Animal Voice - October 2009
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
In This Issue:
01. Ask Google to stop advertising foxhunting in Ireland
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has appealed to Google to stop advertising foxhunting holidays in Ireland. A "Google Ad" invites readers to "experience the thrill of the chase". Please join our appeal to Google - respond to our action alert now.
Ask Google to stop displaying ads for foxhunting. Use the sample letter below or compose your own original letter. Thank you.
Mr John Herlihy
Dear Mr Herlihy,
I am horrified to see that one of the ads being displayed in "Ads by Google" is for the cruel and barbaric activity of foxhunting. ["Fox hunting in Ireland - Experience the thrill of the chase"]
I call on your company to immediately remove this ad on the grounds that it is promoting one of Ireland's worst acts of animal cruelty.
In foxhunting across Ireland, foxes are disturbed from their habitats, chased to exhaustion and torn apart by a pack of trained hounds. Foxes that manage to escape underground are dug out with spades while terriers are sent down to viciously attack them.
I invite you to view this short Irish Council Against Blood Sports campaign video which shows just some of the suffering involved: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x54eit_ban-foxhunting-in-ireland_animals
I trust that after viewing this, Google will agree that foxhunting is disgusting animal cruelty. I hope, therefore, that you will act now to remove this ad and stop publicising foxhunting.
ICABS welcomes the ban on deer hunting secured by the Green Party following their negotiations with Fianna Fail on a new programme for government at the weekend. This is indeed an historic milestone in our campaign to bring to an end the hunting of animals with dogs in Ireland.
Let us hope that this announced ban on the carted deer hunt soon becomes a reality and that this abhorrent and abusive past-time which has been engaged in by the Ward Union hunt club for over 150 years, will at last be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs.
Sadly, and most disappointingly, there will be no respite for hares and foxes, with Fianna Fail refusing to countenance a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting.
Express your thanks to Green Party leader, Minister John Gormley, and urge him and his party to do whatever it takes to also bring hare coursing and foxhunting to an end.
Minister John Gormley
Please send a copy of our new "The Animals Get My Vote" poster to all your local politicians to tell them that their attitude towards animals and their commitment to bringing animal cruelty to an end will be a major factor in your voting decision.
Why not also arrange a meeting with your local politicians to discuss your concerns about animal cruelty and encourage them to take action.
View the poster: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21062972
Download the poster [pdf, 250Kb]
For the names of your TDs, please click on your county at
Contact your TD at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
For a list of Senators, please visit
Contact your Senator at: Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
ICABS has responded to a veterinary surgeon who openly defended hare coursing. In a letter to the editor published in the Irish Examiner, we challenged the vet's claim that coursers "hold the welfare of the Irish hare very close to their hearts".
In his letter of October 6th, Vet Tommy Kearney also said that when he attended a coursing meeting in Glin, Co Limerick, he was "immediately struck by the importance of this event in the community" and that he would "urge anybody to make a point of attending a meeting." You can read Mr Kearney's letter in full at http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer
Responding, ICABS described the claim as wrong and commented that it was horrifying that a vet would defend the blood sport. Please scroll down to read our reply in full.
Time for the curtain to come down on coursing
IT was horrifying to see an actual veterinary surgeon defending cruel coursing (Letters, October 6). Tommy Kearney's claim that coursers "hold the welfare of the Irish hare very close to their hearts" is just plain wrong.
Veterinary Ireland clearly defines welfare as "a state of well-being in which an animal ... is not subjected to unnecessary pain, fear or suffering". In coursing, hares are subjected to all three.
Over the years, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has uncovered just some of this suffering: hares squealing in distress after being caught by muzzled dogs, pregnant hares forced to run for their lives, a hare with a fractured femur and another in agony with its leg "almost completely broken off".
When I attended a meeting at Glin some years ago, I was immediately struck by the sickening scenes of suffering. I saw a hare pummelled into the ground and another hit so hard that it was certainly left with broken bones.
There is no justification whatsoever for subjecting animals to this abuse. The time has come for the curtain to come down on coursing.
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports roundly condemns the decision made by Environment Minister John Gormley to grant yet another licence to capture hares from the wild for use as live lures for greyhounds in the cruel and primitive "sport" of hare coursing.
We are astounded that a "GREEN" Minister would issue such a licence, not only because of the inherent animal cruelty but also due to the fact that hares in the wild are in decline. Last year Minister Gormley himself issued a report on the Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland, which rated the conservation status of the Irish hare as "poor" with reasons gives as loss of habitat, increased urbanisation and hunting. This decline continues, as a recent survey published in Northern Ireland shows, and in response to that decline all hare hunting across the border has been suspended for the last five years, with Edwin Poots, NI Environment Minister last week extending that protection for yet another year.
It is absolutely incredible that while our Northern Ireland neighbours are taking measures to protect the hare population, our "green" Minister is recklessly allowing the exploitation of our vulnerable hares by coursers and other assorted hare hunters. He should have acted in concert with our close neighbours to protect the hare as part of an All-Ireland plan, and placed a temporary ban as they have done.
By issuing this licence, Minister John Gormley has disregarded the issue of cruelty. Every coursing season, hares are injured and killed by greyhounds at coursing meetings and last year was no exception, as reports obtained by ICABS under FOI 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 express your disappointment at Minister Gormley's decision to licence another season of coursing cruelty.
Dear Minister Gormley,
I am extremely disappointed at your granting of a licence to the Irish Coursing Club for a cruel activity which the majority of Irish people want outlawed.
Facilitating a blood sport in this way is counter to the Irish Green Party's stated opposition to the exploitation of animals and fundamentally in breach of international Green Party principles on activities involving animal cruelty. It is also totally at odds with Section 7 of the Irish Green Party's Animal Welfare Policy which was passed by your National Council in 2005
Based on conservation grounds, you had very good reasons to refuse this licence. Due to concern for the future of the Irish Hare species, your counterpart in Northern Ireland recently announced an extension to an already 5-year-old order protecting hares from hunting and coursing.
I do not accept your assertion that "there is no current evidence that coursing has a significant effect on hare populations". Coursing is responsible for massive interference with the species (including disturbance of pregnant hares, nursing mothers and leverets) and depletes vulnerable population pockets which cumulatively can lead to extinction. The "Status Of EU Protected Habitats And Species In Ireland" report which you published last year makes it clear that the overall conservation status of the Irish Hare is "poor" and that "factors likely to reduce hare numbers locally include...hunting". Why have you, as Minister responsible for protecting this species, ignored this?
I look forward to your response.
Absurd claims deserve a reply
I write to defend John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports, (Letters, October 12) from the absurd reply from James Phelan, PRO of the Foxhounds Association, (Letters, October 14).
Resembling John O'Donoghue's mind-boggling performance on Tuesday where he defended the indefensible, Mr Phelan defends rural communities against an accusation that was not even made. Nowhere does he refute the appalling terror the animal is subjected to. He does not, because he cannot.
I was born in the country. I, however, do not hold these traditional field "sports" dear. If Mr Phelan wants to engage in a traditional field sport he should participate in the game of hurling. A fair fight, 15 against 15.
This not about country versus city, rural versus urban. It is about right and wrong. It is worrying that a substantial amount of people, including TDs, can be so obtuse.
One cannot compare live exports and fishing to hare coursing. Both cattle and fish are eaten. Hares are not. I would kill an animal with my bare hands if faced with the prospect of starvation. But not for sport. It's utter rubbish to portray all people who are anti-stag hunting as lobbyists. If people want Christmas advertising to be resisted until the beginning of December 1, does that mean they are against Christmas?
I have two questions for Mr Phelan: 1) Does a "sport" that contributes €34m annually to the rural economy justify its existence? By the same rationale, I can argue that child labour contributes to the Indian economy.
2) What does the following quote mean? "We support and promote animal welfare but will stand united in the campaign against animal rights." If a fundamental principle of animal welfare is freedom from fear and distress then Mr Phelan's argument has fallen on its own sword. He should re-read Mr Fitzgerald's graphic letter.
Programme for government deal
Madam, - The promised ban on stag hunting in the programme for government represents a milestone on the road to the abolition of all blood sports in Ireland.
Coupled with the restrictions on the operation of hunt kennels engendered by a section of the upcoming puppy farm legislation, this move will greatly advance the cause of wildlife protection and prevention of cruelty to animals.
For decades, the majestic stag has had to run for its life from packs of hounds, mounted riders, and scores of hunt followers racing behind in SUVs and motorbikes. Fleeing its frenzied pursuers in terror, the stag would suffer extensive injuries, becoming entangled in barbed wire or brambles, or attempting to swim across rivers and sometimes drowning in the process.
By the end of a hunt, the animal would drop to the ground from exhaustion, covered in blood and muck, panting and wheezing; its eyes bulging with fear.
And the intention of the hunt wasn't even to kill the animal . . . just to put it through this harrowing ordeal for "sport".
So fair play to the Green Party for achieving this major breakthrough in the battle against blood sports. The campaign to ban hare coursing and fox hunting continues. - Yours, etc,
Life is unforgiving for Irish hunting hounds
The Irish hunting with hounds community is up in arms at the proposal of Environment Minister John Gormley to include hunt kennels under the remit of Commercial Dog Breeding Establishments statutory instrument, which he intends to sign into law shortly.
This statutory instrument allows for the regulation and control of puppy farming in Ireland. One can ask why is the hunt community so vexed at this proposal given that for years we have listened to hunting representatives saying that hunting with hounds has nothing to hide from scrutiny. Surely they are not trying to create a no-go area for animal welfare inspections within the confines of a hunt kennels.
Hunt kennels are run as animal killing centres. Hounds are bred each year and those who fail to make the hunting grade are put to sleep without a backward glance. For hounds that have come to the end of the hunting career a few years of loyal service is met with a meeting with the business end of a needle.
A hunt kennel cannot afford to carry any canine passengers. If a hound is not doing its job of catching and killing foxes it will not survive until next feeding time. Life is hard and unforgiving for hunting hounds. It is time hunt kennels and its employees were subject to more statutory control. Let the spotlight of animal welfare shine into the hunt kennels and let us see what goes on behind the horse and hound image of hunting.
"Cllr Seamus Healy said at this week's County Council meeting the fact that coursing was being discussed in the Programme for Government talks put the coursing industry in jeopardy. The national coursing meeting was very important for Clonmel, bringing in millions of Euro to the local economy during the festival week. 'It is an industry that has created employment and is very important to Clonmel and South Tipperary,' he told the meeting. Cllr Healy proposed that the Council write to the Taoiseach and Fianna Fail Oireachtas members on the issue." (The Nationalist, 10 October 2009)
"The Greens are not demanding an end to closed hare-coursing, a truly disgusting, squalid, barbaric sport. Why? Because coursing is too precious for the still-powerful hillbilly faction in Fianna Fail, so the oh-deeply principled Greens leave it alone." Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, October 16 2009.
Watch End of the Line on More 4
End of the Line is the world's first major documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing. Its chilling conclusion is that unless more radical steps are taken globally, it will take just 50 years for the world's ocean's to be all fished out.
Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.
One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo - on the trail of those destroying the world's magnificent bluefin tuna population.
Filmed across the world - from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market - featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world. More info at http://endoftheline.com/film/
Featured on RTE's Nine O'Clock News on 1st October, ICABS spokesperson, Aideen Yourell, called for a ban on hare coursing.
Issue 11 of Animal Voice is now available to download and view in magazine format. Please read, respond to action alerts, download and forward to your friends.
The magazine can be viewed at www.scribd.com/doc/20484703
You can also download it directly from
RTE radio and television presenter, Pat Kenny, has said that he's not a fan of coursing.
"I'm no fan of hare coursing," he declared on his 1st October radio show. "I have no brief for it one way or the other."
ICABS welcomes this comment from Pat Kenny.
Tipperary South TD, Mattie McGrath, has defended coursing on RTE's Pat Kenny Show (October 1st, 2009).
If you are one of Deputy McGrath's constituents, please condemn his defence of this blood sport.
Mattie McGrath, TD
You can download the radio show in question from http://short.to/sft7 or listen to it on the RTE website at http://www.rte.ie/radio1
Please download, laminate and display our "No hare netting, coursing, hunting on my property" poster - http://bit.ly/13uEEs
If coursers, hare netters or hare hunters trespass on to your land, please call the Gardai and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Horse put down after neglect
A HORSE WAS put down after his hooves were grossly overgrown and the animal was in obvious distress, a court has been told.
John Frost (63), of Deerpark, Doora, Quin, was charged with cruelly ill-treating an animal in February.
Clare County Dog Warden Frankie Coote told the court that, on foot of a call on February 7 last, he went to Doora the following morning, "where I believed there was a horse in distress".
On arrival, he could se a horse in a field. "He was in obvious distress. He was unable to get up," he said.
He contacted gardaí and notified a vet and they arrived at the scene. He said that as the horse attempted to get up "it was very dangerous, so I tied him".
"The hooves were grossly overgrown. The horse had to be destroyed. The vet examined the horse and decided that the horse was suffering and was unable to get up," said Mr Coote.
He said he had inspected the same horse in October of last year, after he had received a complaint. He said at that time the owner had undertaken to get a farrier.
Asked by defence solicitor Daragh Hassett had any efforts been made to contact Mr Frost prior to the animal being put down, Mr Coote said, "My concern was the horse."
Owen O'Connor, a vet, told the court he had concluded that no treatment was suitable for the horse and he advised that it be put to sleep. He said that overfeeding and repeated bouts of laminitis contributed to the condition of the horse. The horse was put down that day.
He agreed with Mr Hassett that there was good grass and fresh water in the field.
Mr Hassett submitted to the court that the evidence did not amount to cruelly ill-treating the animal. However, Inspector John O'Sullivan, prosecuting, said the evidence presented did amount to ill-treatment of the animal.
Judge Timothy Lucey convicted the accused. "This has been going on for some time. It didn't just happen overnight. That, in this court's view, is ill-treatment," he said.
Mr Hassett said the case was "at the lower end of cruelty."
"Mr Frost did his very best. He had the horse shod by a farrier. He had it done once a year. It would appear he should have it done twice a year, given the age of the horse. He's very sorry for what happened," he said.
The judge said the case was "serious".
"The horse was in good condition otherwise, but this specific problem was not being dealt with. He knew there was a problem there. He ignored it. He let it run. Things can slip. That happens to everybody, but the animal is in your hands. The animal can do nothing about it. It is a serious situation," said the judge.
"In my view, he is clearly responsible for the horse and clearly didn't do what he was supposed to do," he added.
"In the course of the case it was put to the court the owner should have been consulted before the horse was put down. I accept Mr O'Connor's professional judgment. I think he acted 100 per cent correctly in putting the animal out of his misery," he said.
He said if the defendant had previous convictions, he would be facing a custodial sentence. He imposed a fine of €500 and fixed a bond in the event of an appeal.
The following Halloween tips by Natalia Soblechero appeared in the Irish Independent of October 15 2009.
As soon as it starts to get dark, keep your pet indoors.
Animals have a heightened sense of smell, sight and sound; and once they hear a loud bang, will often panic, become disorientated, bolt out the door and be unable to find their way home. (Make sure your pet is micro-chipped as you have a greater chance of being reunited with them if they get lost. Always ensure that dogs are wearing collars with discs).
Keep the animal in an interior room - i.e. a bathroom, utility room or cloakroom and draw the blinds.
Keep a radio or TV on in order to distract from loud bangs and leave a light on so that flashing lights aren't as noticeable.
If your pet looks for reassurance, please don't do this! I know it goes against our humane nature, but it's best to carry on in a matter of fact manner, as if nothing is out of the ordinary, as your pet may feed off your anxiety, making the situation worse.
Sweets and chocolates are not good for pets; in fact, chocolate is toxic to animals so please don't feed them unsuitable treats. Sweet paper, cellophane and tin foil are also a choking hazard if swallowed.
Take care around lit pumpkins and candles as curious pets may knock them over, running the risk of being burned and/or causing a house fire.
Unless your pet loves being dressed up, don't put them in a costume as this can add to their stress and anxiety.
Remember, large animals living in nearby fields, such as cows and horses hate scary noises. So, if you're planning on having a fireworks display, and have secured your own domestic pets, please be sure to take other animals into consideration.
Talk to your local vet about different medications on offer to ease your pet's distress.
For further info, make an appointment with your vet or log onto www.dspca.ie
Top ways you can help the campaign
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 www.banbloodsports.com 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 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
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 clicking on "Videos" at www.banbloodsports.com Please ask your local TD/Senator to view our videos and back a blood sports ban.
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