Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 671 - Answered on 26th January, 2005

Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food if her Department provides a veterinary inspector to monitor the ward union hunt and coursing meetings; if her Department staff have sufficient resources to continue this work in the interest of animal welfare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

For WRITTEN answer. Ref No: 1956/05.

The Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): Statutory responsibility for the monitoring of the Ward Union Hunt rests with my colleague the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government under the provisions of the Wildlife Act, 1976. However, officials from my Department, at the request of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government monitor the welfare of deer hunted by the Ward Union Hunt Club. This is carried out on a spot check basis by checking the compliance with the self-regulating "Hunting Code of Practice" as drawn up by that Department.

In regard to coursing meetings, statutory responsibility rests with my colleague the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism. At the request of that Department, officials from my Department monitor animal welfare at a number of these meetings on an annual basis.

To date, my Department has had sufficient resources to carry out this monitoring. However, in view of the statutory responsibilities for these areas, my officials have been in discussion with officials from both of the above mentioned Departments regarding the arrangements for the monitoring of welfare aspects in the longer term.

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