Animal Voice - Special Edition - 2007 General Election
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
In This Issue:
01. Greens poised to ban blood sports
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports congratulates the Green Party for being the only party to pledge an end to blood sports in their election manifesto. Their promise to ban these cruel activities and introduce heavy penalties for participants represents the greatest hope in years for Ireland's hunted animals.
In the Animal Welfare section of the Green Party's 2007 Election Manifesto, it is stated that the party "asserts the rights of animals to humane treatment and living conditions".
If they succeed in getting into government after the election, the party pledges to "ban blood sports" and introduce "heavy penalties for organisers and participants".
The party has also promised to:
The Green Party is also committed to abolishing grants for the horseracing and greyhound industries and instead funding local sporting facilities. As highlighted by the Greens last year, around 37 per cent of all government sports funds go to the horse and greyhound racing industries.
"It is a sickening statistic considering there are clubs around the country crying out for funding," a party spokesperson has stated. "It is these clubs that should be the priorities for government; not profitable industries that have more to do with gambling than exercise."
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports wholeheartedly welcomes the animal welfare aspect of the Green Party's manifesto. It undoubtedly represents the greatest hope in years for hunted animals. We commend ICABS member and Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, for remaining dedicated to ridding Ireland of blood sport cruelty.
The General Election will take place on Thursday, 24th May 2007. Please vote for election candidates who pledge to support legislation banning blood sports in Ireland. See below for the blood sports views of various TDs. If your TDs are not listed, contact them today and ask them for their stance on blood sports.
Write to your TD at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website at
Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, has expressed his admiration for the active supporters of ICABS whose efforts are helping to secure a safer future for Ireland's animals.
"I commend your courage and dedication and those of the front line people in the Irish Council Against Blood Sports who have kept the hope alive for all of us who want to see the end to cruelty," Mr Sargent stated in a recent letter.
He stressed that his party's commitment to bringing blood sports to an end is as strong as ever.
"The Green Party is completely opposed to violence and cruelty to animals and as we campaign to take enough seats so that we can have a role in the next government we will do everything in our power to end these cruel activities."
ICABS is very grateful for this continued support and we hope that the Green Party secures a strong position in the next government. For more info on the Green Party, visit www.greenparty.ie.
Fianna Fail has declared that the party is "committed" to the continuation of coursing in Ireland. Responding to an ICABS appeal to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, a spokesperson defended the blood sport, claiming that the muzzling of greyhounds results in less hares being killed.
"Fianna Fail in government is committed to ensuring coursing in Ireland is run in a controlled and responsible manner which takes into account the animal welfare of hares and greyhounds alike," stated Gerry Hickey, Special Adviser to An Taoiseach.
ICABS is enormously disappointed at this response, particularly as the Taoiseach is on record as saying that he is "totally opposed" to coursing and that he hopes that "many more people reject coursing".
Considering that coursing is intrinsically cruel, ICABS finds the suggestion that it is, or could ever be, carried out in an animal welfare-friendly fashion to be absolutely absurd. As long as hares are used in coursing, there is no possibility whatsoever of it being compatible with acceptable animal welfare standards.
We also find this response to be an affront to the majority of the electorate who want hare coursing banned. Past polls have put the opposition as high as 80-90 per cent of the population.
ICABS has renewed its appeal to Fianna Fail to reconsider its stance on blood sports. We have reminded them once again that muzzling has not, and never will, eliminate the cruelty of coursing. Thousands of hares continue to be snatched from the wild and chased by greyhounds every year. Some are battered and mauled into the ground by the dogs; some sustain injuries so severe that they will die during or after the coursing meeting; some die from stress-related conditions; all suffer the fear of being taken out of their natural environment and forced to run for their lives.
Please join with us in urging Fianna Fail to condemn coursing and to give a commitment to banning it in the coming months. Our latest action alerts appear below.
ACTION ALERT 1
Please contact Mr Ahern and urge him to update Fianna Fail's policy in relation to blood sports. Tell him that a majority of the electorate want these cruel activities banned.
Dear An Taoiseach,
I am very disappointed to learn that, in a recent letter to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, your Special Adviser stated that Fianna Fail is "committed" to the continuation of coursing in Ireland.
This announcement totally disregards the fact that a majority of Irish citizens from both rural and urban areas want this deplorable activity outlawed. It is regrettable that Fianna Fail is siding with the minority who get pleasure out of snatching timid hares from the wild in nets, keeping them in captivity for several weeks and forcing them to run for their lives ahead of greyhounds.
The muzzling of greyhounds hasn't, and never could, eliminate the cruelty from hare coursing. Photographs and video footage presented on the ICABS website clearly show the suffering being endured by hares in this outdated activity. Hares are not only killed as a result of being pounded into the ground by the hounds but they are also all at risk of succumbing to the stress-related condition known as capture myopathy. At one coursing meeting, a veterinary inspector highlighted how 40 hares died as a result of the condition.
How long more is the government going to tolerate those who abuse this most cherished of creatures? No amount of monitoring will spare the hare from the cruelty of coursing. That can only be achieved by an outright ban on the blood sport. I hope that you can do the right thing for both the hare species and the international image of Ireland as a civilised nation and urgently bring coursing to an end.
Thank you. I eagerly await your positive response.
ACTION ALERT 2
Please write to Minister Dick Roche and demand that he stop licensing hare coursing.
Minister Dick Roche
ACTION ALERT 3
Please appeal to Minister Mary Coughlan (she is responsible for animal welfare and the Protection of Animals Act) to intervene to end hare coursing.
Minister Mary Coughlan
The leader of Fine Gael has confirmed that, although his party supports drag hunting, they have no plans to ban blood sports.
"There are no proposals to ban hunting or coursing under consideration by Fine Gael," Enda Kenny, TD recently stated in a letter to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.
ICABS is greatly disappointed at this response, particularly as Mr Kenny has expressed his personal opposition to hare coursing in the past. We have renewed our call to Fine Gael to reconsider their policy and to match an anti-blood sports commitment given by the Green Party. The Greens have pledged to put a complete ban in place if they get into government after the next election.
Although not considering a ban on cruel blood sports like foxhunting, coursing, mink hunting and carted deer hunting, Deputy Kenny maintained that his party supports the growth of the humane drag hunting alternative. "Fine Gael is supportive of the development of alternatives to conventional hunting such as drag hunting, which are growing in popularity in many parts of the country," he said. "In addition to the removal of the fox from this form of hunting, the course of drag hunts can be planned in advance thereby minimising disruption to farmers and landowners."
If Fine Gael truly wants to see foxes and other animals being removed from hunting, the most effective way forward is to come out in favour of a ban on hunting with hounds. ICABS is now renewing its appeal to Enda Kenny and his party to condemn blood sports and commit to outlawing them in Ireland.
Urge Fine Gael to come out in favour of a complete ban on blood sports. This would be a popular policy, given the majority opposition to hunting and coursing in Ireland.
Enda Kenny, TD
Dear Deputy Kenny,
While I welcome the news that Fine Gael is in favour of drag hunting, I find it disappointing that your party is not prepared to pledge its support for an end to blood sports.
Activities involving merciless acts of animal cruelty should have no place in a modern country like Ireland. I urge you and Fine Gael to amend your blood sports policy to reflect this.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
A hunting group has claimed that Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, has given a commitment that if his party gets into government, they will not restrict or ban hunting. ICABS is appealing to Mr Kenny to withdraw any such commitment and instead pledge to work towards banning blood sports.
A statement recently issued by shooting organisation, NARGC, claims that "Enda Kenny gave a solemn commitment to all the hunting associations, when he met them on April 20th 2005 in the offices of the Irish Coursing Club in Clonmel, that Fine Gael would not in government agree to the introduction of restrictions or bans on hunting."
In a letter to the Fine Gael leader, ICABS queried the claim and stated that if it was accurate, it was extremely disappointing to those campaigning against animal cruelty all across Ireland.
We also conveyed our sadness at the claim that a meeting took place at the offices of the Irish Coursing Club. We reminded Mr Kenny that he confirmed to us in July 2003 that he is "opposed to the practice of live hare coursing".
"Please withdraw any commitment to hunting groups and instead pledge to work towards banning activities involving animal cruelty, activities which a majority of the electorate want outlawed," we appealed to Deputy Kenny. "If you are in any doubt as to the barbarity and suffering involved in these horrendous acts, we invite you to view our shocking blood sports video presentations at www.youtube.com/icabs."
Please join us in our appeal to Enda Kenny. Contact him today and urge him to withdraw any commitment given to hunting groups and to instead pledge his support for a ban on coursing, foxhunting, hare hunting, mink hunting and carted deer hunting.
Enda Kenny, TD
Dear Deputy Kenny,
I was very disturbed to learn about a claim being made by a hunting group that you have given a commitment that, when in government, Fine Gael would not restrict or ban hunting.
Considering the suffering caused to animals by hunting groups, I am incredulous that a modern political party would want to align itself in any way with hunting groups or hesitate to act to bring these shameful activities to an end in our country.
Blood sports like fox hunting, carted deer hunting, mink hunting and hare coursing are illegal in our neighbouring countries. I implore you and Fine Gael to give a firm commitment that you will now actively work to outlaw them in Ireland too. For video footage of the cruelty of hunting as well as presentations showing the humane alternatives, I can recommend a visit to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports channel at www.youtube.com/icabs.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your positive reply.
Environment Minister, Dick Roche, has revealed that he does not support foxhunting. The minister made the statement in an email response to a member of the public.
"Neither you or anybody else will ever find any support from me for fox hunting," the minister stated emphatically.
ICABS has welcomed this revelation but we desperately want the Minister to use his power to bring foxhunting to an end.
"We implore you to amend the Wildlife Act to save foxes from the cruelty of hunting," we urged Minister Roche.
Reminding the minister of the cruelty of foxhunting, we outlined how foxes:
Contact Minister Roche and urge him to amend the Wildlife Act so that foxes are free to live safe from the cruel barbarity of foxhunting.
Minister Dick Roche
Dear Minister Roche,
I was pleased to learn that you are one of the majority of Irish people who do not support foxhunting.
In order for this horrendous activity to be banned in our country, we need people in power such as yourself to take action.
Please urgently do everything in your power to spare the foxes the cruelty of foxhunting. With a major opinion poll confirming that most of Ireland wants foxhunting outlawed, now is the ideal time to act.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
ICABS has questioned An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, about a newspaper photograph in which he is seen alongside representatives of blood sport organisations. Finance Minister, Brian Cowen, also appears in the photo which was taken at a Fianna Fail event.
The photo appeared in the Irish Examiner of 8th March 2007 and includes Bertie Ahern and Minister Brian Cowen alongside Gerry Desmond of the Irish Coursing Club and five representatives of hunting lobby group, Countryside Alliance.
According to the accompanying article, the "Countryside Alliance says it uses its expertise to help government personnel arrive at solutions and create policies which receive the backing of rural voters"! A spokesperson is quoted as saying that "we will always have field sports [i.e. blood sports] at our core."
In a letter to An Taoiseach, Aideen Yourell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports reminded Mr Ahern about the cruelty of hunting and coursing and the mass opposition to the activities in Ireland. Also pointed out was the Taoiseach's stated opposition to coursing - in a letter to an ICABS supporter in 1997, he wrote: "I am totally opposed to hare coursing and I hope that...many more people reject hare coursing as a past-time, which can never justifiably be called a sport."
ICABS has urged Mr Ahern to give a commitment to introduce legislation outlawing all blood sports in line with the wishes of the vast majority of Irish citizens. Please join us in our appeal by responding to the action alerts below.
URGENT ACTION ALERTS
Urge An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to clarify his views on all blood sports and to give a commitment to introduce legislation outlawing coursing, foxhunting, carted deer hunting and all forms of hunting with hounds.
Bertie Ahern, An Taoiseach
Urge Finance Minister, Brian Cowen, to clarify his views on all blood sports and to give a commitment to support legislation outlawing coursing, foxhunting, carted deer hunting and all forms of hunting with hounds.
Brian Cowen TD
The Socialist Party has reiterated its support for an end to blood sports in Ireland. Responding to correspondence from ICABS, the party confirmed that it would support a ban on the cruel activities.
"The Socialist Party is opposed to blood sports and would support a ban and the goals of your campaign," stated national party organiser, Kevin McLoughlin. "We wish you well in your work."
Previously, Socialist Party TD, Joe Higgins assured us that: "I am opposed to the hunting of foxes by hounds as indeed I am opposed to live hare coursing."
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is grateful to the Socialist Party for their support. For more information on the party, visit www.socialistparty.net
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports calls for Dublin Central voters to give their No. 1 vote to our Vice President, Tony Gregory, TD.
Tony has, for many years, been foremost as a champion for animals in general and, in particular, in the fight for a ban on blood sports.
Tony's progressive initiative, via a Private Member's Bill in 1993 to ban coursing, is legendary and forced an admission from the then Fianna Fail government that coursing is cruel and that the cruelty would have to be eliminated. This historic bill was a major step in the ongoing campaign to secure a ban on hare coursing.
We continue to receive valuable support and encouragement from Deputy Gregory in our campaign against coursing, fox hunting, carted deer hunting and other blood sports.
We are proud to have Tony as our vice-president; he is as resolute and unstinting as ever to see an end to this barbarity.
Please give Tony Gregory, TD your No. 1 vote in Dublin Central.
Find out the blood sports views of your TDs/general election candidates by reading our list below. If your candidates are not included, please contact them and ask them if they will support legislation banning blood sports. Please forward a copy of their replies to ICABS. Thank you.
Views of current TDs (in alphabetical order)
Bertie Ahern, An Taoiseach (FF, Dublin Central):
Sean Ardagh, TD (FF, Dublin South Central):
Dan Boyle, TD (Green, Cork South Central):
James Breen, TD (Ind, Clare):
Saamus Brennan, TD (FF, Dublin South):
Michael Collins, TD (FF, Limerick West):
Joe Costello, TD (Labour, Dublin Central):
Dr Jerry Cowley, TD (Ind, Mayo):
Sean Crowe, TD (SF, Dublin South West):
Ciaran Cuffe, TD (Green, Dun Laoghaire):
Jimmy Deenihan, TD (FG, Kerry North):
Bernard Durkan, TD (FG, Kildare North):
Martin Ferris, TD (SF, Kerry North):
Eamon Gilmore, TD (Labour, Dun Laoghaire):
Paul Nicholas Gogarty, TD (Green Party, Dublin Mid-West):
Noel Grealish, TD (PD, Galway West):
Tony Gregory, TD (Independent, Dublin Central):
Marian Harkin, TD (Ind, Sligo-Leitrim):
Tom Hayes, TD (FG, Tipperary South):
Seamus Healy, TD (Independent, Tipperary South):
Joe Higgins, TD (SP, Dublin West):
Michael D Higgins, TD (Labour, Galway West):
Maire Hoctor, TD (FF, Tipperary North):
Enda Kenny, TD (FG, Mayo):
Finian McGrath, TD (Independent, Dublin North Central):
Liz McManus, TD (Labour, Wicklow):
Caoimhghin O Caolain, TD (SF, Cavan/Monaghan):
Noel O'Flynn, TD (FF, Cork North Central):
Jan O'Sullivan, TD (Labour, Limerick East):
Sean Power, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (FF, Kildare South):
Ruairi Quinn, TD (Labour, Dublin South East):
Pat Rabbitte, TD (Labour, Dublin South West):
Michael Ring, TD (FG, Mayo):
Dick Roche, Minister for the Environment (FF, Wicklow):
Eamon Ryan, TD (Green, Dublin South):
Trevor Sargent, TD (Green, Dublin North):
Joe Sherlock, TD (Labour, Cork East):
Joe Walsh, TD, former Minister for Agriculture (FF, Cork South West):
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” (Indian philosopher Mahatma Gandhi, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of non-violent protest - 1869-1948)
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