Newsletter

Animal Voice - February 2008
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Animal Voice - March 2008

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In This Issue:

01. Please join us for Galway University foxhunt debate
02. Minister urged to revoke deer hunt licence
03. New ICABS Banner: Please display today
04. Galway fox chased for 80 minutes
05. Appalling hunt cruelty: Fox forced to swim for its life
06. RTE classifies coursing as sport: Join our appeal now
07. Coursing cruelty highlighted to Clonmel mayor
08. Irish tour company responds positively to bullring appeal
09. Don't extend beagling season: Appeal to Minister
10. Coming soon to cinemas: The Fox and the Child
11. Galway SPCA criticises local TD for blood sports support
12. New Petition: Ban Blood Sports in Ireland in 2008
13. New Campaign Poster: "No Hunters, No Hounds"
14. Irish MEP is "odd man out" in support for cruel seal hunt
15. Coursing cruelty captured by media
16. New documentary about hunter turned campaigner
17. Bovine TB rises despite badger massacre
18. Protest coverage on RTE News
19. Fantastic Fox Photos
20. Tesco criticised for greyhound racing promo
21. Birdwatchers flocking to online cinema
22. Campaign Quotes
23. Letters to the Editors
24. Coursing's Catalogue of Cruelty
25. Police will punish acts of cruelty: Brazilian official
26. Action Alerts: Ban Foxhunting
27. Action Alerts: Ban Coursing

01. Please join us for Galway University foxhunt debate

Please join us for a debate on foxhunting at Galway University this coming Wednesday, March 5th at 7pm. The debate is to be chaired by RTE's Jim Fahy and will feature anti-hunting presentations from Green Party Councillor, Niall O'Brolchain, and Olivia Lally of NUIG Animal Rights Society.

They will be debating against Countryside Society's David Scallan and Gavin Duffy of the Hunting Association of Ireland.

Hunting debate - Full details

Location: O'Flaherty Lecture Theatre
National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway (Tel: 091 524411)
Date: Wednesday, March 5th
Time: 7pm

For driving directions, please visit maps.yahoo.net

Thank you. We look forward to seeing you there.

02. Minister urged to revoke deer hunt licence

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on Environment Minister, John Gormley, to urgently revoke the licence he issued to the Ward Union carted deer hunt in December. Our appeal comes in the wake of the High Court's granting of an injunction to the hunt, preventing the Minister from imposing the conditions that disallowed them from using dogs to chase the deer and forced them to capture the deer before unleashing the pack.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has always contended that this hunt is illegal and should never have been licensed under the Wildlife Act, because the deer hunted by the Ward Union are farmed deer, not wild animals, and therefore not subject to the Wildlife Act.

This contention has been borne out in a legal opinion which concludes that the Ward Union hunt is "illegal" under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, and that it shouldn't be licensed under the 1976 Wildlife Act (Professors Clive Symmons and William Binchy of Trinity School of Law, November 2007)

URGENT ACTION ALERT

Urgently contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to him to immediately revoke the licence he issued to the Ward Union in December.

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.

Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am writing to urge you to immediately revoke the licence granted to the Ward Union hunt last December. The captive bred, domesticated deer used by the hunt are protected animals under the Protection of Animals Act and may not be legally hounded by hunters. It is contrary to existing legislation to licence the activities of this hunt.

As a Green Party Minister opposed to blood sports, I trust that you will do everything in your power to end the Ward Union's terrorisation of deer. Please urgently revoke the licence and refuse further licences to this cruel hunt which a majority of people in County Meath and many more around Ireland and the world want stopped.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

03. New ICABS Banner: Please display today

Help spread the word about the campaign against blood sports in Ireland. Please display the new ICABS banner on your website or profile page. Thank you.

Banner 1

To display the banner, please copy and paste the following code into your page.

Banner 2 (For MySpace Users)

If you would like to display the banner on a MySpace profile page, please use the following banner code.

For more linking options, please visit our Links Page.

04. Galway fox chased for 80 minutes

A fox had to endure a gruelling 80 minute chase during a hunt in County Galway, according to an Irish Field report. "As soon as [the huntsman] cast his pack in Pump Bog, they found a fox and were away for what was to be a run of one hour and twenty minutes," the report stated, adding that the hunt terrier was among the dogs chasing the unfortunate fox.

The report on the Grallagh Harriers suggests that this particular fox managed to get away but it's more than likely that the creature was in a poor state afterwards. Research has shown that foxes chased by hounds suffer internal injuries, leaving them at risk of dying even if they eventually escape.

ACTION ALERT

Please help foxes by responding to our Ban Foxhunting Action Alerts below and forwarding them to all your friends.

05. Appalling hunt cruelty: Fox forced to swim for its life

A fox being chased by a pack of hunt hounds was forced to swim across a canal twice in a desperate bid to try and save its life. ICABS has asked landowners to help protect wildlife from this appalling abuse by banning hunts from their property.

This latest instance of hunt cruelty was outlined in a report about the Westmeath Foxhounds published in the Irish Field (2nd February 2008). This is the same hunt which, last December, admitted mercilessly digging a fox out of its earth and seeing hounds tear it asunder.

"The fox and the pack swam across the canal and continued along the banks to the Mullingar/Ballynacargy Road," the disturbing report reveals. From here, "the fox, with four and a half couple (9 hounds) in pursuit, swam the canal again before retracing their steps back to Newman's Bog."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports dreads to think of the awful fear and suffering endured by the fox as it did everything it possibly could to try and lose the pack.

We have this week appealed to landowners in Westmeath to consider the canal fox's terrible ordeal and consider the cruelty they facilitate by inviting hunts on to their land. "Please stand up for our wildlife heritage by posting 'No Hunting' signs along property boundaries and putting a notice in your local paper warning hunts to stay away," we appealed.

We also asked hunt followers uncomfortable with the cruelty to press for a changeover to draghunting. We told them that "this 21st Century alternative will not take away your enjoyment of following hounds along waterways, over stone walls and across bogs but it will ensure that a day's sport will never again depend on a bedraggled fox drenched in canal water and sweat running to save its life."

Please help foxes by responding to our Ban Foxhunting Action Alerts below and forwarding them to all your friends.

06. RTE classifies coursing as sport: Join our appeal now

RTE is defending its decision to include hare coursing in a radio sports report. ICABS has urged the station to stop presenting animal cruelty as sport, saying that "many would struggle to comprehend how sport could ever encompass an activity based on greyhounds chasing hares and causing them stress, injury and sometimes death."

Responding to our appeal from earlier this week, a spokesperson for RTE said that the station "neither approves nor disapproves of coursing" but that since it is legal, they will continue to cover it.

Peter Feeney, RTE's Head of Public Affairs Policy, defended this decision on the basis that the blood sport "remains supported by many people in Ireland". This claim has been strongly refuted by ICABS.

In an email to RTE today, ICABS stressed that coursing is very much a minority activity and that many people actually want it outlawed by the government.

"Every survey since the 1970s has shown that most people want it banned," we stated. "The latest opinion poll from Millward Brown (2007) found that 72 per cent of respondents believe coursing is cruel, with a massive 68 per cent favouring a ban. We can assume from this that the majority of licence fee payers would find the portrayal of animal cruelty as a sport to be highly offensive and inappropriate."

ICABS also challenged a suggestion that including coursing in a sports report was consistent with RTE's policy of fairly reflecting all sides.

"We welcome RTE's balanced coverage of this issue on Six One News but the radio report certainly didn't 'reflect fairly all sides'," we stated. "We hope RTE can side with the majority of Irish people and stop giving positive coverage to coursing in the future."

ACTION ALERT

Please join us in urging RTE to keep cruelty out of its sports reports.

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

RTE Radio
Donnybrook
Dublin 4

Email: info@rte.ie
CC: info@banbloodsports.com
Tel: 01 208 3111. Fax: 01 208 3080.

Dear RTE,

I wish to express my great disapproval of RTE Radio's inclusion of hare coursing in a sports report earlier this month. Coursing should never be classified as a sport by your station - it is one of Ireland's worst forms of animal cruelty and a majority of people in Ireland want it banned.

RTE - Please keep cruelty out of your sports reports!

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

[Name/Location]

07. Coursing cruelty highlighted to Clonmel mayor

The mayor of Clonmel has been asked to consider the cruelty of coursing and stop supporting the blood sport. The call comes after the Progressive Democrats councillor was pictured in a local paper at the town's coursing finals.

In a letter to Mayor Richie Molloy, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports expressed disappointment that he deemed it appropriate to attend an event involving cruelty to animals.

"Considering the animal cruelty involved in coursing and the fact that a huge majority of Irish people want this blood sport banned, we hope that you can reconsider your stance," we stated.

Cllr Molloy was also provided with extracts from National Parks and Wildlife Service reports which reveal how hares continue to suffer during coursing meetings. The documents refer to a hare which "had a badly broken hind leg and seemed to be in great distress", a hare "carrying a hind leg", a hare suffering from "a damaged hind toe" and a hare which "squealed with distress and/or pain" after being "tossed and badly mauled".

Please join us in our appeal to Mayor Molloy to rid his town of this shameful animal cruelty festival. Suggest that Clonmel's image would benefit from the replacement of hare coursing with the humane alternative, drag coursing.

ACTION ALERT

Ask Mayor Molloy to shun animal cruelty and stop supporting coursing meetings held in Clonmel. Tell him that coursing involves a long line of cruelty from the moment the hares are netted from the wild up to the moment they are forced to run for their lives in front of the greyhounds. Ask him to watch our coursing video - www.youtube.com/icabs - which shows just some of the maulings suffered by hares during coursing meets.

Councillor Richie Molloy
Mayor of Clonmel
Clonmel Town Council
Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Email: cllrrichie.molloy@southtippcoco.ie
Tel: (052)-29362 or 086-1967482

MORE ACTION ALERTS

Please help hares by responding to our "Ban Coursing Action Alerts" below and forwarding them to all your friends.

08. Irish tour company responds positively to bullring appeal

An Irish tours company has responded positively to an ICABS appeal for the Ronda bullring to be excluded from future itineraries. Primera Tours has this month announced that they will "review our excursion programmes with regards to visits to a bullring".

According to a newspaper advert for the company, this year's April and May tour is set to take in Ronda where visitors will be brought on a "half day sightseeing tour to include Plaza de Toros [bullring]". The company has indicated, however, that from next year, bullrings will be avoided.

In its appeal to the company, ICABS stated: "We hope that Primera Tours can show compassion for the animals abused at this venue and choose a different sightseeing destination instead. Regardless of whether or not a bullfight is taking place during a visit, tourist support for bullring tours and museums help to keep bullfighting alive at a time when interest in the activity is waning and more and more people are condemning it as the cruel and inhumane animal abuse that it is."

Responding, a spokesperson for Primera Tours said: "We have taken your comments on board and we will review our excursion programmes with regards to visits to a bullring for our next brochure."

ICABS has thanked the company for this response. We will continue our appeal to all Irish travel companies to avoid bullfighting venues.

ACTION ALERT

Help highlight the cruelty of bullfighting. Please download and distribute our anti-bullfighting leaflet

The message on this year's leaflet is: "Have happy holiday memories - This summer, boycott bullfighting".

  • Please give a copy of the leaflet to your friends before they leave on holidays.
  • Ask your travel agent to display a copy.
  • When you arrive at your holiday accommodation, ask if you may display a copy in the reception area.


Download the leaflet now!
(pdf, 1.9 Mb)

09. Don't extend beagling season: Appeal to Minister

ICABS has appealed to Green Party Minister, John Gormley, to refuse a season extension to beagling clubs.

In previous years, the beaglers have succeeded in getting a licence to practise their blood sport into March.

ICABS understands that no licence is required by hunts to target hares during the open season (September - February) but if they want to extend their hare persecution period, a licence must be sought from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Beagling involves a pack of hounds chasing a hare in the open countryside. Hares are faster than the hounds, but the hounds are bred for stamina and can usually outrun their quarry. When they catch up with the unfortunate hare, they move in and kill as a pack. It can take minutes for hounds to tear a live hare apart.

ACTION ALERT

Please contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to him to refuse a licence to beagling clubs.

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.

Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports call on you to firmly refuse a licence to beagling clubs to carry out their cruel blood sport in March. I hope that not only will they be refused this licence but that your Department will introduce a total ban on beagling and give this precious species the protection it deserves.

Thank you, Minister.

Yours sincerely,

Name/Location

10. Coming soon to cinemas: The Fox and the Child

Described as a cross between a fable and a nature documentary, The Fox and the Child is the latest offering from Oscar-winning director Luc Jacquet ("March of the Penguins"). This highly anticipated family drama follows the friendship between a 10 year old girl and a wild red fox and the obstacles they have to overcome along the way. The kind-hearted youngster, played by French actress Bertille NoŽl-Bruneau, becomes the fox's protective guardian as he faces continuous danger from hunters and other animals.

Says director, Luc Jacquet: "This film is a fable that reflects the relationship man has with animals and nature. It is our hope to reveal the wonder of nature that surrounds us every day."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is very much looking forward to seeing The Fox and The Child. It will no doubt help to win many more friends for one of Ireland's most persecuted creatures.

Distributed by Pathe International, the film is expected to reach Irish cinemas this Spring.

To view the trailer, visit www.pathe.co.uk (Click on "Coming Soon" and choose The Fox and The Child)

Download some beautiful desktop wallpaper images at:
www.entertainmentwallpaper.com/movie/fox_the_child_the/index.html

11. Galway SPCA criticises local TD for blood sports support

The Galway SPCA has criticised local TD, Ulick Burke over his support of blood sports.

Reporting on a pro-hunt meeting attended by Deputy Burke, the Irish Farmers Journal stated: "FF back bencher Noel Treacy made good his support for fieldsports, as did East Galway FG TD Ulick Burke."

"The majority of the people he represents are opposed to hunting and we ask that they lodge a complaint to him," the GSPCA said in a statement.

Please contact Deputy Burke at:

Ulick Burke, TD
Constituency Office
Barrack Street,
Loughrea, Co. Galway.
Email: Ulick.Burke@finegael.ie
Tel: 091 847437. Fax: 091 847438

12. New Petition: Ban Blood Sports in Ireland in 2008

Now available for download is the new ICABS petition calling on the government to ban blood sports in 2008. Please download today and collect signatures among your family and friends.


Ban Blood Sports in Ireland in 2008 (English text)


Cuirtear cosc le spoirt fola in Eirinn i 2008 (Irish text)

If it's more convenient for you, please sign and encourage others to sign our ongoing online petition at
www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/784506550

More anti-blood sports petitions can be found by clicking on Petitions at www.banbloodsports.com

13. New Campaign Poster: "No Hunters, No Hounds"

ICABS is urging landowners to show compassion for our wildlife heritage by closing property to those involved in blood sports. If you are a farmer or countryside landowner, please download our new "No Hunters, No Hounds" poster. Laminate and display copies along your property boundaries. Thank you.

No Hunters, No Hounds - Download Now
http://www.banbloodsports.com/pdfs/No_Hunters_No_Hounds.pdf
(A4 pdf, 67Kb)

More "No Hunting" Signs

To see our full selection of "No Hunting" signs, please visit our Farmers Page and scroll down to the Signs link.

14. Irish MEP is "odd man out" in support for cruel seal hunt

Irish MEP, Sean O Neachtain, has been described as "very much the odd man out" for backing Canada's barbaric seal hunters. The Fianna Fail MEP sparked outrage this month after he declared: "I will be supporting the seal hunters". Mr O Neachtain's bizarre stance has been condemned by animal welfare groups across Ireland.

In a letter to the politician today, ICABS criticised his lack of compassion and described his statement as an embarrassment to the people of Ireland.

Canada's Telegram newspaper has branded Mr O Neachtain as "very much the odd man out in the European Parliament - perhaps the lone EU parliamentarian leading the fight against a ban on imported Canadian seal products".

Highlighting a video of Mr O Neachtain coming out in favour of the merciless hunters, the paper stated: "Sean O Neachtain, who represents a rural area in western Ireland, is defending Canada's seal hunt, despite the fact that the majority of his 784 parliamentary colleagues are calling for the hunt to be banned."

ACTION ALERT 1

Please contact Sean O Neachtain MEP and express your disapproval of his support for Canada's barbaric hunters who club, shoot and hook seals to death in what has been described as the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world.

Sean O Neachtain MEP
42 Prospect Hill,
Galway, Ireland

Email: info@oneachtain.com
Email: seanoneachtain@eircom.net
Tel: 091 560 020. Fax: 091 560 023

OR

Sean O Neachtain MEP
Rue Wiertz. Brussels 1047

Email: soneachtain@europarl.eu.int
Tel: 00 322 284 5611. Fax: 00 322 284 9611

ACTION ALERT 2

Please write to the rest of Ireland's MEPs and ask them to support an EU ban on the importation of Canadian seal products

You can find a list of Irish MEPs by clicking on this link: www.europarl.ie/view/en/Your_MEPs.html

Seal Slaughter: More information and Petition

To learn more about the brutality of Canada's seal slaughter, visit the "Stop The Seal Hunt" website at www.stopthesealhunt.com

Click on the link to sign a Humane Society of the United States petition

Video: Cruel Seal hunting exposed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAw6TZF5a1o

15. Coursing cruelty captured by media

The cruelty of coursing has once again been captured by the Irish media. Photos of hares running for their lives in front of greyhounds were published in several papers, giving readers a reminder of the suffering endured by this timid and fragile species.

To view some of the latest photos, please click on Latest News at www.banbloodsports.com and scroll down to our 08 February 2008 entry.

ACTION ALERT

Please help hares by responding to our "Ban Coursing Action Alerts" below and forwarding them to all your friends.

16. Documentary about hunter turned campaigner

A new documentary from Griffith College profiles Tom Hardiman, a former foxhunter who turned his back on the cruelty and went on to become one of Ireland's most dedicated anti-hunt campaigners. This short film tells of how Tom protests outside the Dail every week to urge politicians to ban the blood sport.

Directed by Ana Maqueda-Lopez, "Calling the Hounds" is a motivating presentation about a man haunted by what he witnessed at hunts but determined to see the cruelty outlawed.

Watch "Calling the Hounds"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzqWzwlH0sE
(Duration: 03:44 minutes)

Interviewed during the film, Tom recalls the moment he knew he had to give up hunting.

"I decided to stop hunting in 1999," he says. "I was at a hunt down in Knockbrack, the far side of Athenry - they were hunting in a Coillte forestry. They hunted a fox to ground. I was watching. They dug the clay away from over the fox and let the hounds in on top of him. They pulled him up and tore him to pieces. I was really disgusted when i saw it."

But how did a man of compassion end up involved in hunting?

Tom explains it as follows: "We used to live across from where the hunt is situated. I had a liking for horses and it goes on from there. You get in to the hunt and you don't really see the cruel side of it. You are all excited when you're going through the countryside and you're jumping walls and you think this is great. You're not thinking of the cruelty that's taking place."

Now with over 117 Dail protests completed, Tom is as committed as ever to seeing a ban on the barbarity.

"I'm going to keep protesting until they change the law," he states in the documentary. "I'm not going to give up. No way."

17. Bovine TB rises despite badger massacre

Bovine TB has increased by 13 per cent in just one year in the Republic of Ireland, despite the most sustained programme of badger extermination ever undertaken in Western Europe, the Badger Trust has revealed.

The UK-based group say they have learned that Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan has told the Irish Farmers Association that the increase is "significant" and "unexplained".

Badger Trust spokesperson, Trevor Lawson, commented: "This increase in TB in Ireland cannot be blamed on badgers. The Irish Government is setting 6,000 snares for badgers every night, but barely catching 6,000 badgers a year because they are now so scarce. By strangling badgers, the Irish Government was supposed to be eradicating bovine TB, yet the disease has been static for years and is now on the rise. Badgers are a scapegoat for reckless farming practices which encourage the spread of TB between herds."

The group has pointed out that in Northern Ireland (where no badgers are culled) herd incidence of TB fell from 6.23% in 2006 to 5.23% in 2007, the fifth consecutive annual decrease. The Department for Agriculture there focuses on tracking cattle movements and breaches of TB testing procedures.

"Mary Coughlan will have a hard time explaining the rise in bovine TB now that she has succeeded in virtually exterminating badgers across their most important habitats in the Republic of Ireland," Mr Lawson commented. "The comparison between polices in Northern Ireland and the Republic underlines that the bovine TB problem is a cattle problem. Killing badgers is a grotesque and senseless exercise."

URGENT ACTION ALERTS

Please appeal to Minister Mary Coughlan to show compassion and suspend the cruel badger snaring operation. Remind her that the badger is a protected species in Ireland and that the Protection of Animals Act, for which she is responsible, makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal. Tell her that a recent report stated that "badger culling apparently has the capacity to increase badger-to-badger transmission of infection, potentially undermining anticipated reductions in badger-to-cattle transmission."

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510. Fax: 01-661 1013.
Email: mary.coughlan@oireachtas.ie

Please write to the Minister for the Environment and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Remind them that the Wildlife Act, for which they are responsible, lists the badger as a protected species. Demand that they stop licensing the snaring and killing of thousands of badgers as part of a cruel and discredited TB eradication scheme.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Jamie Mulleady
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Email: jamie_mulleady@environ.ie

18. Protest coverage on RTE News

Television coverage of the Clonmel protest against live hare coursing can be viewed from the RTE website. Click on the following link to view the Six One news report - www.rte.ie/news/2008/0206/coursing.html

ACTION ALERT

Please respond to our "Ban Coursing Action Alerts" below and forward them to all your friends.

19. Fantastic Fox Photos

Check out the ICABS website to see a set of fantastic fox photos taken recently by ICABS supporter, Clodagh Blake. (Click on Latest News and scroll down to our 27 February entry)

According to Clodagh, the adorable fox is a regular visitor to the garden in County Tipperary where he is welcomed with a generous supply of food. Thanks to Clodagh for sharing the photos. If you have similar wildlife photos, please send them to us at info@banbloodsports.com.

ACTION ALERT

Please help foxes by responding to our Ban Foxhunting Action Alerts below and forwarding them to all your friends.

20. Tesco criticised for greyhound racing promo

Greyhound Action Ireland has called on Tesco to stop promoting greyhound racing in its current Clubcard Deals literature.

The supermarket chain is inviting customers to exchange their clubcard vouchers for entry discounts into greyhound stadiums.

Pointing to the "thousands of dogs who are drugged, injured, mutilated and killed by the industry worldwide, especially Ireland and the UK", Greyhound Action has condemned the promotion.

According to the ISPCA, "approximately 14,000 greyhounds are "disposed of" in Ireland each year.

"They are destroyed because they haven't made the grade as racing dogs or when they are past their best for racing (usually by the age of four)," they outline on their website. "Other unwanted dogs are sold to Spain, where they are forced to race in appalling conditions, with no veterinary care and no prospect of an end to their suffering until they are too badly injured to continue."

If you would like to register a complaint with Tesco, the contact details are:

Tony Keohane
Chief Executive
Tesco Ireland Limited
Gresham House, Marine Road,
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin

Email: tony.keohane@tesco.ie or
Email: customer.services@tesco.ie
Telephone 1850 744 844 or 00 44 800 0059 1688

21. Birdwatchers flocking to online cinema

An exciting website dedicated to gathering video of every bird species on the planet has attracted over a million visitors since its launch last July. Bird Cinema is a free resource for anyone with an interest in our feathered friends and its amateur and professional presentations will keep you enthralled for hours. To watch some birds in action, or to upload your own bird footage, visit Bird Cinema at www.birdcinema.com

Some of our favourite offerings on Bird Cinema include:

The clever crow that uses cars as a nutcracker
http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php?viewkey=d9846c5e994be2a91baf

The shoplifting Scottish seagull
http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php?viewkey=b205199de8729a6637b4

The magpie trying to eat an awkward pine cone
http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php?viewkey=0780a2142a6eb7bc4f3c

A daring bluejay playing with a cat's tail
http://birdcinema.com/view_video.php?viewkey=bdf6eab6050c2a564435

22. Campaign Quotes

"A High Court judge granted an injunction to the [Ward Union] removing the conditions on its licence pending a full hearing of a separate judicial review hearing. The High Court decision allowed 42 riders to head out yesterday, Ward Union hunt secretary Declan Brooks confirmed, while a further 100 or so people watched." (Irish Independent, 23rd February 2008)

"I hate hunting. I had a rescue fox cub as a kid; the local hunt had killed its mother. But we got the cub from them, his name was Sparky. He only lived a short while as the hunters had injured him so much." (comment left on the ICABS Bebo page at www.bebo.com/banbloodsports - 10th February 2008)

"A new documentary from Griffith College will profile a former foxhunter from Galway who has turned his back on fox-hunting, going on to become one of Ireland's most dedicated anti-hunt campaigners. 'I decided to stop hunting in 1999. I was at a hunt down in Knockbrack, the far side of Athenry - they were hunting in a Coillte forestry. They hunted a fox to ground. I was watching. They dug the clay away from over the fox and let the hounds in on top of him. They pulled him up and tore him to pieces. I was really disgusted when I saw it,' said Tom. " (Galway man the focus of anti-hunt documentary, Galway Independent - 13 February 2008)

"I would personally be very anti-bloodsports and behind those lobby groups. I don't really see the need for it. [Coursing] is an example of animal cruelty and it does need to be stopped...I have met with John Gormley and we talked about what he intended to do. He has issued licenses but with restrictions and he has also refused to grant licenses in situation where he felt that people weren't complying with guidelines. Mostly, I think he is building up information for next year. The Green Party would be anti-bloodsports and I think he is doing all he can at the moment. It is very likely that there will be a much bigger clampdown next year and that would be what I hope will happen." (Green Party councillor Niall O'Brolchain, Galway independent, - 12 September 2007)

"This government is allocating 76 euro million to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund while giving less than that, 64 million euro, to the Drugs Initiatives and Young People's Facilities Fund. This is unacceptable. If the government were to re-allocate tax payers money out of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund then resources for the Drugs Initiatives and Young People's Facilities Fund under Budget 2008 could be more than doubled." (Donegal Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty in a Donegal News report highlighting how the county's drugs squad has been left with just one part-time officer - February 1st, 2008)

"Hounds picked up another hare and hunted hard as she ran close to the ditches across from Ringlestown House. They crossed the land and pushed her on through the wood bordering the Skane River...it was hard for hounds to stay on the hunted hare as immediately after they entered the wood at least four resident hares ran in different directions." (from a report on the Tara Harriers, the Irish Field - January 5th, 2008)

"We were digging out the fox with the farmer's permission and hounds that were too close to the foxhole broke loose and got hold of the animal." (Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association spokesperson, Brian Munn, recounts how a fox was killed by hounds after being dug out of the ground during a Westmeath Foxhounds hunt last November - Westmeath Examiner, 23rd February 2008. Note: Digging out is one of several appalling acts of animal cruelty that take place during foxhunts.)

"The Westmeath Hunt has come under fire for a second time this year with allegations afoot that a fox 'was forced to swim twice across the Royal Canal in a desperate bid to save its skin' in a hunt at the start of February. The allegations appeared in a letter to the Westmeath Examiner in which Philip Kiernan from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports also appealed for Westmeath farmers to put up No Hunting signs on their land and place newspaper notices to that effect." (Westmeath Examiner - 23rd February 2008)

"Although hare coursing is an embarrassment to the two thirds of our population who want it outlawed, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports welcomes the San Francisco Chronicle's publicisation of this shameful activity. The photograph of the hare being knocked off its feet by a greyhound [in Clonmel] will leave readers in no doubt about the suffering endured by these most fragile of creatures. The Chronicle's suggestion that 'muzzles take the carnage out of coursing' is the message coursers are desperate to convey but it's a far cry from the truth." (Philip Kiernan, Irish Council Against Blood Sports, San Francisco Chronicle website comment - February 7th, 2008)

23. Letters to the Editors

Hunters not the farmer's friends
by Nuala Donlon, Lanesborough, Co Longford
Irish Times, February 5, 2008

Madam - As someone born, reared and still resident in rural Ireland, I am getting increasingly tired of the pro-foxhunting lobby's attempts to paint themselves as the guardians of the rural way of life and the farmer's best friend (Philip Donnelly, "Fair play for fox-hunting", February 1st).

I come from a part of rural Ireland where we have always, thankfully, been spared the presence of a foxhunt and I'm glad to report that the area has not been over-run by foxes. Nor is predation of farm animals by foxes a problem of any significance; by far the majority of farm animal mortality relates to issues of sub-standard husbandry, as is the case throughout Ireland, and this fact is well-documented by the Department of Agriculture.

Painting those opposed to foxhunting and other blood sports as a small band of sinister extremists is the latest ploy by an increasingly desperate hunting lobby to shift attention away from the growing opposition among farmers to fox-hunting. And who could blame farmers for not wanting dozens of horses and dogs traipsing, uninvited, across their land, breaking down fences, worrying their animals, spreading disease and in some cases killing their family pets?

Indeed, it was from just such farmers that the hunting lobby ran scared recently when they refused to go on the Late Late Show and discuss these issues with representatives of the group Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass.

I'm getting tired, too, of hearing that since lots of other animals are treated badly in the name of sport, entertainment and fashion, fox-hunting should be allowed to continue unchallenged. How utterly threadbare philosophically is the argument put forward by Mr Donnelly and his fellow hunting enthusiasts that we shouldn't ban blood sports because we might then have to examine the many other cruelties we visit on animals?

If this logic had informed the debate on the criminalisation of badger-baiting, dog-fighting and cock-fighting, these equally vile blood sports would still be perfectly legal. It doesn't require a great deal of intelligence to figure out that the reason the latter are already illegal, while fox-hunting isn't, has everything to do with the socio-economic background and political influence of those involved and nothing to do with logic and compassion.

The recent licensing decision by Minister John Gormley in relation to the Ward Union Stag Hunt heralds a major shift on the issue of blood sports on the part of the political establishment in this State. With the vast majority of Irish people consistently expressing their opposition to blood sports, it is long overdue. - Yours, etc,

Greens must pursue ban on hare-coursing
by John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the abolition of cruel sports, Co. Kilkenny
Western People - February 06, 2008

SIR - This week's National Coursing Event is a testament to the survival, not just of deliberate state sponsored cruelty to animals in Ireland, but to the continued prevalence of the cute hoor "nod and wink" political culture.

Every professional opinion poll conducted since 1978 has pointed to big majorities in favour of a ban on hare coursing. Britain and most of Europe have criminalised it.

Yet we still play host to one of the world's most barbaric blood sports .... All because politicians are afraid of upsetting handfuls of voters in key Dail constituencies. The PR system encourages, however unwittingly, this kind of cowardly and unprincipled calculation.

So hare coursing continues, and the majority view has counted for nothing. Our legal system enshrines a practise that involves snatching hares from their natural homes in the countryside, herding these animals (that lack the herd instinct) into man-made compounds, and then setting them up as live bait for dogs to chase and terrorise.

The claim that muzzling ended the cruelty has been given the lie by state-employed and appointed wildlife rangers whose reports, obtained by us under FOI, reveal a catalogue of abuse and suffering, inflicted at all coursing events held since the introduction of muzzling.

The level of abuse varies from one baiting session to another, but the bottom line is that you cannot have a fair and humane sport where an animal is being baited for fun and thrills in a confined area.

Apologists for hare coursing say: "It's traditional". It certainly is, in one sense: It was one of the spectacles performed in the ancient Coliseum for the edification of blood-lusting Romans and their mad emperor, Nero.

Unfortunately, Nero wasn't the first or the last politician to equate sickening cruelty to animals with sport.

Quite a few Fianna Fail deputies and a lesser number of Fine Gael ones seem to enjoy the pitiful sight of a little hare twisting, turning, and dodging on a coursing track in a desperate bid to avoid being mauled or injured by the larger, faster and stronger greyhounds.

And many of the politicians who don't enjoy or condone it haven't got the guts to oppose it.

Hopefully, the Greens, who are now in government and committed as a matter of party policy to banning blood sports, will take note of this week's festival of barbarism, honour their democratic mandate, and move quickly to seek the abolition of hare coursing.

Badgers controversy
by Bernadette Barrett (BadgerWatch Ireland)
Limerick Leader, January 2008

Sir, Michael McElligot's letter published in Leader of January 12 relating to cattle TB in this country and the alleged role of the badger merits a response. His suggestion that a small number of the animals be humanely culled and tested at Government laboratories suggests that he is out of touch with the reality of the situation.

We have been slaughtering badgers for 'scientific research' for almost two decades. Since the East Offaly study, 55,800 badgers have made the journey to the six regional labs for autopsy. First, they required capturing in the most inhumane way, by means of the barbaric multi-strand wire snare which is our Government's chosen method. They are snared overnight, left struggling for freedom and shot sometime the following day. To add to this, the number of badgers killed illegally on Irish farms can only be guessed at.

In 2004, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) issued the Agric Department (DAF) with a licence to cull up to 30% of our indigenous badger population (60,000) over a four year period. Our present Minister, Mary Coughlan has recently stated that the killing will be extended beyond this agreement until the long awaited vaccine comes on board.

The Minister also revealed that no less than 6,000 badger snares are set nightly across Irish farmland. In spite of this, a mere 5,580 were captured in 2006 (last figures available). In theory it would have been possible to capture this number in one night alone. The sheer irony is that we no longer have enough badgers to fill the snares!

If killing badgers was the solution, Ireland should be TB-free long ago. According to available figures, we removed 25, 291 reactors in 2007, an increase on the 22,071 taken out in 2006. The figure of 3% infection rate in our national herd of 6.5 million is still with us - forty two years after Charles J. Haughey declared the country TB-Free.

Bovine TB is a cattle disease. The skin test for TB in cattle is not 100% accurate and it is not diagnostic. Healthy animals sometimes fail it but more alarming still is that occasionally an infected animal can slip through. It only takes one missed animal to start the ball rolling again. These animals are like time bombs in a herd. It is very likely that badgers originally picked up the disease from cattle through their dietary habits of foraging under infected cow pats. How and if they transmit it back to cattle is pure conjecture. The route of transmission has never been positively identified.

24. Coursing's Catalogue of Cruelty

HARE COURSING CRUELTY (2006/07 SEASON)
Source: National Parks & Wildlife Service (Obtained under Freedom of Information)

Tradaree, Co. Clare (13/14 January 2007)
Ranger stated that five hares were mauled on day 1, with one dying instantly. The following morning, it was discovered that four hares had died overnight and two were injured. One was put down and the other released after veterinary attention. During the second day's coursing, three hares were mauled, with one dying instantly and two more put down later after being found with serious injuries, while another hare was found dead after the coursing meeting, which brings the hare death toll at this meeting to 10.

Westmeath United (14/15 October 2006)
Ranger reported "three hares that were badly mauled were placed in a box by the field steward." When the coursing was over, she "watched as the steward carried the box towards the escape." She was "concerned that these hares were about to be let back to the enclosure without examination by a vet. Due to the severity of the mauling," she said, it was "likely that these hares would have had internal injuries," in her opinion. On day 2 of the meeting the conservation ranger noted that four hares were hit, two of which were caught by dogs through their muzzles. She stated that one hare, which was tossed and badly mauled, having been caught through the muzzles by the dogs, "squealed with distress and/or pain and was taken up by the steward and carried to the escape and released back into the enclosure without examination by a vet on the day."

Tubbercurry & District (28/29/30 October, 2006)
There were 7 hares hit and mauled on day 1, two of which were killed; on day 2, 5 hares were hit and mauled, while 9 hares were hit on day 3, with 1 hare having to be put down because of its injuries.

Roscommon (26/27 December 2006)
Ranger stated that 13 hares were struck, with 1 put down because of injuries. Ranger also stated that when he was supervising release of hares following coursing meeting in Roscommon, "one hare was unable to escape due to serious injuries. The hare had a badly broken hind leg and seemed to be in great distress." The ranger destroyed the hare humanely.

East Donegal (30/31 December 2006)
There were 5 hares struck by dogs, 3 of which died due to their injuries.

South Clare (26/27 December, 2006)
Six hares were hit over the two days of coursing, with 1 killed outright, and 3 dying afterwards from their injuries, according to NPWS report.

Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry (14/15 October, 2006)
There were 5 hares hit over the two days, with 2 being put down and 2 dying of "natural causes", according to the conservation ranger.

Castleisland (29/30 October, 2006)
There were 4 hares struck by greyhounds, 1 killed and 1 put down as a result of its injuries, while 1 died of "natural causes".

Lixnaw, Co. Kerry (4/5 November, 2006)
The conservation ranger did not attend the first day of coursing. He noted 3 hares struck by greyhounds on second day of coursing, with 2 having to be put down because of injuries.

Listowel, Co. Kerry (11/12 November, 2006)
The conservation ranger stated that 2 hares were struck and one died of "natural causes".

Ballyduff, Co. Kerry (18/19 November, 2006)
4 hares were hit over the two days, with one having to be put down due to injuries. The ranger commented on the "very bad weather and heavy rain".

Kilflynn, Co. Kerry (2/3 December, 2006)
There were 3 hares hit by greyhounds, with one dying of "natural causes". Ranger stated that due to the very heavy rain over the previous week, parts of the field were "heavy going".

Castletown-Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath (16 December, 2006)
Ranger stated that 4 hares were struck by greyhounds, with three being injured.

Dundalk & Dowdallshill (26/27 December, 2006)
NPWS conservation ranger attended event for one day only and reported 4 hares killed, and a further 3 injured hares were sent to a vet for assessment.

Trim, Co. Meath (4/5 November, 2006)
According to conservation ranger's report, 10 hares were hit by dogs over the two days of coursing, 5 injured, one of which died due to injuries. 4 hares were unaccounted for.

Killimer-Kilrush, Co. Clare (25/26 November, 2006)
Nine hares were hit by dogs over two days of coursing, with one hare being killed and one hare dying "after running up the field uncoursed", according to NPWS report.

Milltown-Malbay, Co. Clare (28/29 October, 2006)
Ten hares were hit over the two days of coursing.

Rathkeale (25/26 November, 2006)
2 hares killed, according to ranger's report.

Dungarvan (16/17 Nov. 2006)
The ranger noted two hares carrying injuries: "one hare was carrying a hind leg and one had a damaged hind toe."

Liscannor, Co. Clare (30 October, 1 November 2006).
Five hares were hit and 1 put down because of its injuries, and also another put down, "which appeared dull", according to Ranger.

Cappoquin (11/12 Nov. 2006)
Three hares were struck by dogs.

Balbriggan (25/26 November 2006)
Three hares died from injuries received following being struck by muzzled dogs.

Abbeyfeale (28/29 December 2006)
Five hares were struck, according to Ranger's report.

Clonmel (5/6/7 February 2007)
4 hares were struck, according to Ranger's report.

25. Police will punish acts of cruelty: Brazilian official

An official from the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina has told ICABS that the military police will "punish any acts of aggression against defenceless animals". The promise was in response to an email in which we joined calls on the local authorities to enforce a law which bans the abuse of oxen.

A local festival known as the "Farra do Boi" takes place every year and is thought to be responsible for some of the country's worst instances of animal abuse. According to the International Organisation for Animal Protection, the oxen victims are starved for several days before the beginning of the festival.

"To increase the frenzy, food and water are placed within their sight but out of their reach," they outline on their website. "The Farra begins when the first ox is driven from his pen and chased through the streets by crowds of villagers with sticks, knives, whips, stones, bamboo lances, and ropes. The attackers - men, women, and children - pursue the ox as he desperately attempts to escape. Sometimes the helpless animals are doused with gasoline and set on fire. Pepper is thrown into their eyes, which are often gouged out. Participants break the animals' horns and legs and cut off their tails."

The festivals were banned by Brazil's Supreme Court in 1997 but continue in some areas.

ICABS welcomes the response from Catarina state that these appalling acts will not be tolerated.

To show your support for a final end to this cruelty festival, email "Please stop the farra do boi" to sdrgdefpolis@soo.sdr.sc.gov.br

26. Action Alerts: Ban Foxhunting

ACTION ALERT 1

Please make a special appeal to Trevor Sargent TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture where new animal welfare legislation is currently being drafted. ICABS welcomed a statement from Minister Sargent last year in which he assured us that the new legislation will "ensure that the welfare of animals is properly protected". Please appeal to him to prioritise fox protection in the new act.

Trevor Sargent TD
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Email: tsargent@greenparty.ie
Tel: 01-6183465 (Dail). Fax: 01-8900361.

Dear Minister Sargent,

As one of the two thirds majority of Irish people who want foxhunting banned, I appeal to you to please ensure that foxes are afforded full protection from hunting groups in the new animal welfare legislation being drafted. Please do everything in your power to finally bring foxhunting to an end and protect foxes from this horrendous abuse.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

ACTION ALERT 2

Urge the Minister for Agriculture to protect foxes and all wild creatures from unnecessary cruelty.

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Email: mary.coughlan@oireachtas.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510. Fax: 01-661 1013.

Dear Minister Coughlan,

I appeal to your sense of compassion to urgently intervene to save foxes from the cruelty of foxhunting. Foxhunting is an abhorrent assault on our wildlife heritage and a complete ban is long overdue. Please ensure that Ireland's new animal welfare legislation includes protection for foxes.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

ACTION ALERT 3

Please urgently appeal to your local politicians

Please join us in telling all of Ireland's TDs that it is now time to replace foxhunting with the humane alternative - drag hunting. Drag hunting sees the hounds chasing an artificial lure instead of a live animal. This form of "hunting" is already practised successfully by a few groups in Ireland. In a modern and civilised country like Ireland, there should be no place for foxhunting, particularly when a transition to drag hunting would be simple.

Please stand up for the foxes so cruelly abused by hunting groups - write to all of your local politicians and ask them to act to secure a ban on foxhunting. If possible, get your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. We need as much help with this campaign as possible.

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Write to your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website at http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist.

ACTION ALERT 4

Contact Ireland's forestry board, Coillte, and demand an end to foxhunting on its property.

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Mr. David Gunning
Chief Executive Officer
Coillte, The Irish Forestry Board
Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow

Email: pr@coillte.ie
Tel: 01-201 1111. Fax: 01-201 1199.

Dear Mr Gunning,

As an Irish citizen, and thereby a shareholder in Coillte, I am writing to demand an end to foxhunting on Coillte property.

I understand that Coillte currently issues permits to a number of foxhunts to carry out blood sport activities in forests. Considering the appalling cruelty of foxhunting and the fact that a majority of Irish people want it outlawed, the time has come for Coillte to do the decent thing and make all of its property off limits to foxhunting groups.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

27. Action Alerts: Ban Coursing

ACTION ALERT 1

Please contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to him to give a commitment that this will be the last ever hare coursing season in Ireland.

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.

Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am writing to implore you to firmly reject future licence applications from the Irish Coursing Club. Hare coursing is one of Ireland's most appalling forms of animal abuse with thousands of hares being ripped from their natural habitat and forced to run for their lives before muzzled dogs. When hit, the injuries are often so severe that the terrified hares have to be destroyed - but only after suffering from stress, internal injuries such as broken bones.

In its pre-election manifesto, the Green Party pledged to ban blood sports when in government. I am among the confident majority who trust that you will take this historic opportunity, Minister, to spare the hares the suffering caused by coursing and refuse further licences to these heartless destroyers of our wildlife heritage.

Thank you and best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Name/Location

ACTION ALERT 2

Please contact your local TD and Senator and ask them to make an appeal to Minister Gormley on your behalf.

Contact your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337889 (1890 DEPUTY)

Contact your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623 (1890 SEANAD)

For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website at http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist.

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

Footage of blood sport cruelty and the humane alternatives can be viewed on the ICABS Channel on Youtube - www.youtube.com/icabs or by visiting our Videos Page

Become a supporter of ICABS

Please become a supporter of ICABS. Annual rates are just 15 Euro (Individual), 20 Euro (Family) and 8 Euro (Unwaged).

Download a subscription form at www.banbloodsports.com/subsform.htm and send a cheque (made payable to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports) to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland.

You can also become a supporter or make a donation by using your paypal account or credit card. Please visit www.banbloodsports.com and click on the "Donate" button. Thank you. Your support will allow us to continue campaigning against blood sport cruelty in Ireland.

Animal Voice - Tell a friend!

Help us to highlight our campaigns to even more people. If you have friends who would like to receive "Animal Voice", please ask them to send an email to info@banbloodsports.com with "Animal Voice - Subscribe" in the subject line.


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