Animal Voice - February 2009
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
In This Issue:
01. Ban digging out and terrierwork: Urgent appeal to Agriculture
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith, to outlaw the horrendous practices of digging out and terrierwork. We have written to all TDs and Senators, calling for their support for legislation against this barbarism.
Brought to their attention is a new slideshow video of photos from Ireland which show foxes and dogs with horrendous injuries.
Although similar to illegal badger baiting, fox baiting remains legal in this country. It is carried out by what can only be described as thugs and sadists who dig animals out with spades and take pleasure in seeing their dogs inflicting the most savage injuries on them.
Digging out and terrierwork is also an integral part of foxhunting in Ireland. The foxhunters' so-called code of conduct states that "only one terrier at a time may be used to locate the fox except in rocks, stacks of bales or stick piles, etc...Digging shall only be conducted by a small number of experienced people and assistants appointed by the Master or his nominee." It also highlights their desire to keep this appalling act away from the public eye, stressing that "reasonable efforts shall be made to ensure that digging out will not become a public spectacle."
Badger baiting, dog fighting and cock fighting are already illegal in Ireland. The next step must be for the heinous practice of fox digging and baiting to be outlawed.
URGENT ACTION ALERT - SAMPLE LETTER
Minister Brendan Smith
Dear Minister Smith,
I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' call on you to urgently ban digging out and terrier work. These horrendous activities are carried out by sadistic individuals and also by foxhunting groups. There is absolutely no excuse for this shameful animal abuse. I urge you to ensure that the new Animal Health & Welfare Bill makes it an offence to dig out any animal and an offence also to send terriers or other dogs below ground to catch or attack animals under any circumstances.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
The Office of Public Works is shooting dead 80 deer in Dublin's Phoenix Park in response to what they say is an overpopulation problem. Please send the following message to Minister Martin Mansergh (who has responsibility for the OPW) with a copy to the OPW.
Martin Mansergh, TD
Dear Dr Manseragh,
I understand from a report in the Sunday Tribune that 80 deer are being blasted to death by the OPW.
I urge you, as Minister with special responsibility for the OPW, to ask them to use non-violent forms of species control instead, e.g. wildlife immunocontraception (proven effective in other countries) and relocation of some animals to national parks.
The OPW say that deer must be killed because vehicles sometimes collide with the animals ("fewer than ten collisions" per year) but a more sensible approach to dealing with this would be increased fencing and signage along park roads, strict enforcement of speed limits, public awareness campaigns to remind motorists that they're travelling through a habitat and the promotion of inexpensive wildlife warning devices which attach to the front bumper of vehicles.
Minister, the Phoenix Park deer herd give so much pleasure to children and adult visitors and are a treasured emblem of our capital. They deserve to be spared the violence of the OPW's kill-kill approach and I hope you can intervene to stop the slaughter.
Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Minister John Gormley has been urged to withdraw the licence he issued to the Ward Union deer hunt. The call comes following photographic evidence from this season which shows what are believed to be breaches of the hunt's licence conditions. (You can view the images at www.banbloodpsorts.com.
The images, captured in Meath by ICABS observers, show trucks and cars being held up by hunters and hounds on roads. One image even shows a National Parks and Wildlife Service representative's van (present to monitor the hunt on behalf of Minister Gormley's office) on a clogged-up road being forced to reverse to allow oncoming traffic to pass.
URGENT ACTION ALERT - SAMPLE LETTER
Minister John Gormley, Dept of the Environment
Dear Minister Gormley:
I understand that condition 30 of the licence you granted to the Ward Union states that 'the hunt shall conduct its activities so as not to interfere with or inconvenience the general public, this includes the parking of vehicles, horseboxes and riding on the roads'. I believe that the scenes of road chaos captured by ICABS this season are very strong grounds for you to withdraw the licence and to refuse future licences.
I, of course, also urge you to stop licensing this hunt due to the animal suffering caused. Facilitating this blood sport is contrary to the Green Party's animal welfare policies and its pre-election promise to 'introduce legislation to end blood sports'.
Please honour this promise for the animals and for the motorists in Meath and North County Dublin who are being inconvenienced and exposed to potential danger.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
[*** Insert Your Name and Location Here ***]
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is appealing to MBNA/VISA to stop contributing to an Irish shooting organisation. NARGC (whose members kill tens of thousands of creatures every year) receives money from the company every time someone uses a specially produced credit card.
In a letter to ICABS, it was confirmed that "MBNA makes a contribution to the NARGC" every time one of their VISA cardholders uses the card for a purchase. The spokesperson tried to defend the arrangement by saying that the money goes into the group's "Irish Habitat Trust" conservation fund. MBNA has since been informed that when shooters refer to "conserving" creatures, they are talking about conserving them to later kill them.
ACTION ALERT - SAMPLE LETTER
Gail Powell, Vice President
Dear Ms Powell,
I am writing to appeal to MBNA Europe to stop making a financial contribution to Irish shooting organisation, NARGC, every time one of their card holders makes a purchase.
I understand that MBNA has tried to defend this arrangement by pointing out that the money goes towards the group's Irish Habitat Trust "conservation" fund. The creatures conserved by shooters are the creatures that they hunt and you may be interested in the following statement on the NARGC website - "shooting people have a vested interest in investing in conservation and ensuring that the game species which they hunt are cared for and that their populations are not threatened."
May I also draw your attention to the list of prizes awarded at the Irish Habitat Trust's national draw in April 2008. These prizes included three shotguns, a gunshop voucher, a hunting knife, a stuffed pheasant, animal traps and a subscription to a shooting magazine.
Irish shooters are responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of Irish animals every year. Among the species gunned down are: fox, hare, mink, deer and many bird species, including geese and ducks. Previously listed as a target species on the NARGC website was cats.
I find it incredible that MBNA is happy to help fund a shooting organisation. I appeal to you to side with the majority who love and appreciate wildlife and immediately stop making these financial contributions.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
[*** Insert you name and location here ***]
The Irish Against Blood Sports has renewed its appeal to the Gardai to establish a special unit to tackle illegal blood sports like cockfighting, badger baiting and dog fighting. In a letter to Garda Commissioner, Fachtna Murphy, we said that such a unit could greatly alleviate animal cruelty.
"There is much animal suffering in modern Ireland - both from legal and illegal activities," we stated. "The formation of a high profile Garda unit to combat the illegal aspect would be an enormous help in reducing cruelty to animals. Such units have proved very popular with members of the public in other jurisdictions as they facilitate priority reporting of animal-related crimes. We would like to see some of the focus of this unit being directed towards illegal blood sports such as cockfighting, badger baiting and dog fighting and also tackling illegal activities such as blooding of greyhounds and the use of unlawful traps and snares."
Please email the following message to the Garda Commissioner:
Dear Commissioner Murphy. I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' call on you to establish a special unit to tackle crimes against animals. There is much cruelty to animals across Ireland and there is an urgent need for a high profile animal unit to be set up to deal with this.
The Mexican Ambassador to Ireland has been urged by ICABS to intervene to stop a cruel tradition in the state of Yucatan. The sickening activity sees bulls eviscerating horses in an arena and a mob of locals kicking and jumping on dying animals. Animal campaigners in Mexico are calling for an international boycott of Yucatan until the gruesome tradition is ended.
A spokesperson for Mexican groups Naturanimales and Pro-Toros Libres stated: "It is outrageous, shameful and incomprehensible that these cruellest spectacles are carried out and that the local authorities allow them."
Please help the horses and bulls by sending the following message to the email addresses below. "As long as the terrible spectacle of 'toro saca tripas' - bulls eviscerating horses - continues in Yucatan, I will not visit your region and will urge friends and relatives to also stay away."
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Adelantos@cnn.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also send the following letter to Mexico's Ambassador to Ireland
Martha Cecilia Jaber Breceda
I am writing to express my horror at the sickening "toro saca tripas" event which takes place in the Yucatan state of Mexico - horses are eviscerated and bulls are attacked and jumped upon by a heartless mob - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmbjI1_5ndA
This utter disregard for animal welfare is a terrible blemish on Mexico's international image. I urge you to please intervene immediately to end this cruelty. Thank you. I look forward to your response.
[* * * Insert you name and location here * * *]
Please vote "Si" ("Yes") on the following Spanish newspaper poll:
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports relies entirely on your generosity to continue our campaigning for an end to blood sport cruelty. Please become a supporter of our work today - click on "Shop" at www.banbloodsports.com for more details or send a cheque to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.
Scotland's Advocates for Animals group is asking members of the public to demand an end to battery cage eggs in Tesco.
"On the shelves of each of its stores you will find eggs on sale that have come from chickens reared in the most abhorrent living conditions," they state on their website. They explain that a typical battery cage is completely barren, about the size of a microwave oven, houses up to five hens for a year, does not allow the hens to fully stand up straight, stretch their wings, run, fly or make a nest. All they can do is eat, drink, pass waste and lay eggs. More info at: www.advocatesforanimals.org
Please email the message "Tesco - Stop Selling Eggs from Hens that Suffer in Cruel Battery Cages" to email@example.com (Tesco CEO, Terry Leahy)
Cruel glue traps are unlawful in Ireland but remain legal in the UK. If you live in the UK, please write to your MEP and urge him/her to make glue traps illegal. If you have friends in the UK, please forward this action alert to them. You can email your MEP from http://www.writetothem.com
If you spot a glue trap for sale in Ireland or are aware of any individual, business or company using them, please contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make it known publicly that your land is off-limits to hunters. Place a preservation notice in your local newspaper now. Here is a sample notice that you may wish to use: "Take notice that all my lands at [Insert address(es) of land] are private and preserved day and night. All forms of hunting and shooting are strictly prohibited. Trespassers will be prosecuted. Signed [Insert name(s) of landowner]"
For more information, click on Farmers at www.banbloodsports.com. You may also wish to contact the Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass organisation which is happy to offer advice to landowners. Chairman, Philip Lynch, can be reached at 056-7725309. Visit the FAFT website at: www.myspace.com/farmersagainstfoxhunting
"Some areas have more than three times the national average of total dogs coming through their pounds. What are the reasons for this? Since there are only minimum records kept, it is difficult to ascertain a reason. One could guess, greyhounds are a possibility. Some pounds have arrangements where owners can take their unwanted greyhounds for destruction." (From the website of ANVIL - www.anvilireland.ie - who highlight that Ireland's dog pounds, operated by SPCAs and local authorities, have destruction rates as high as 97 per cent)
"Failed racehorses and other unwanted animals are being butchered and fed to lions and tigers at Dublin Zoo, the Sunday Tribune has learned. The unwanted horses are sent to an abattoir in Co Kilkenny, where they are slaughtered and sold on to Dublin Zoo, pet food producers and restaurants in other EU countries...One owner admitted: 'A horse is a very expensive animal to keep and if they can't race or jump and can't reproduce, then they are not much use to anybody. It may seem cruel to people, but this is one of the day-to-day realities of the equine industry in Ireland.'" (from Slow racehorses fed to the lions in Dublin zoo, Sunday Tribune, 15 February 2009)
Outlaw cruel sticky traps
On a recent visit to Edinburgh, I was saddened to see a shop unashamedly selling glue traps and featuring them prominently in a window display.
These extremely cruel devices have been internationally condemned as one of the worst rodent traps ever devised. Using a base board covered in the stickiest of glue, they cause the victims to die slow, horrific deaths.
Pointing out that mice and rats are capable of experiencing the same type of pain as other mammals, veterinary surgeons confirm that "there is much suffering by the entrapped animals - it is not a sudden or merciful death". I urge readers to avoid buying glue traps and to push for them to be outlawed.
Reveal the mysterious Joe
Sir - Having read Country Matters by Joe Kennedy for a lifetime, or so it seems, and enjoyed every one, I have no idea of what he looks like. What is his age? Is he tall and thin? Is he small and fat? Is there, in fact, a Joe at all, or is he an amalgam of several different people taking turns?
I do believe, however, that there is one single Joe, as his lovely, mild, often sad and wistful, descriptive prose could only be the product of one person and could not, I feel, be reproduced so faithfully, over such a lengthy period, by a team of writers.
In Country Matters (Sunday Independent, January 25, 2009) he raises the fox/cat relationship question. In my own personal experience, over a 10-12 year period, I have regularly fed foxes and indeed badgers, on our front lawn.
It was quite a common sight anytime from dusk onwards to see two or five or seven foxes of varying stages of growth, feeding contentedly with my six cats watching from less than 20 feet away, with no animosity on either side.
Vixens raised litters annually in ditches 100 yards from our house and would have been in constant contact with my cats with never a cross word or loss or any damage to the often wandering and curious cats.
You might consider a picture of Joe some Sunday. His descriptions always remind me, in tone and phrasing and slightly wistful pathos, of the voice on Radio Eireann, of the gently articulate naturalist J Ashton Freeman, who used to tape bird song and calls on his twice weekly programme.
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