art" of bullfighting. Express your opposition to bullfighting - please sign the ICABS Ban Bullfighting petition at http://www.banbloodsports.com/bullfighting
"They [the Kildare Hunt] are out hunting today. Pity the foxes
"The rejoicing will be done this side of the Irish Sea with the
large numbers of English, Welsh, and Scottish along with the Americans, French,
Dutch, and Germans who will come here to hunt [when hunting is banned in the
"The current membership [of the Kildare Hunt] boasts one baron,
an honourable, a district court judge, a major, a colonel, a solicitor, a
businessman once kidnapped by the IRA, a publican and a couple of well known
14 Update: Northern coursers allowed to terrorise hares in Cavan
Two hare coursing clubs in Northern Ireland have been allowed to come south of the border to terrorise hares during a controversial three-day meeting in Cavan.
The Ballymena and Dungannon clubs had been prevented from capturing hares from the wild following a decision by Angela Smith, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment in Northern Ireland.
It was subsequently discovered that the Dungannon club was in possession of hares which were netted in the Republic. This despite the fact that the licence to capture hares south of the border does not include Northern clubs. ICABS demanded that Minister Martin Cullen - who issues licences for coursing - immediately intervene and insist that the hares be returned and released back to the wild here. We are not aware of any such action being taken.
The meeting in Dungannon was called off at the last minute - due to, we believe, intense media interest in the controversy as well as local protests.
But, thanks to a failure by the Department of the Environment to step in and act, the Northern clubs managed in the end to carry out their cruelty. Cavan coursing club added a third day to their meeting and invited the two clubs to join them.
In reply to a Dail Question tabled by ICABS Vice-President, Tony Gregory, the Minister's response was that there was no breach of the coursing licence issued to the Cavan club.
"My Department understands that the event in question is being organised and managed by the Cavan Coursing Club who are covered by the hare netting licence issued to the Irish Coursing Club for the season 2003-2004. The subsidiary association of other interests with the Cavan Coursing Club in this event would not appear to be inconsistent with the licence provisions," Minister Cullen stated.
This response is in stark contrast to that of the Northern Irish Department of the Environment. In explaining her decision to prevent coursers from capturing and coursing hares, Angela Smith, MP stated: "The Irish hare is in danger. It is low in number and [my Department has] published a species action plan, which has among its objectives the doubling of the Irish hare population by 2010. Anything that puts the lives and welfare of the Irish hare at risk is inconsistent with the policy objectives of the species action plan."
ICABS is disappointed that Minister Cullen didn't act to prevent the Cavan meeting from taking place.
Take Action: Write Now!
Please write to Minister Martin Cullen asking him to explain why he allowed coursing clubs from another jurisdiction to come to Cavan to terrorise hares.
Appeal to him to follow the good example of Northern Ireland and refuse further licences to coursing clubs. Remind him that there is a humane alternative to coursing - drag coursing - which would be very simple to introduce.
Minister Martin Cullen
15 Stop Ward Union
Please join us once again in our appeal to Minister Martin Cullen to stop licensing carted deer hunting.
Carted deer hunting is carried out by a single hunt - the Ward Union Deerhunt. Deer are terrorised twice every week between October and March.
The deer used by this hunt are bred in captivity for the sole purpose of being hunted across the countryside of Meath and North County Dublin.
Chased for up to three hours, the hunted deer invariably end up with painful cuts and bruises and may be injured or die in the struggle while being re-captured. They are also at risk of succumbing to Myopia, a fatal heart condition.
Carted deer hunting is an entirely barbaric and outdated activity and one which should have no place in a modern and civilised country like Ireland.
Take Action: Write Now!
Please write now to Minister Cullen and forward a copy of the letter to your local TDs. Demand an end to carted deer hunting.
Minister Martin Cullen
16 Update: Stop cruel badger snaring slaughter
Thank you to everyone who has supported our "Stop the Badger Snaring Slaughter" campaign.
This is an ongoing campaign and we are continuing to encourage people to send in one of our protest postcards to Minister Walsh.
We have had a very positive response so far with many people outraged over the Department of Agriculture's continued killing of badgers.
If you require postcards to distribute, please let us know and we can send them out to you.
Background Information: The Department of Agriculture has already killed 50,000 badgers as part of its so-called TB Eradication Scheme. Most of these badgers, incidentally, were TB-free. More and more badgers are being targeted around Ireland. This despite the fact that no scientific evidence exists to definitively link badgers to the spread of TB. Bernie Barrett of Badger Watch describes how badgers are suffering under the Department's Scheme.
"The method of capture is a barbaric wire snare which holds the helpless badger in excruciating pain until it is dispatched by gunshot," she says. "That's provided the animal has not agonisingly strangled itself beforehand." More info at: www.badgerwatch.ie/html/normal.htm .
Take Action: Write Now!
Write to the Licensing and Species Protection Unit and appeal to them to refuse further licences to the Department of Agriculture for snaring badgers.
Ask Minister Walsh to immediately change his Department's policy of snaring badgers.
Minister Joe Walsh
17 News - Killing badgers increases TB in cattle: latest UK reports
ICABS and Badger Watch have renewed an appeal to Minister Joe Walsh to suspend the slaughter of badgers following revelations in the UK that badger culling has increased TB in cattle by 27 per cent.
UK Minister for Animal Health & Welfare, Ben Bradshaw, suspended the badger cull in the "reactive" triplet zones because he said that there was enough data to show that it increases the disease in cattle, rather than reducing it.
We repeat our call to Minister Walsh to suspend the Irish badger cull. His Department's flawed programme of taking out 30 per cent of Irish badgers in a given area, is based on supposition and vague estimations.
We also call on Minister Martin Cullen to immediately intervene in this issue, and refuse to issue licences for the snaring on the grounds that, under the Wildlife Act, we contend that this snare is illegal for use on badgers.
There are serious questions to be answered in relation to this issue of badger persecution. ICABS and Badger Watch have seen a copy of the minutes of a meeting of officials in the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Abbottstown where snared badgers are taken for testing. An official is quoted in the minutes as referring to the "badger charade" and saying that he saw the lab as "a knackery to dump badgers".
18 Help stop UK "cow run"
19 Save dolphins from Japan's barbaric hunt
Every year, hundreds of dolphins are killed in Japan in the so-called "drive fisheries" hunt.
The slaughter is an extremely violent procedure. According to one eye witness, the dolphins are "surrounded by nets and cut off from escape, making wailing noises audible to humans, sustaining injuries, and succumbing to panic and drowning."
Recent video footage shows the graphic end to the hunt. Fishermen are seen pounding the surface of the water, causing waves that confuse the mammals' sense of direction. They then drive the dolphins into small coves where they can be more easily killed with sickles.
Though subject to government-set quotas, the hunts are not banned under Japanese law. Neither are they subject to international regulations since they are done near the shore.
The slaughter takes place between October and March. On October 6 of this year, for example, the fishermen drove a pod of striped dolphins ashore and, using sharp hooks and butcher knives, killed 60 of them. On October 23rd about 30 long-finned pilot whales were killed. More dolphins face a similar fate.
Take Action: Write Now!
Please join the international protest against this barbarism. Write immediately to the Japanese Government to voice your opposition.
Prime Minister of Japan
Email via: www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment.html
Minister of Fisheries
Fax: +81 3 3502 8220
Sign the Petition: "End Dolphin Slaughtering in Japan": www.thePetitionSite.com/takeaction/391762699
20 Campaign against bullfights in Caracas
In November 2001, a campaign was launched against the return of bullfights to Caracas, Venezuela. Bullfighters wanted to perform in the city's "El Poliedro" pavilion.
Thanks to protest emails from around the world, the bullfight did not take place.
Now the bullfighters are trying to perform bullfights in the same place on the 14th and 15th of February 2004.
Caracas has had no bullfights since 1997. Please help prevent the return of this blood sport in 2004.
Take Action: Write Now!
Send a protest email to the President of Venezuela and send a copy to the Mayor of Caracas and the Department of Tourism.
President Hugo Chavez
Corporación de Turismo de Venezuela
Tel: (58-2) 5741968, 5742124
Fundación Poliedro de Caracas
Dear Mr. President,
I have been informed about proposals to reintroduce bullfights to Caracas. The last bullfight that took place in this city was in 1997. These bullfights are planned to take place in the Poliedro of Caracas on the 14th and 15th February of 2004.
I appeal to you, Mr. President, to prevent these bullfights from taking place. Do not allow the capital of your country to be stained with the blood of innocent animals.
Please remember that tourists systematically avoid countries that don't respect animals.
21 Renewed appeal: Ban fur farming in Ireland
Last month, Green Party TD, Eamon Ryan asked Minister Joe Walsh if he would ban fur farming in Ireland. The Minister's response to the Dail question was as follows: "Fur farming is a legitimate farming activity in this country…We have no plans to ban fur farming in Ireland. Our Department will continue to keep in close contact with the fur industry and to monitor the operation of the licensed fur farms."
Background Info: There is at least one fox fur farm in Ireland and six mink farms and the animals are confined in small wire cages until they are killed. The Department of Agriculture licenses the mink fur farms - the fox fur farm(s) apparently do not need a licence. The UK and several other countries have banned fur farms but they remain in existence in Ireland. A Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector made the following report after witnessing a fox being slaughtered in one of these farms: "The operative [uses] one hand to insert the earth probe per rectum and then to insert the charging probe either into the mouth or onto the ear. When the animal bites the probe it is immediately electrocuted. The operative maintains the charge for 10 seconds approximately…I can say that I firmly believe that this procedure is humane."
Take Action: Write Now!
Please write to Minister Joe Walsh and tell him that electrocuting foxes is certainly NOT humane. Foxes and mink live a life of misery in Ireland's fur farms and are brutally killed for their fur. Urge Minister Walsh to ban fur farming in Ireland.
Joe Walsh, TD
22 News: Vinnie Jones and hare coursing
The following is an extract from the Coursing Preview section of the Sporting Press, November 2003. The article confirms Vinnie Jones's involvement with the blood sport of coursing.
"International film star and former footballer Vinnie Jones runs the fancied Smoking Girl in the Bitch Stake at Enniscorthy. She has already qualified for the Oaks at Liscannor, but she might find Lisloose Laugh a bit too hot to tackle here."
Note: The "Oaks" referred to will take place in Clonmel at the National Coursing Finals which is due for 2, 3, 4th of February 2004.
23 The "nauseating nonsense" of foxhunters - Letter to the Editor
The following Letter to the Editor from ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell, appears in the Westmeath Examiner, dated 6th December 2003.
Accounting for the 'quarry'
If I had a Euro for every time an apologist for the Westmeath Foxhunters stated that they "hardly ever" kill a fox, I'd be a rich woman by now. This myth of the "harmless" foxhunters is constantly perpetuated to lull the public and even their own followers into a false sense of security about the real nature of their barbaric activities.
It seems that those who engage in and support animal cruelty can't handle the truth, and constantly turn a blind eye to the cruel reality of what the core aim of foxhunting is all about - killing foxes. No doubt, the response to this letter from those defenders of fox hunting will list all the benefits of foxhunting - cross country chasing, good "clean" fun out in the countryside, camaradarie, listening to the "music" of hounds and all the rest of the nauseating nonsense those of us who campaign against animal cruelty have to listen to year in and year out from these cowardly bullies who derive pleasure from terrorising and killing wild animals.
The fact of the matter is that foxhunting is about hounding down and killing foxes, and a day that a fox is not killed during a hunt is considered a "blank" or unsuccessful day for the hunt, but this was not the case recently for the Westmeath Foxhunters, as reported in the 'Hunt Diary' of the Farmers' Journal where it was stated that at a hunt which started in Bunbrosna and following a sharp 20 minutes towards Johnstown, "hounds accounted for their quarry above ground." If anybody has the stomach for it and wants to see a fox being "accounted for above ground", i.e. being torn apart by a pack of hounds, such a scene can be viewed in the Video Section of our website.
Aideen Yourell, Spokesperson
"The organisers of foxhunts require the permission of landowners on whose
land they wish to hold the event. A farmer whose lands are restricted should not
give such consent and in the normal course should not allow foxhunts to traverse
fields with livestock."
"Another interesting observation [during a UCD debate about foxhunting] was
the notion that hunters' horses appeared to be better treated than their wives."
"Hounds hunted for 15 minutes before marking [a fox] to ground. The
terrierman who had been kind enough to give me a lift went off to investigate
the 'mark'. I didn't attempt to follow him, which was just as well as he had to
wade across a drain nearly up to his waist! The fox's refuge was a huge badger
earth in enormous rocks".
"The Irish Council Against Blood Sports and Badger Watch Ireland have called
on Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh to stop the culling of badgers, which has been
halted in Britain because it was found to increase TB in cattle instead of
Updated Campaign Websites
For information on hare coursing, foxhunting, carted deer hunting and bullfighting, please visit our newly designed and updated campaign websites.
> Ban Hare Coursing <
For general updates on the campaign, please visit our main
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