Animal Voice - July 2009
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In This Issue:

01. URGENT APPEAL - Hare Coursing Licence Being Considered
02. Peaceful protest: Let's stop the coursing licence
03. Campaign videos: Ask Minister Gormley to stop licensing cruelty
04. Action alert poster: Minister Gormley - Stop Licensing Coursing
05. Aer Lingus thanked for removing matador image
06. Gerry Ryan criticised over upbeat Pamplona bullrun coverage
07. Bullrun criticised by Irish journalist
08. Help keep illegal animal traps out of Ireland
09. "Ban Bullfighting News" Magazine - Download Now!
10. New ICABS web banners
11. Recommended new Irish websites
12. New book by Professor Andrew Linzey
13. Campaign Quotes
14. Letters to Editors
15. Petitions: Please Sign!

Animal Voice: July 2009

01. URGENT APPEAL - Hare Coursing Licence Being Considered

Dear Supporter,

At present, Minister for the Environment, John Gormley and his National Parks & Wildlife Service are preparing to grant another licence to the Irish Coursing Club to capture hares from the wild for the next hare coursing season. We beg you to pull out all the stops and write, email or phone the Minister (details below), asking him not to grant this licence.

Every coursing season, hares continue to be injured and killed by greyhounds at coursing meetings and last year was no exception, as reports obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

For example, at Enniscorthy - 7 hares were mauled by dogs, with six dying of their injuries; Ballyheighue, Co. Kerry - 6 hares hit and 4 killed; Gorey - 11 hares hit, 7 injured and 5 put down because of injuries; Doon - 11 hares hit, 4 died from injuries, and so the catalogue of cruelty continues, year on year, as we approach 2010 in a so-called civilised country!

Please, please lend your voice to our campaign, and help us stop this appalling cruelty. Contact Minister John Gormley's Dublin office on 01-8882403, email or write to John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Department of the Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.

Thank you so much.

Yours sincerely

Aideen Yourell, Campaign Director
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

02. Peaceful protest: Let's stop the coursing licence

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports will join Animal Rights Action Network for a peaceful demonstration against the licensing of hare coursing by Green Party leader and Environment Minister, John Gormley.

The demo will take place outside the Customs House in Dublin where Minister Gormley's office is located. Please make every effort to be there on the day to show your support for an end to blood sports licences.

Date: Thursday August 13, 2009
Time: 12 noon Sharp - 2pm
Place: Department of Environment, Custom House
Contact: John Carmody 0872391646 / /

Please forward the demonstration details to all your friends and contacts and ask them to support this important event.

03. Campaign videos: Ask Minister Gormley to stop licensing cruelty

Urge Green Party leader to stop licensing cruelty

Ban Coursing in Ireland

Urge Ireland's Green party to ban blood sports

04. Action alert poster: Minister Gormley - Stop Licensing Coursing

Please download, display and distribute our new Action Alert Poster aimed at persuading Irish Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to stop licensing the cruel blood sport of hare coursing.

We would be grateful if you could print this poster and display it at your local music venues, youth clubs, animal welfare stands, veterinary surgery waiting areas, etc. Thank you.

View poster:

Download poster Now
(pdf, 560 Kb)


Please ask Minister John Gormley (Green Party) to stop licensing coursing.

(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.)

Dear Minister Gormley

I am one of the majority opposed to the cruel blood sport of hare coursing.

I am appalled that as leader of the Green Party, you have issued licences for this animal cruelty in recent years. As you are aware, hares suffer from the moment they are snatched from the wild in nets, during their time in captivity and while they are being chased by the greyhounds. When hit, they suffer agonising life-threatening injuries, including broken bones. The cruelty of coursing is clear to see at

How can you possibly justify keeping this blood sport alive by licensing it? I strongly urge you to REFUSE a licence to the coursers for the 2009-10 season and to put in place permanent protection for this most timid and treasured of species. It is contrary to Green Party principles to facilitate animal cruelty.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name and location]

05. Aer Lingus thanked for removing matador image

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has thanked Aer Lingus for removing an image of a matador from the homepage of its website. The image appeared as part of a graphic promoting flights to Europe.

Responding to our appeal for the graphic to be amended , a company spokesperson stated: "Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. The image you refer to appears on the USA home page as a thumbnail image and as requested will be removed, as soon as possible. We regret any offence this may have caused."

ICABS is very happy with Aer Lingus's swift response. The removal of the matador will decrease the chances of tourists contemplating visiting a bullring after booking a flight.

In our appeal to the national airline, ICABS highlighted the animal cruelty involved in bullfighting and the upset caused to tourists when they witness the horrendous spectacle.

Please make a donation to ICABS

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 for more details or send a cheque for 10/20/50 Euro, or whatever you can afford, to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.

06. Gerry Ryan criticised over upbeat Pamplona bullrun coverage

ICABS has lodged a complaint with RTE over a 20 minute Pamplona feature on the Gerry Ryan show which "effectively amounted to a promotion of an activity involving appalling animal cruelty". During an interview with an RTE employee who said he fulfilled a lifelong ambition by partaking in the bullrun, Gerry described the San Fermin festival as "just fantastic". He also claimed that "a lot of women find it hard to understand and a lot of men find it hard to resist."

In an email to the radio show, ICABS stated: "Your description of the San Fermin festival as 'just fantastic' is unlikely to be shared by participants lured to Pamplona by romanticised media portrayals but who find themselves being carried away paralysed, with serious lifelong injuries or dead. A BBC News correspondent captured one such incident as follows: 'The fighting bull which gored [the victim] weighed half a tonne. It hit him in the abdomen, severed a main artery, sliced through his kidney and punctured his liver, before tossing him seven metres in the air...he died in hospital of massive blood loss.'"

"We found the upbeat and light-hearted treatment of this controversial subject to be particularly inappropriate given the fact that another man lost his life at this year's bullrun. This individual is just the latest in a long line of casualties and fatalities."

Gerry Ryan announced that the account given by RTE's Dermot Rigley had provided "a fairly clear image of what's involved" at Pamplona but, in fact, there wasn't much clarity for listeners as regards the integral animal suffering.

There was no mention, for example, of the way bulls are frightened into stampeding through the streets with the use of electric shock prods and sharpened sticks or that they may slip to the ground and sustain painful cuts and bruises and sometimes broken bones.

Also omitted was the fact that the bulls that provided so much excitement and entertainment for Mr Rigley are brutally killed in the bullring later in the day. In our correspondence, we referred to an Irish Times report last August in which humanitarian journalist Don Mullan vividly conveyed the horror of bullfighting. Describing matadors as "cowardly butchers" he told of how he witnessed an injured bull convulsing, a bull bleeding from its mouth and nose with "its tormented cries clearly audible" and a bull with its front covered in "liquid crimson".

Not until the dying seconds of the Gerry Ryan show was the element of animal suffering acknowledged with Gerry quickly conceding that "there are those of you who think it's an incredibly cruel and foolish thing to be involved in."

If you are one of the millions of people in Ireland, Europe and across the world who view the Pamplona bullrun as incredibly cruel and foolish, please join us in lodging a complaint with RTE about this segment of the Gerry Ryan show. Ask RTE to stop allowing animal cruelty events to be glorified on Ireland's national airwaves. Urge them to redress the balance by conveying to listeners to appalling fear and suffering endured by the bulls during and after the bullrun and warning listeners about the very real dangers involved.


Gerry Ryan
RTE Radio Centre
Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Tel: 1850 715 922 (from Ireland only)
Text: 51552

Dear Gerry,

I am writing to express my disappointment at your show on Monday 13th July in which you described the San Fermin festival as "just fantastic" and presented the cruel Pamplona bullrun as a fascinating event.

The bulls used in this event are subjected to appalling abuse - they're hit and prodded by bullrun participants and scared into stampeding along the streets. As you are aware, the bulls are mercilessly tortured in a bullring at the end of the day. This event is neither fantastic nor fascinating but brutal and barbarous. Your enthusiasm for an event involving so much cruelty is regrettable.

I hope that you will consider the reality of Pamplona and refrain from glorifying bullrunning on future shows.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name and location]

07. Bullrun criticised by Irish journalist

Thankfully, the cruelty of the Pamplona bullrun was highlighted by one commentator in the Irish media. Writing in the Irish Independent on July 14th, columnist Ian O'Doherty had this to say:

"...The bulls, exhausted, confused and terrified from running down the slippery, cobbled streets of Pamplona are then brought to the bull ring. There, they are promptly stabbed by a bunch of picadors to further deplete its energy and will to live, before some Spanish ponce in gold lame hot pants and slip-on shoes comes out and bravely kills the nearly dead bull. Before cutting off its ears."

08. Help keep illegal animal traps out of Ireland

Help keep illegal traps out of Ireland. If you see any of the following traps for sale in Irish shops (or being used here) please report them immediately - Nooski trap, electronic mouse and rat killers, glue traps and glue boards, the Mousemaster trap, unstopped snares, leghold traps.

Anyone found importing, possessing and/or offering for sale any of the following traps faces prosecution under the Wildlife Act. We appeal to members of the public with information on unlawful traps to please get in touch with us now or directly contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (Tel: 01-8882000 / /

Note: This is not a complete list of Ireland's unlawful traps. Also not included here are traps that are unlawful to use except under licence. If in doubt about a trap, contact ICABS or the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

To see photos of unlawful traps, visit, click on LATEST NEWS and scroll down to "Help keep illegal animal traps out of Ireland - 14 July 2009"

09. "Ban Bullfighting News" Magazine - Download Now!

The Summer 2009 Edition of new ICABS magazine, "Ban Bullfighting News". Please download, distribute and respond to the action alerts. Thank you.

View "Ban Bullfighting News" at:

Download "Ban Bullfighting News" from:
(pdf 3.8 Mb)

Publicise "Ban Bullfighting News" on Twitter by posting the following message:

Read "Ban Bullfighting News" mag at or download from

10. New ICABS web banners

Please help highlight our campaign by displaying one of our web banners on your website. Our latest banners can be found by clicking on LINKS at and following the link to our banners page. Thank you.

11. Recommended new Irish websites

"Ban Hare Coursing" -
Check out this new website by John Fitzgerald, leading anti-blood sports campaigner and author of the critically acclaimed "Bad Hare Days". If you have a website or social networking page, please add a link to this site.

Shark Ireland -
Group campaigning for full protection for all sharks within Irish waters

12. New book by Professor Andrew Linzey

Why Animal Suffering Matters by Andrew Linzey
Oxford / $29.95 / 206 pgs. / Hardback
ISBN13: 9780195379778

Our exploitation of animals rests on a range of 'differences' that are supposed to justify their inferior treatment. But when analyzed, these very differences, so often regarded as a basis for discriminating against them, are the very grounds for discriminating in favour of them.

When reconfigured, these considerations include:

  • * The inability of animals to give or withhold their consent
  • * Their inability to verbalise or represent their interests
  • * Their inability to comprehend
  • * Their moral innocence or blamelessness
  • * Their relative defencelessness and vulnerability

When these considerations are taken fully into account, it becomes as difficult to justify the infliction of suffering on animals as it is to do so in the case of human infants. In Why Animal Suffering Matters Andrew Linzey offers a radical new paradigm for our treatment of animals, maintaining that animals, like young children, should be accorded a special moral status. The argument is buttressed by a detailed analysis of three practical issues: hunting with dogs, fur-farming, and commercial sealing. After reading this book, it will be difficult for anyone to argue that any of these practices is morally defensible.

"This book, I believe, ranks as one of [Andrew Linzey's] finest works - perhaps even the finest. It is original, engaging, and impressive, and comprises a skilful interweaving of theological and ethical argument, systematic analysis and (mercilessly destructive) criticism of hugely significant public documents on hunting with dogs, fur farming and commercial sealing, underwritten by a form of Chomskyan social criticism.." Mark Rowlands, Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami

About the Author: Andrew Linzey is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and a Member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford. He has published more than 20 books including: Animal Theology, Creatures of the Same God, and The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.

13. Campaign Quotes

"DJ Histon [Chief Executive of the Irish Coursing Club] advised that for the first four months of the current year, litters are down 6%, namings are down 4%, matings are down 15% and transfer of ownerships are down 4%. For the full year 2008 versus 2007, he said matings were down 7%, litters were down 6%, namings were down 8% and transfers of ownership were down 2%. He said the trend is continuing downwards due to the present economic climate." (from a report on a meeting of the Irish Coursing Club Munster Provincial Council, Sporting Press, 18th June 2009)

"Mr Denis Walsh said if young people are not involved in coursing, coursing will not survive. Mr Walsh asked if one club was in trouble. In reply, Mr Divilly [Brian Divily, President of the Irish Coursing Club] said a lot of clubs are in need of young people and some clubs are struggling." (from a report on a meeting of the Irish Coursing Club Munster Provincial Council, Sporting Press, 18th June 2009)

"DJ Histon [Chief Executive of the Irish Coursing Club] advised the members that the Club had recently met with Martin Ferris of Sinn Fein in relation to the motion to ban blood sports. Mr Ferris had given a guarantee that he would get the motion overturned at the next Ard Fheis and that they would not support any party in bringing in a ban on coursing." (from a report on a meeting of the Irish Coursing Club Munster Provincial Council, Sporting Press, 18th June 2009)

"The recent landing of a six gill shark in Co Clare, while undoubtedly the catch of a lifetime, was unfortunate," said Dr Ciaran Byrne, the [Central Fisheries Board's] chief executive officer. "The fish should have been photographed and returned alive to the water." Luke Aston, skipper of the charter boat on the record-breaking trip, yesterday defended the catch and said it was the angler's call to have the shark hauled ashore to be weighed. "If you want to claim a record with a specific fish, it has to be weighed ashore. That is the choice of the angler," he said. He acknowledged that the number of sharks killed and dumped every year was "appalling". (Irish Independent - June 26 2009)

"At a court case relating to the sale of unlawful animal traps, a defendant complained that the illegality of certain traps was not sufficiently publicised in Ireland. While ignorance is no defence, it's true that the Wildlife Act, 1976 (Approved Traps, Snares and Nets) Regulations 2003 provide just a general outline of what's disallowed and not a listing of specific traps. In our ongoing efforts to help end the sale of illegal traps, we wish to highlight there are many traps that are unlawful..." (Trap cruelty, Letter to the Editor, Philip Kiernan/ICABS, Daily Mail, June 15, 2009)

"Just reflecting on what I consider to be one of the downsides to Ireland's sporting culture, and I love sports... especially hurling and Gaelic football. But not hare coursing. I'm not a fanatic about animals or anything but my stomach turns when I think back on coursing meetings I attended in my native County Cork in the seventies and eighties. I saw hares being torn limb from limb and listened to their cries. It was heart-rending. It all came back to me this week when I picked up a copy of a book written by a man who campaigned against coursing for years. It's called Bad Hare Days, by John Fitzgerald. He goes into the whole story of how people banded together to object to coursing. They protested outside coursing meetings and I have to say I remember seeing them at some venues, like Rathcormac village and Blarney. At the time, I didn't particularly like coursing but I went to them with friends the way you tend to go along with people sometimes to events more out of loyalty or for a few drinks afterwards. But this book got me thinking about the really nasty side of coursing. Netting the hares, how frightened they were when the coursing boys captured them, some of them dies literally from fright." (From a comment posted on - July 8th 2009 -

14. Letters to Editors

Topic Shooting Column Criticised
Topic Newspaper - 23 July 2009

Dear Sir

It is most disappointing that our local Topic newspaper is now promoting shooting and blood sports in a column entitled 'Shooting Focus'. In last week's issue, a depressing picture of two dead rabbits, shot by a hunter, was published, while the previous week, the merits of a new gun for blasting defenceless wildlife, were extolled.

A country fair at Ballinlough Castle, showcasing all kinds of blood sports activities, including hare coursing, fox hunting and terrier work, was also promoted, which, according to the fair's website, included a "ground and running dog day" featuring 'hare lurchers', 'lamping lurchers', 'fox lurchers' and breeds of terriers, i.e. Patterdales, Borders, etc., which are used in digging out foxes from their dens. This barbarism involves pitting dogs against foxes in underground battles, resulting in terrible injuries to both dog and fox. Some of these breeds are also used in badger baiting, which is an illegal activity. However, foxes have absolutely no protection in law, and digging them out is perfectly legal, with rules and procedures for this approved back in 1999 by the then Minister for Agriculture, Joe Walsh.

I earnestly appeal to Topic to discontinue this column, which I have no doubt only appeals to a minority engaged in killing wild animals for "sport".

Aideen Yourell, Spokesperson
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

No harm in town showing its faith
Irish Independent - July 14 2009

The Virgin-in-the-tree-stump controversy that hit the headlines last week intrigues me. It has brought forth the predictable howls of ridicule to match the intense religious devotion of those who believe in a divine presence in the tree.

Personally, I'm delighted that so many of the people in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, are engaging in this gentle demonstration of faith.

It makes a pleasant change from the annual hare coursing savagery for which the town and district is also famous.

Rathkeale hosts this barbaric festival of cruelty to animals, a form of entertainment outlawed in Britain, Australia, and most other countries that once allowed it.

I attended one of these "sporting" events up there one year and had to shield my ears from the child-like screams of the dying hares as the hounds pulled them asunder.

I didn't see anyone counting on rosary beads that day.

I'd prefer to have them kissing a tree than setting up hares as live bait for greyhounds.

John Fitzgerald Callan, Co Kilkenny

Pet owners have responsibilities
Irish Independent - July 22 2009

While driving through town I spotted a dog wandering aimlessly, weaving in between parked cars and then heading straight out across the road.

I circled the town again and the dog wandered across the road again; he was clearly without his owner.

I stopped, put him in my car, took him for a walk and bought him a bone.

After making inquiries I found out he lived with a family outside the town and I took him home.

Later, while working at my computer, I heard the screeches of a dog in the distance. I ran from my house and discovered that a young dog had been hit by a car on the road outside his house.

I offered to take the distraught owner and her dog to the vets. Luckily the prognosis was that the dog would recover with time and care. That's two little chaps who could quite easily have been dead.

I don't understand why anyone would give a dog the opportunity to wander on to roads.

It's terribly sad when you think of the agony a dog goes through in a car crash, if it doesn't die; and the anguish of the innocent motorist who hits a wandering dog.

Jacqueline Cotter Skibbereen, Cork

Running down Spain is pure bull
Irish Independent - July 16 2009
by G Doyle, Dublin 11

I agree wholeheartedly with Ian O'Doherty about the bull run in Pamplona, and indeed bull fighting (Irish Independent, July 14).

However, I found his use of an offensive term to describe the Spanish both surprising and unnecessary.

For a start, it is offensive to Hispanics, in particular the Puerto Rican community in the United States and, in reality, is ignorant if directed at a Spaniard.

I am very close to very many people in Spain through family and have spent a lot of time in the country.

And I would say that of all the people I have met from that country, around 85pc of them would be against bull fighting and bull running.

It is the tourists who are keeping this bull run alive, although I'd readily admit that this area of Spain is only too happy to make use of the revenue it generates.

Mr O'Doherty should refrain from using ethnic slurs, especially when they've nothing to do with the people he is referring to.

The Spanish government can be contacted by a link easily found on Google to direct your displeasure at some of their outdated cultures.

A great many cultures in Spain are fun, enjoyable, welcoming and not dangerous or cruel to animals.

15. Petitions: Please Sign!

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

Stop Bullfighting in Tijuana

Stop Iceland's Whale Hunting

Maldives petition - thanks the government for declaring a ban on shark fishing

Prohibit the sale and use of glue traps in the UK

Abolish Bowhunting and end the brutality

Stop cruelty against animals in Spain

Stop Killing Homeless Dogs in Armenia

We say NO to Northern Ireland Badger Cull

Alaska's Dead Wolf Pups Demand Justice

Top ways you can help the campaign

  • Join our email list (and encourage friends to join) and respond to our Action Alerts. Email "Subscribe" to
  • Become a campaign supporter and make a donation to help fund our efforts.
  • Contact your local politicians and ask them to support a ban on blood sports.
  • Be our friend on MySpace, Bebo, Twitter and Youtube
  • Sign up for our free text alert service and receive occasional campaign updates to your phone. To subscribe to this free service, simply text the word GO to our textline on 00 353 86 038 6617.
  • Link to our website and display one of our banners.
  • Monitor blood sports meetings in your area and provide us with photos, video and reports.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper about the cruelty of blood sports
  • petitions
  • Organise a fund-raiser to help raise funds for the campaign
  • Set up an online anti-blood sports group (Myspace, Bebo, Facebook, etc) to cover your area.
  • Download, print and display our posters and leaflets
  • Set up an information stand at your school/library/youth group/adult group, etc
  • Introduce your friends to our website and encourage them to get involved.
  • Simply keeping your ear to the ground. about any blood-sport related incidents in your area.

Please make a donation to ICABS

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 for more details or send a cheque to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.

Keep hunters off your land

Make it known publicly that your land is off-limits to hunters. Place a preservation notice in your local newspaper now. Here is a 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

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

Footage of blood sport cruelty and the humane alternatives can be viewed on the ICABS Channel on Youtube - or by clicking on "Videos" at Please ask your local TD/Senator to view our videos and back a blood sports ban.

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