Animal Voice: August 2010
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In this edition:

01. Coursers get cruelty licence
02. Department investigating hare netting from islands
03. ICABS complaint over coursing on BBC's Coast
04. Disappointment expressed to NPWS over latest coursing recommendation
05. Destroyed: Hare with dislocated hip
06. Pinned hare seen "hanging limp" from greyhound's mouth
07. Join our appeal against ads for blood sport dogs
08. Coursing cruelty highlighted on LMFM
09. Success: Lonely Planet removes bullfight images
10. Bullfighting banned in Catalonia
11. Landowners: Help save the Irish Hare
12. FALSE: ICC suggestion that all hares are released
13. New Slideshow: Illegal traps in Ireland
14. New campaign: Ban cruel Larsen traps
15. Success: Irish Times thanked for dropping cruel Larsen trap
16. ICABS Action Alerts
17. Portlaoise pet shop fined over unlicensed parrot
18. New Book: Bullfighting - A Troubled History
19. Urge Israel to ban fur trade
20. Campaign Quotes
21. Letters to Editors
22. Petitions

01. Coursers get cruelty licence

Just weeks after an historic ban outlawing hare coursing in Northern Ireland, Minister John Gormley has issued a hare netting licence to coursers here in the Republic. The licence gives the go-ahead to another season of coursing cruelty from the end of September with the netting of hares starting on August 14th (a fortnight earlier than previous years).

The continuation of coursing puts even more pressure on our beleaguered hare population, which continues to be identified as a species under threat. In its submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity last May, the National Parks & Wildlife Service stated that the Irish Hare is "experiencing pressure from loss of suitable habitat and hunting and consequently its status is considered poor".

Last season, as in every other season of coursing, hares continued to be terrorised, stressed, injured and killed, as revealed in monitoring reports obtained from the National Parks under Freedom of Information. For example, in Gorey, Co. Wexford last October, 12 hares were hit, 7 badly, with three deaths. Two days after coursing, the ranger discovered three more hares dead from injuries; in Ardpatrick & Kilfinane last December, 16 hares were hit, 5 injured, 3 killed and another dead hare was found afterwards; 1 hare suffering from a dislocated hip was put down. At Tralee last December, 7 hares were hit, 1 put down, and a further 4 found dead afterwards; a ranger described a mauled hare with "marks on its back and bare areas", while a vet noted the cause of a hare death as "knocks sustained during coursing the previous day". Another ranger noted that the muzzle came off a greyhound which caught a hare in its mouth and ran up the coursing field with the "hare hanging limp", while a hare with a damaged leg was noted at Fermoy. Another issue was ear tags used to identify hares, with one ranger stating that "tags were coming off and infecting ears". ICABS understands that cattle and sheep tags are used on hares.

In addition, licence conditions were routinely flouted or not properly adhered to with some clubs netting hares without the permission of the landowner, taking sick hares from the wild and hares not being released on time after meetings and not returned to their original habitat, as stipulated in the conditions. One club even kept hares for a further 6 weeks after a coursing meeting in Donegal in November '09 for use at their next meeting last January. Regarding the re-coursing of hares on the same day (a breach of the licence), rangers could not tell in some instances if this had happened or not, with coursed hares being returned back to slipping area at the interval. This prompted one official to note: "There is no way of proving that no hares were coursed twice."

Minister John Gormley has made history with the outlawing of the Ward Union carted deer hunt and he is to be rightly commended for this brave stand. We appeal to him to now follow the example of Northern Ireland and the UK mainland and urgently bring this barbarism to an end.


Urge Minister John Gormley to stop licensing coursing. Send a copy of your correspondence to all of your TDs and encourage them to back a ban on the blood sport.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
[CC - An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen]
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

(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 disappointed to learn that you have issued a licence to the Irish Coursing Club for another season of coursing cruelty.

In coursing, hares continue to die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity, during the coursing meetings and also subsequent to their release back to the wild. Such deaths have been documented by your NPWS division. These timid and fragile creatures die as a result of physical injuries or from the stress caused by human handling and being chased by greyhounds.

I urge you to act on the wishes of the electorate who want this activity outlawed. Please stop licensing coursing.

Thank you, Minister.

Yours sincerely,


02. Department investigating hare netting from islands

The Department of the Environment is investigating claims that hares were netted on two west coast islands last year without the permission of the landowners. Read more in the following Irish Times report.

Department investigates hare-netting allegations
Sean Mac Connell, Agriculture Correspondent
The Irish Times - August 23, 2010

"Claims that hares were netted on two west coast islands last year without the permission of the landowners are being investigated by the Department of the Environment. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports said the hares were netted on Hog island off Clare and Oyster island off Sligo in breach of Section 44 of the Wildlife Act. It said documents obtained by it under the Freedom of Information Act from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, showed that in last October, 39 hares were netted from Hog island for Killimer Kilrush coursing club." Read the full report at

03. ICABS complaint over coursing on BBC's Coast

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has complained to the BBC about a recent edition of its Coast programme (Series 5, episode 5) in which coursing was portrayed in a positive light. In our letter of complaint, we challenged the bizarre notion presented on the programme that coursing is somehow beneficial to hares. Referring to the capture of hares from Oyster Island in Sligo for use in coursing, presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff stated that "I'm not comfortable with the idea that hares should be managed for sport" but then added that "here, there may be a positive side to it."

"To suggest that hares on an isolated, non-inhabited island could somehow benefit from being violently netted, thrown in crates, removed from their natural habitat, brought to the mainland, kept in captivity for weeks/months, trained to run up a coursing field and eventually forced to run for their lives in front of greyhounds is utterly laughable," ICABS stated in our correspondence to the BBC.

We also challenged a statement made on the programme by Dr Neil Reid who commented that coursing is "quite popular" in Ireland.

ICABS emphasised that coursing is certainly not popular in Ireland and that it is very much a minority activity. We highlighted that successive opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want the blood sport outlawed and that a strong campaign is ongoing to achieve this.

In response to a statement by Miranda Krestovnikoff that "after competitions, the hares are released back to where they came from", we pointed out that in the past season alone, ICABS has identified several instances where hares are released back to different locations. Of course, the hares that are battered into the ground, suffering fatal internal injuries don't make it back to the wild. This element of injury and death was glossed over in Coast in favour of presenting the activity in a positive light.

The impression given on the programme was that hares happily continue with their lives after release. However, the reality is that the coursing ordeal compromises the hare's chances of survival. The creatures are at risk of dying weeks and months afterwards and indeed dead hares have been found post-release. The subsequent survival of hares is an issue the National Parks and Wildlife Service has acknowledged. In one of their reports, they question the "reproductive viability of hares post-coursing and the impact on local population demographics of hare removal and return."

ICABS is very disappointed at the Coast programme for choosing to portray a cruel blood sport in a positive light. We have told them that this is very offensive to the majority of Irish people who support our campaign to get this disgusting activity outlawed. We have called on them to address our points as part of any re-broadcast of this edition of the programme.


Join us in our appeal to the BBC to exclude the positive portrayal of hare coursing from future airings of this edition of Coast. Urge them to avoid featuring animal cruelty activities on upcoming programmes.

Write to: BBC Complaints, PO Box 1922, Darlington, DL3 0UR, UK

Email your letter from: BBC Website

See more information about the programme at

04. Disappointment expressed to NPWS over latest coursing recommendation

ICABS has expressed disappointment to the National Parks and Wildlife Service over their latest recommendation to issue a licence to hare coursers to net thousands of hares. We reminded them of a report from earlier this year in which they reiterated that the conservation status of the Irish Hare is poor.

Stressing that the NPWS is entrusted to conserve the hare species, we pointed to the body's submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity in May in which they once again confirmed that the status of the hare is poor and that one of the contributing factors is hunting activities.

Also flagged was a statement in a NPWS document which casts uncertainty over the "reproductive viability of hares post-coursing and the impact on local population demographics of hare removal and return". (Background to the conservation assessment for the Mountain Hare Lepus timidus,6278,en.pdf ) This acknowledgement should itself prompt the NPWS to block the exploitation of the species instead of continually recommending its continuance.

"Given the current poor conservation status of the hare and the negative impact that coursing is known to have on the species, it is highly surprising that the NPWS continues to encourage this deplorable activity which is now illegal in all our neighbouring jurisdictions," we stated.

ICABS also enquired if the NPWS took into account the breaches of the 2009/10 coursing licence before recommending another licence for 2010/11. We are currently awaiting a reply.


Please join us in asking the NPWS Species Protection Unit to explain why it has recommended the licensing of a blood sport that causes massive interference to the Irish Hare species and which results in stress, injury and death to hares.

Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe
Director, NPWS Species Protection Unit
National Parks & Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2

Tel: +353-1-888 2000
Fax: +353-1-888 3272

Email: ciaran.o'

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

05. Destroyed: Hare with dislocated hip

One of the victims of coursing last season was a hare suffering with a dislocated hip. According to a veterinary report relating to Ardpatrick and Kilfinane coursing club in Limerick, the creature was destroyed because of the injury.

In the report, obtained by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports under the Freedom of Information Act, the vet states: "The hares were examined one hour before and immediately after coursing on the 12th and 13th of December 2009. Over the two days, four hares needed clinical examination. I treated three for minor abrasions, the fourth I euthanized because of a dislocated hip."

He added: "I witnessed three other hares that appeared to die after coursing without any outward sign of injury. One of those was sent to the Local Regional Veterinary Laboratory. Post-mortem findings included internal adhesions (suggestive of an old condition)."

ICABS has brought this to the attention of Minister John Gormley as part of our appeal to him to stop licensing coursing.

06. Pinned hare seen "hanging limp" from greyhound's mouth

A hare pinned into the ground by two greyhounds was caught and carried away in the mouth of one of the dogs. A wildlife ranger observing the Trim coursing meeting last November said that the greyhound ran up the field with the "hare hanging limp".

"Two dogs pinned hare to ground and one dog was able to catch hare in its mouth and run up the field with hare hanging limp," the ranger noted. "The muzzle was ineffective or not tight enough."

The report also reveals that eight hares were hit at the meeting with two "possibly" killed. Also noted was that tags attached to the ears of hares were coming off and infecting the ears.

At a previous meeting of Trim coursing club, a ranger noted that "the odd hare will cry out while being handled when the ear tag is being identified, causing more stress to the animal". At another, a ranger recorded that 10 hares were hit by dogs over the two days of coursing with 5 injured (one of which died as a result).

ICABS is calling on landowners in Meath - and around Ireland - to show compassion for the persecuted hare species and prevent coursers from capturing hares from their land. The licence issued to the coursers does NOT give them the right to enter land without permission so if a trespass occurs on your land, please contact the Gardai immediately. The contact details for Garda Stations can be found on

07. Join our appeal against ads for blood sport dogs

Update: ICABS held a positive meeting with Donedeal in November and we are hopeful that ads for dogs used in blood sports will be reduced and eliminated thanks to a strengthening of the company's dog policy coupled with ad filtering. We thank Donedeal for their positive approach.

Back in March, we thanked Wexford-based classified ads website Donedeal for updating its dogs policy and promising to prevent ads for blood sports dogs from appearing on its website. Sadly, ads for dogs used in hunting, baiting, digging-out and terrierwork have continued to be displayed on the Donedeal website.

Their policy clearly states that "we do not accept ads that imply that the dog could/should be used for...killing prey" and "we do not accept ads that mention or imply digging" and "we do not allow ads that mention lamping".

However, adverts for such dogs continue to be displayed on the website on an ongoing basis. Among the dogs listed as "Sold" on the website this month were


Please join us in urging Donedeal to act to deny those involved in blood sports the opportunity to use its website as a networking tool and a platform for selling dogs used in attacking and killing wildlife. Ask Donedeal to introduce a screening process for dog adverts to prevent ads from being displayed if they contravene the company's policy or refer to illegal activities.

Unit B, Tuskar House,
Johns Gate Street, Wexford

For more information on our campaign against terrierwork, click on Campaigns at

08. Coursing cruelty highlighted on LMFM

ICABS Campaign Director, Aideen Yourell, highlighted the cruelty of hare coursing on LMFM last Friday. In a debate with the CEO of the Irish Coursing Club, Aideen told listeners about the suffering and death caused to hares by coursing clubs.

Listen to the debate now
(The Michael Reade Programme, LMFM, Friday, August 13th, 2010)
(mp3, 10.6 Mb)

Thanks to LMFM and host Gerry Kelly for hosting this discussion.

09. Success: Lonely Planet removes bullfight images

Lonely Planet has been thanked for removing two bullfighting-related images from its online Madrid gallery. The move came following an ICABS appeal in which we highlighted the cruelty of the activity and expressed concerns that the images could encourage tourists to visit bullrings.

One of the images showed a bullring in the city while the second was of a matador waving a red cape at an injured bull.

A big thumbs up to Lonely Planet for removing these images and for promising to emphasise the major opposition to bullfighting in the next edition of its Madrid Guide. Visit the Lonely Planet website at

Read a copy of the ICABS anti-bullfighting leaflet and decide to boycott bullrings when you are on holidays.
Thank you.

10. Bullfighting banned in Catalonia

ICABS has welcomed the tremendous news from Catalonia that the Parliament there has voted to ban bullfighting in the region. We congratulate all the parliamentarians who voted in favour of the ban and also the campaigning groups and individuals around the world who tirelessly worked to bring the barbaric activity to an end.

Among the groups instrumental in securing the ban (which will apply from January 2012) were CAS International, WSPA, ADDA and PROU. You can read their reactions to this historic milestone by clicking on the links below.

Thank you to all the ICABS supporters who signed petitions over the years and responded to action alerts.

Parliament decides on a ban on bullfighting in Catalonia on July 28 [CAS International]

Catalonia makes history by banning bullfights [WSPA]

El 1 de enero de 2012, Cataluna pone fecha y punto final a las corridas de toros [ADDA]

Majoria absoluta a favor de l'abolicio [PROU]

11. Landowners: Help save the Irish Hare

With a licence from Minister John Gormley, Ireland's coursers are currently netting hares for their cruel blood sport and will continue to do so over the coming months. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on landowners to act to keep coursers out and save hares from the cruelty of coursing.

If you are a landowner, please download, laminate and display copies of our poster - "Hare Sanctuary - No Coursing, No Netting, No Hunting". Please note that the licence does not give coursers the right to enter land without permission so if a trespass occurs on your land, please contact the Gardai immediately. The contact details for Garda Stations can be found on

Thank you very much.

Download the poster now
(pdf, 92kb)

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.

12. FALSE: ICC suggestion that all hares are released

ICABS has described as false a suggestion by the Irish Coursing Club CEO that "all captured hares" are released back to the wild after coursing. In a letter published in the Daily Mail, we highlighted some of the victims from last season that died in captivity. Please scroll down to read the letter.

Hare-raising horror
Daily Mail Letter, Aug 9, 2010

A recent suggestion by Irish Coursing Club chief, DJ Histon that 'all captured hares' are returned to the wild following their ordeal in captivity is false.

The hares that died from their injuries in Co. Wexford last season certainly didn't make it back to the wild. Neither did the hares found dead in a coursing enclosure in Borrisoleigh, nor hares at Rathcormac that were hit so hard that they had to be put down.

Some of the hares caught for the Loughrea/Westport meeting would also never see the open countryside again - one was euthanised after being struck by greyhounds, two others were found dead in a paddock. Deaths were also recorded at coursing events in Galway and Oranmore, Castleisland, Kilflynn, Lixnaw, Listowel, Millstreet, Templetuohy, Abbeydorney and Ballyheigue.

Among the terrorised animals that did make it back to the wild were three injured at a meeting in Co. Cork. According to the wildlife ranger present, one of these unfortunate creatures had a 'damaged leg' that 'could be broken'.

Mr Histon claims regulations and conditions attached to the licence issued by Minister John Gormley were 'written with the welfare of the hare in mind'.

Tell that to the hare with the dislocated hip after the Ardpatrick and Kilfinane coursing meeting. Or to those that died 'from knocks sustained during coursing' at Thurles.

Coursing is now banned in England, Scotland, Wales and in the North. A majority want it outlawed here, too.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has restated that the status of the hare is 'poor', partly due to persecution by hunters.

The time couldn't be better for Minister Gormley to grant permanent protection to this precious species and call a halt to coursing cruelty.

PHILIP KIERNAN Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

13. New Slideshow: Illegal traps in Ireland

Check out our new Flickr slideshow which presents some of Ireland's illegal animal traps.

If you are aware of shops selling them or anyone using or possessing them, please contact the Irish Council Against Blood Sports ( and your local National Parks and Wildlife Service ( conservation ranger. Thank you.

14. New campaign: Ban cruel Larsen traps

ICABS is calling on Minister John Gormley to ban cruel Larsen traps. The traps are used to catch magpies and other birds. Before being brutally killed, they will be overcome with the fear and stress of confinement. Some will suffer thirst, hunger and starvation while others will sustain broken beaks and cut heads from futile attempts to smash their way to freedom. When magpie parents are caught, their orphaned chicks will starve to death in nests.

Click on CAMPAIGNS at to watch a video and find out more.


Please join us in calling on Minister John Gormley to urgently introduce a ban on Larsen traps.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email [with a copy to An Taoiseach]
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Quotes: Larsen trap cruelty

"Phil Wilson, chief superintendent of the RSPCA's prosecution department, said: 'It is the RSPCA's view that these [Larsen] traps are inherently cruel.' He added: 'There is no evidence that magpies have a significant effect on the songbird population.'" (From Larsen trapper convicted of cruelty to magpie)

"I consider the Larsen trap to be rather inhumane. I know in Denmark where the trap was developed it is banned for this reason but it is legal in the UK. I have been watching a magpie in a trap (food and water provided) for 4 days now and it appears distressed with a lot of repetitive actions." (Comment posted on a UK bird club forum)

"The wild 'decoy bird' its most vital instincts frustrated and abused by confinement, suffers a most terrible fate. Close to the ground it is terrorised by predators, and watches as its fellow birds are brutally killed in front of it. A number end up being found dead through neglect...It is also clear that the trapping is going on all through the summer months and that untold thousands of magpie chicks have starved to death in their nests due to their parents birds being trapped. " (From the website of Against Corvid Traps)

"I have found many larsen traps with dead decoy birds which appeared to have died from starvation." (From an Irish eye-witness)

"Magpies are incredibly intelligent and beautiful birds. Have you ever seen a live magpie used in a Larsen Trap. It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen. This intelligent bird was totally demented (I let it out)." (From online discussion about Larsen traps)

15. Success: Irish Times thanked for dropping cruel Larsen trap

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has thanked the Irish Times after a cruel bird trap was removed from its Reader Offers website. ICABS highlighted the suffering caused to magpies and other birds by the trap.

In our letter to the newspaper's editor, we pointed out that Larsen traps have been condemned as "inherently cruel" by the RSPCA and that they are now banned in Denmark, from where they originated in the 1950s.

Outlining the cruelty, we stated: "Larsen traps use a live decoy bird to lure in victims. When the birds land on the cage, a panel collapses beneath them and they fall into captivity. They will never fly again. Before being brutally killed, they experience fear and panic, jumping frantically against the bars that deny them their freedom. Some sustain broken beaks and cut heads while others suffer thirst, hunger and starvation. When parent birds are caught, their orphaned chicks will starve to death in nests."

A big thumbs up to the Irish Times for this compassionate response.

16. ICABS Action Alerts

Please visit our new Action Alerts page for quick and easy access to all the latest ICABS action alerts. Click on the red Action Alerts banner on our homepage - - to access them now!

17. Portlaoise pet shop fined over unlicensed parrot

Pet shop fined over unlicensed parrot
The Irish Times - Saturday, July 24, 2010

A pet shop owner has been fined 4,000 Euro at Portlaoise District Court for having an unlicensed parrot and a tube of glue trap.

Gardai and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) officers discovered the items during a search of properties belonging to Richard O'Brien, Clonminam Road, Portlaoise, on March 2nd, 2009.

The endangered parrot, a Military Macaw, was found in Birdworld in Portlaoise without a microchip, leg ring or appropriate paperwork. The tube of glue trap was located in a storage area.

Mr O'Brien claimed he was minding the bird for a friend who was preparing a new aviary. "I can give the court here today a 100 per cent assurance that an Annex A bird will never be allowed on my premises again," he told the court.

Judge Gerard Haughton said he was "not particularly impressed" by O'Brien's evidence. A five-month suspended sentence issued in February 2007 related to similar offences.

18. New Book: Bullfighting - A Troubled History

In Bullfighting: A Troubled History, the first-ever cross-cultural study of the subject, Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier examines at length and in depth the corruptions, cruelties and delusions that over the centuries have made and sustained the world of celebrity cape-and-sword 'artists' decked out in fantastically gaudy suits.

The fighting bull has been systematically bred for aggression for centuries, but on the day it faces its nemesis in the ring in Spain, southern France and elsewhere - sometimes drugged and always terrified - it is first agonizingly crippled by means of the picas and banderillas thrust into it prior to the matador's capital intervention, a 'killing' that often leaves the animal still conscious while its ears and tail are being hacked off. At certain fiestas in South America, live condors are bound by their talons to the backs of bulls, a refining torment for both creatures. But Hardouin-Fugier reaches far beyond what is a depressing catalogue of cruelty, for this book considers the social and economic origins and expansion of bullfighting over the centuries, tourists, revenues, seat prices, subsidies, etc.

Some former bullfighting countries have moved on, while other states (such as Portugal) prefer to place limits on the cruelties permitted in the ring; and there are towns and cities in South America, France and Spain that have imposed municipal bans. What support that remains for bullfighting is diminishing and fatally compromised. But the fight against bullfighting today is far from over, as this important contribution to the debate makes only too clear.

Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier is Professor of Art History at the Universite Jean-Moulin in Lyon. She is the author of many books, including A History of Floral Painting (1992), A History of French Still Life in the Nineteenth Century (1998) and, with Eric Baratay, the widely acclaimed Zoo: A History of Zoological Gardens in the West (Reaktion, 2002).

'A terrific history of, and manifesto against, bullfighting by the French art historian Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier. She falls squarely in the reformist camp, and her history argues that the sport seduced artists, who glamorized and abstracted a cruel and ugly pursuit into something that bore little resemblance to bullfighting itself...She stresses the brutal labor conditions of the bull farms, and vividly evokes the persistent cruelty of the life of a fighting bull' - The New Republic

You can order Bullfighting - A Troubled History on the publisher's website For a 20% discount, please use the code NS0126

or on Amazon

19. Urge Israel to ban fur trade

Progressive legislation to ban the entire fur trade in Israel is under discussion and a vote to outlaw the bloody trade will take place on September 2nd.

However, the upcoming vote is under intense pressure from the fur trade from countries like Denmark, where fur farming is big business, and of course Canada, where the annual seal hunt takes place. They fear that if Israel passes legislation to ban the fur trade outright that it may very well mean campaign groups will move to other countries to introduce similar legislation.


Sending just one email could help secure a huge victory and spare many animals' lives!

Email Israel's trade Minister, urge him to ensure that 'progressive legislation' to ban the fur trade in Israel goes ahead as a matter of urgency. Please email,

20. Campaign Quotes

"Don't tell me the Irish are against [drag coursing] as we have already had enquiries from across the Irish sea...By the way, if your dogs wont chase the drag get a new trainer or change your breeding. ALL dogs should chase anything." from a comment on greyhoundnuts forum, August 17, 2010.

"This is all about doing the right thing. It may cost me votes. I will not gain a single vote for standing up for animal rights but may lose a few for so doing. While I may lose the votes of those who do not wish this legislation to be passed, it will not gain any votes for me. However, it is the right thing to do, which is the reason I support it." Paul Gogarty, TD during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage. If you are in the Dublin Mid West constituency, assure Deputy Gogarty that his work for animal welfare will make it more likely that you will vote for him.

"The fact that the Killimer-Kilrush coursing meeting survived the treacherous weather conditions last weekend was a credit to the great club members. A prolonged thunderstorm interrupted proceedings on Saturday and heavy showers, accompanied by strong winds, were the order of the day on Sunday but, overall, coursing was the winner on both days when the meeting lived up to expectations despite the unkindest of weather. The strong-running hares made for excellent coursing over the two days...Apart from the ferocious thunder storm on Saturday, weather conditions were not too unfavourable for spectators. However, the frequent showers accompanied by strong winds made it a venue for the brave only on Sunday. Therefore, it's hats off to those at the Killimer-Kilrush venue, who defied all the odds to stage a very successful meeting." Clare Champion, 26 November 2009

"Frogs are protected under the Wildlife Acts (1976 & 2000) and a licence is required to collect frogs from the wild. However, a blanket licence is issued each year by the National Parks & Wildlife Service to allow schools to collect frog spawn for educational purposes. This licence requires that the spawn / subsequent tadpoles be returned in due course to the point of collection." From the NPWS website -

"The inter-club which was sponsored by Daffy's Funeral Undertakers in Kilmallock. It's rare to see Funeral Directors sponsoring anything and I sincerely hope that it isn't a sign of things to come in the sport of coursing." (from A day to remember in the company of the Ardpatrick and Kilfinane club, 17 November 2006, Limerick Leader)

Rhinos are critically endangered: At the turn of the 19th century, there were approximately one million rhinos. In 1970, there were around 70,000. Today, there are fewer than 24,500 rhinos surviving in the wild.

"Many years ago, while a permanent countryside resident, I ceased killing animals and birds, gave up gun club membership, stopped fishing but kept my dogs. This was an activity I had been involved in since boyhood. I had, one day, heard a shot hare scream like a wounded human being. Perhaps that had something to do with my decision." from Let the hare sit, and survive, Sunday Independent, July 11 2010

"The vote by the Parliament of Catalonia to ban bullfighting has been stirring strong emotions in Spain. The arguments used by those against a ban have similarities to those used by opponents to the ban on hunting farmed deer with dogs in Ireland that was introduced last month. The ban on stag hunting in Ireland was introduced on animal welfare grounds, yet opponents to the ban tried to suggest that the ban was, in fact, politically motivated: an attack on a traditional rural Irish way of life by an urban elite. This claim generated significant support amongst the Irish electorate and media, but the ban was brought into law. The new law - tightly defined as a ban on hunting farmed deer with hounds - was recognised for what it was: an improvement in the way that Irish society treats animals." from Bullfighting ban is good news for animal welfare in Catalonia by vet, Pete Wedderburn Telegraph Blogs

"Congratulations and thank you, keep it up. Now you have the rest of the creatures to save. God be with you." A comment left for Minister John Gormley, on KildareStreet.Com, 29 Jun 2010 (Re: ban on Ward Union deerhunt)

"Mick Bailey of tribunal fame - he's also master of the Ward Union Hunt - was telling all and sundry that he'll never vote for Fianna Fail again if the stag hunting Bill goes through. Not only that, but he reckons his extended family would account for about 250 FF votes. Although in the current climate, we reckon FF won't be kicking up a fuss about losing the controversial Bailey, although they might miss his generosity." Miriam Lord's week, The Irish Times, February 6, 2010

"Castlebar Coursing Club had a number of fine perpetual trophies on offer each year. The club ceased functioning many years ago but I was recently told the trophies are stored in a local bank." (From the Auld Stock, Connaught Telegraph, 30 July 2010)

"An estimated 100 million Sharks are slaughtered every year around the globe, corresponding to roughly 200 Sharks killed every single minute." The Sun, 11 August 2010

21. Letters to Editors

Foxes not main killer of lambs
Irish Independent - 25 August 2010

Where to begin in response to Howard Hutchins's rather misguided and, dare I say, frivolous 'Foxes deserve to be hunted' (Letters, August 24).

Mr Hutchins, like many others before, has pulled out the pro-fox hunter's favourite trump card -- lamb predation by foxes.

If Mr Hutchins had considered doing even a very small amount of research, he would quickly find that lamb mortality by foxes accounts for around 1pc of deaths.

And even this figure is debatable, as many lambs supposedly killed by foxes were dead long before the fox came along

The real figure probably rests at about 0.4pc.

To put this in perspective, if a farmer has the fortune to have 1,000 new lambs in a year, only about four of those may be taken by foxes.

Mr Hutchins's other, and just as weak, argument, is that foxes kill native ground creatures slowly and mercilessly.

What the fox is doing when it catches and releases its prey is called skill-honing.

Mr Hutchins should also know that many of those native ground creatures are considered pests to our old friend, the farmer, due to their destruction of his precious crops and feed.

It could easily be argued that the fox is a friend of the farmer.

Mr Hutchins's contention that foxes die "virtually instantaneously at the teeth of the hounds" would be hilariously ill-conceived if it weren't such a dangerously common and worrying belief.

Jason Penn, Galway

Bullfighting is hardly "culture"
Irish Independent - August 21 2010

The horrific incident of bull leaping over a barrier into the spectator area at a goading session in a Spanish bullring clearly shows that the authorities in that region think nothing of the health and safety of humans, and are quite prepared to put lives at risk. We are told that 40 people were injured and one young boy is in intensive care after the terrified bull charged into the crowd.

The idea of a group of young people goading and tormenting an animal in a ring is appalling, not to mention the actual bullfights, in which bulls are repeatedly stabbed. Those who try to excuse it as "culture" are deluded. They should see it as it is - sheer cruelty and brutality.

Thankfully, though, the region of Catalonia has banned bullfighting. Let's hope that other regions of Spain will follow suit.

And for those going on holidays to Spain, we appeal to them to stay away from the bullrings. Every visit by a tourist to a bullfight perpetuates the cruelty.

Aideen Yourell, Irish Council Against Bloodsports
Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

'Sickening cruelty' of bullfighting
The Irish Times - August 23, 2010

Madam, - The goring of spectators at a bullfight in northern Spain (Breaking News, August 19th) should serve as another reminder that this sickening cruelty is permitted in a part of the European Union.

While the injuries inflicted by the bull are shocking, is it appropriate that in the 21st century we still have public events in which animals are literally tortured to death as they once were in the ancient coliseum? I cannot help thinking of this incident as the bull's revenge for decades of horrific abuse by human beings for their twisted pleasure and entertainment.

I hope it encourages other parts of Spain to follow the example of the Catalonian parliament's recent decision to ban bullfighting. Unfortunately, the promoters of this barbarism are powerful people and will continue to glamorise the corrida de toros, fostering the erroneous impression that the activity revolves around a brave matador fighting a bull, risking his life in the pursuance of a glorious time-honoured tradition.

The reality is different. The bulls are weakened prior to entering the ring and then repeatedly stabbed with spears and lances before the hero in his splendid costume and swishing cape gets to plunge his sword into its pain-racked, exhausted body.

It will be a step forward for civilisation when this practice is consigned to the pages of a sorry past, along with our own shameful and equally indefensible tradition of live hare coursing, in which innocent animals are also terrorised for fun in public spectacles.

Apart from the suffering endured by the animals, this form of cruelty debases the people who facilitate or participate in it. As the supposedly higher beings on this planet, we surely ought to know better. What the bull did to fans at the Spanish arena was a pale imitation of the savagery we humans mete out to bulls and other animals in the name of "sport". - Yours, etc,

John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports
Lower Coyne Street, Callan, Co Kilkenny.

Bullfighting ban and hare coursing
Irish Times - July 30, 2010

Madam, - The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports (CACS), welcomes the historic decision by the parliament of Spain's Catalonian region to ban bullfighting (World News, July 29th).

We hope this will prove to be a first step towards the abolition of this bloody and depraved practise in the rest of Spain.

Catalonia will now never again witness a form of so-called entertainment in which a noble creature is literally tortured to death in public for the pleasure of a blood-thirsty human throng.

The image promoted by some tourist agencies of a brave matador skilfully evading the raging bull in a battle of man against beast is erroneous in the extreme.

The bull is considerably weakened before he meets the matador, first by being beaten over the kidneys and having Vaseline rubbed into his eyes and then by repeated stabbing with razor-sharp lances and darts.

By the time the matador gets to plunge his sword into the bull, the animal is already close to exhaustion, bleeding from numerous wounds, and in agonising pain.

While welcoming the Catalonian ban, however, we in Ireland have no cause to point the finger at Spain for as long as we permit the barbarity of live hare coursing, a practise in which animals are snatched from their natural habitats, held in unnatural captivity, and terrorised for "sport" at public venues.

As with bullfighting, apologists for hare coursing argue that it must be preserved and nurtured because it is part of our "tradition", as if that could justify organised barbarism.

That pathetic excuse didn't convince a majority of the members of the Catalonian parliament, and neither should it hold sway in Dail Eireann. Let's follow Catalonia's example by banning a blood sport that shames our nation. - Yours, etc,

John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports
Lwr Coyne Street, Callan, Co Kilkenny.

Irish Independent - July 30 2010

I was delighted to hear the Catalonia region of Spain has voted to ban the revolting "sport" of bullfighting (Irish Independent, July 29).

But was it necessary to publish the accompanying photograph of the moron bullfighter and his victim. Perhaps you might publish a photograph of a similar thug dangling from the horns of his opponent. That would brighten up my day.

Paul Kelly, Skerries, Co Dublin

Spectators got just deserts
Irish Independent - August 21 2010

There isn't a lot to smile about on the news these days, but I was delighted to see 'Billy the Bull' do an Eric Cantona and leap into the crowd of sad spectators in the bullring in Spain, scattering and maiming.

Mighty stuff and just deserts for the same people who were there to see him being terrified in the most awful way.

But "it's our culture and national sport", some moustachioed Miguel said in response to suggestions that they follow the Catalans and ban bullfighting nationwide in Spain.

The only downside was poor Billy was put down presumably because he was -- eh, dangerous?

Paul O'Sullivan, Donegal Town, Co Donegal

Irish Independent - August 23 2010

LIKE Paul O' Sullivan (Letters, August 21), I too would have been delighted to see the rampaging bull maim or kill the entire audience of perverts who were, after all, there to watch the bull's cruel death.

John Doyle, Odessa, Florida

Irish Independent - August 24 2010

WITH regard to the views of Paul O'Sullivan and John Doyle (Letters, August 21 and 23) about bull fighting, I assume that both of them are either strict vegans or, if they do eat meat, it always comes from certified organic sources.

Seeing how concerned they are about the "cruel death" of the bulls, I'd imagine eating chicken that was raised in a cage, or pork products from pigs that were raised on concrete, would be despicable to them.

Rob Marrey, Greystones, Co Wicklow

Labour Party U-turn
Saturday Independent - August 07 2010

Has it entered anyone's head that Eamon Gilmore's recent fall in the polls may be related to his and Labour's U-turn on their declared opposition to bloodsports, and banishment of Tommy Broughan who refused to go along with them, not forgetting Ivana Bacik's similar stand in the Senate.

Eadaoin De Oirghiolla, Muileann Cearr

22. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now
End Hare Coursing In Ireland
Ban Irish Fox Hunting
Petition to stop the abuse of Donkey Taxis in Santorini
Petition against Faroese Pilot Whale hunts
Help India's monkeys
Stop Burning Live Bulls - End Sadistic Festivals

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 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

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.

Animal Voice - Subscribe

To receive "Animal Voice" by email every month, please send "Animal Voice - Subscribe" to

Top | Newsletters | Home