Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 401 - Answered on 10th March, 2009
Aengus Ó Snodaigh:
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will introduce legislation banning all blood sports including hare coursing and fox hunting.
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Gormley):
My responsibilities under the Wildlife Acts and the Habitats Regulations relate to the conservation of populations of certain wild animals. As foxes are not a protected species under the Wildlife Acts I do not have a licensing or regulatory responsibility in relation to fox hunting.
Applications for hunting licences under the Wildlife Acts are processed by my Department. Each licence application is dealt with individually and any conservation impact on the particular species is taken into account in line with the provisions of the Acts.
Animal welfare and legal protection of animals from cruelty are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. A draft Animal Health and Welfare Bill has been circulated by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for public consultation. This will, inter alia, update existing legislation to ensure that the welfare of animals is properly protected and that the penalties for offenders are increased significantly.