Animal Voice: Issue 11, November 2011
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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In this month's edition:

01. "No commitment" to reversing staghunt ban
02. Labour leader reassurance on hunt ban
03. Sinn Fein won't support reversal of hunting ban
04. ICABS video shortlisted in Better Together Awards
05. Complaint to church over latest hunt blessing
06. Hunts thanked by Irish Heart Foundation manager
07. Senator wants government to overturn ban he supported
08. Complaints about mink cull item on 2FM show
09. Boylesports offering free bets to hare coursers
10. Download Bad Hare Days now
11. Irish Wildlife Trust aiming to end badger snaring
12. Wildlife officials use robo-deer to catch poachers
13. Tell Matt Damon to stay away from bullrings
14. Renewed Appeal: Ask Adidas to scrap bullring ad
16. Coming soon: Animal Voice Winter 2011-12
17. Campaign Quotes
18. Letters to Editors
19. Petitions

01. "No commitment" to reversing staghunt ban

A spokesperson for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has stated that there is "no commitment" to reversing the widely welcomed ban on the Ward Union hunt. Speaking to the Irish Independent, the spokesperson dismissed a claim by Junior Minister, Shane McEntee that the hunt "will be back".

In the report by Political Editor, Fionnan Sheahan, the Taoiseach's spokesperson says:

* Mr McEntee was merely expressing "an opinion" and there is "no commitment" to reverse the ban.

* "He [Mr McEntee] wasn't speaking for or expressing government policy in that instance."

* "There is no such commitment in the Programme for Government."

* "[Enda Kenny] would not resile from what's in the Programme for Government. There is no commitment."

The article goes on to quote a spokesman for Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan as saying "No, there isn't (a plan). There is no legislation in the pipeline."

Also quoted is a spokesperson for An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore. "There is no plan to revisit the issue," he stated.

ICABS greatly welcomes this confirmation that the Ward Union ban will remain in place in line with the majority view that the terrorisation of deer for "sport" is cruel and unacceptable. We are now renewing our call on the government to introduce a ban on the bloodsports of foxhunting and hare coursing.

Read the full Irish Independent article


Please contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister Jimmy Deenihan and welcome the confirmation that the Ward Union ban will not be reversed. Urge them to take action to protect foxes, hares and other creatures from the cruelty of blood sports.

Enda Kenny, An Taoiseach
Department of the Taoiseach
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01-619 4020 / 619 4021 / 619 4043
Fax: 01-6764048

Eamon Gilmore TD
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade
Dail Eireann, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Fax: 01 6184574
Mobile: 087 2200495

Minister Jimmy Deenihan
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

[with a copy to - An Taoiseach]
Tel: (01) 631 3802
Fax: (01) 661 1201

02. Labour leader reassurance on hunt ban

Labour Party leader, Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, has given a reassurance that the Ward Union hunt ban is here to stay.

In a personal email to an ICABS supporter in November, Minister Gilmore commented: "As has been stated, the government has no plans to reverse the ban on stag hunting."

03. Sinn Fein won't support reversal of hunting ban

Sinn Fein Senator, Trevor O Clochartaigh, has confirmed that the party "will not be supporting the repeal of the ban on stag hunting". He said that Sinn Fein "consider stag hunting to be a bloodsport [that] causes the infliction of cruelty to animals".

ICABS welcomes this statement from the Galway Senator who is on the Seanad's Agricultural Panel.


Ask Sinn Fein to also recognise that hare coursing and foxhunting cause "the infliction of cruelty to animals" and to support a ban on these bloodsports.

Please send a copy to your local Sinn Fein TDs
Tel: (353) 1 8726100 / 8726932
OR 02890 347350

04. ICABS video shortlisted in Better Together Awards

Thank you to everyone who voted for our "Make hunting a thing of the past" campaign video. We are delighted to announce that it has been shortlisted in the Better Together Awards 2011.

The winner of this video competition, which attracted 187 entries from all around Ireland, will be revealed on December 1st at a ceremony in Dublin.

You can watch the video at

Afterwards, please respond to our action alerts and help bring foxhunting barbarity to an end in Ireland.


Opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want foxhunting made illegal. Make your voice heard. Demand a ban on this horrendous cruelty now.

Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please join us in appealing to the Minister for Agriculture to give wild animals the same protection that is given to domestic animals. Tell the Minister that since all animals are capable of suffering, all animals should be protected from cruelty. Urge the Minister to amend the Protection of Animals Act so that foxes and all wild creatures are protected from unnecessary cruelty.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

05. Complaint to church over latest hunt blessing

ICABS has complained to church authorities following the publication of a photo showing yet another priest blessing a foxhunt.

The Nenagh Guardian of November 12th showed parish priest John Slattery performing a blessing at the start of a North Tipperary Foxhounds hunt.

In an email to the local bishop, ICABS highlighted the cruelty of foxhunting and pointed to paragraph 2416 of the Catholic Catechism.

This states: "Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St Francis of Assisi or St Philip Neri treated animals." Paragraph 2418 adds that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly."

"In their terrorisation and violent killing of foxes, foxhunts cause exactly this needless suffering and death," we stated. "It is clear that the practice of blessing hunts strongly conflicts with the Catechism. It is also contrary to a statement from the Irish Bishops Conference which states that bishops 'would not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts'."

Instead of blessing bloodsports, the clergy should condemn cruelty and preach a message of mercy and compassion for all God's creatures, we added.


Ask Bishop Kieran O'Reilly to act to prevent any further hunt blessings in his diocese.

Bishop Kieran O'Reilly Email: Tel:065 6828638

Urge the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to stop hunt blessings.

Cardinal Sean Brady
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
President, Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Ara Coeli, Armagh BT61 7QY
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Fax: +44 (0)28 3752 6182
Please note: When calling from the Republic of Ireland there is a direct code 048 before the local number

06. Hunts thanked by Irish Heart Foundation manager

ICABS has expressed disappointment to the Irish Heart Foundation after a representative thanked hunters for supporting a fund-raiser.

In a letter to the editor published in the Nenagh Guardian of 26th November, a Irish Heart Foundation Regional Manager stated: "Thanks to the East Clare Farmers Hunt for their co-operation and participation on the day...Thanks to all the local hunts and those who travelled from all over the country to participate [in the Horse and Pony Charity Ride]."

In an email to the IHF head office, we pointed out that foxhunts cause horrendous suffering and death to Irish wildlife and that a majority of Irish citizens want foxhunting made illegal.


Please join us in appealing to the Irish Heart Foundation to clarify its stance on bloodsport cruelty.

Irish Heart Foundation
4 Clyde Road
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Tel: +353 1 6685001
Fax: +353 1 6685896

07. Senator wants government to overturn ban he supported

A Meath politician who voted in favour of the Ward Union ban is now expressing dissatisfaction that the ban won't be reversed!

As a Meath East TD in 2010, Thomas Byrne was one of the Fianna Fail Deputies who gave approval to the deerhunt ban. In 2011, now a Senator, Thomas Byrne is grumbling that Fine Gael won't scrap the ban.

In a statement on his party's website, Senator Byrne comments: "Recent comments by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD confirming that the ban on stag hunting would not be reversed have exposed Minister Shane McEntee's false promises to the people of Meath East and cast serious doubt on his credibility...A commitment to reverse the ban was a key platform of Shane McEntee's election platform in February and I know from talking to people that it was a key factor for many of them in deciding where to give their first preference."

"We need our Government representatives to live up to what they promised people or at the very least admit that they are doing U-Turn after U-Turn," the Senator added.

In an email to Senator Byrne, ICABS challenged his statement, pointing out that the ban was brought in by the Green Party/Fianna Fail Government and that he himself voted in favour of it.

"The ban was widely welcomed in Meath and all across Ireland as a tremendous step forward for animal welfare," we commented. "As you are no doubt aware, the Ward Union stag hunt subjected deer to a horrendous cross-country ordeal which left them exhausted and injured and resulted in numerous deer deaths. Announcements by Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein that they will not support any reversal of the ban are undoubtedly to be welcomed."

Senator Byrne can be contacted at

08. Complaints about mink cull item on 2FM show

The National Animal Rights Association has complained to 2FM about the content of a segment on the Colm Hayes show about a proposed mink cull.

One caller invited on air described how he kicked a mink to death. Also discussed on the November 2011 show was the best guns to use to blast mink to death.

"Your show yesterday did a huge disservice for animal welfare across this country," NARA responded. "Kicking an animal to death is not something to laugh about, and encouraging people to shoot mink is both disturbing and reckless."

"Mink are not malicious creatures and they are not to blame for being in Ireland," they added. "If the fur farms were shut down, they wouldn't be here!"

In an email to the show, ICABS expressed concern about a text that was read out by Mr Hayes.

It encouraged people to not only kill mink but also pine martens.

We have expressed fear that the broadcast of this message could inspire persecution of a protected species. The show has been asked to clarify that pine martens are protected and that it is an offence to disturb or kill them.

The show has also been criticised for its handling of the issue of fur farming after it was suggested that the pelts of slaughtered mink could be made into hats and coats.

The suffering caused to mink and foxes by the fur industry has been highlighted to the programme.

"There should only be one approach to dealing with the issue of fur and that is with disgust and condemnation," we commented.

In an email response, the show's producer has stated: "Our programme does not condone cruelty to animals - mink or otherwise."

You can listen to a podcast of the show at

Complaints can be sent to,

Please urge Colm Hayes to do a follow-up show to expose the appalling suffering of animals trapped in Ireland's fur farms.

09. Boylesports offering free bets to hare coursers

Betting company, Boylesports, has been slammed for offering free bets to hare coursers.

A company advert on the Irish Coursing Club website declares that Boylesports is "No 1 for coursing betting" and offers a free 20 Euro bet to coursers.

"Your association with an activity that causes terror, stress, injury and death to the Irish Hare is appalling," ICABS stated in an email.

"It is extremely distasteful that your company considers it appropriate to profit from the suffering of animals. We hope you will reconsider your stance and stop the sponsorship and bets."

Brought to Boylesports' attention was some of the victims of coursing, including "a hare "squealing in distress" after being caught by a muzzled dog and "a hare in agony in a coursing enclosure with its leg "almost completely broken off".


Ask Boylesports to disassociate from coursing.

Finnabair Industrial Park
Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Tel: +353 42 939 3000
Fax: +353 42 939 3167


10. Download Bad Hare Days now

"Bad Hare Days" by anti-cruelty campaigner, John Fitzgerald, is now available as a free download.

This revised edition of the popular book contains updated content as well as a selection of photos showing the cruelty of coursing and the ongoing protests against it.

The 61 chapters include "Supper with the hare catchers", "Michael D bids to end hare coursing", "Coping with bullies", "Showdown in Tipperary", "Tricks and Threats" and "An anti-hare coursing protest on Fifth Avenue".

In addition to highlighting the hare's sad plight, Bad Hare Days is also a campaigner's story.

The author recounts vividly the ups and downs of his own fight against cruelty. He outlines the major price in suffering he paid as a result of being persecuted for his beliefs.

The gentle hare, apart from its use and abuse in coursing, has now become an endangered species in Ireland, and this book reinforces its right to be protected.

John's book has been praised as "compelling, inspiring and alarming", "a gripping story", "riveting and enlightening" and "splendidly crafted".

A highly recommended read, Bad Hare Days can be read online or downloaded as a pdf from

11. Irish Wildlife Trust aiming to end badger snaring

Source: IWT

Are you aware that your taxes are being used to pay 75 government staff to snare and kill badgers in Ireland?

The Irish Wildlife Trust is opposed to badger culling and the use of snares. Not only is it barbaric and unethical, recent findings have shown it to be ineffective in the war on bovine TB. Badgers can die over extended periods struggling in these hideous devices while their young starve underground. Nobody has ever counted badgers accurately in this country and while it has always been assumed that they are common animals, this can no longer be taken for granted.

The IWT wants this practice to stop immediately. It is cruel, wasteful and damages Ireland's reputation for its 'green island economy'. We recognise that bovine TB is a major problem for Irish farmers but it also must be recognised that culling does not work. Resources should be focused on a national vaccination programme. Faulty science and politically driven motives should not be used as excuses for slaughtering our wildlife.

Find out more about how you can get involved at
Sign an online petition

12. Wildlife officials use robo-deer to catch poachers

The Associated Press has reported that wildlife protection officials in Utah are using remote controlled deer robots to help catch poachers in the state.

"Utah's five Division of Wildlife Resources regions now each have their own robot decoys, which are deployed in various spots along roadways where deer often gather or where poachers have been a problem in the past," the report outlines. "Hunting is not allowed at night in Utah, starting a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise, but authorities say the sight of a big deer on the side of a road can just be too tempting for some."

The mechanical deer is activated by officials who are hiding nearby to catch anyone who shoots at the target.

In addition to the penalty - a class B misdemeanour citation, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a 1,000 dollar fine - the authorities also seize the weapons used.

Robotic deer have also been used successfully in Florida to catch hunters. Said Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Katie Purcell: "It's a tool that officers can take to where the violation is actually happening."

Ireland's National Parks and Wildlife Service have thanked ICABS for bringing this to their attention.

13. Tell Matt Damon to stay away from bullrings

The Daily Mail of 22nd November has published photos of actor Matt Damon at a bullfight in Mexico.

"He is known for his humanitarian and charity work so it was perhaps a little surprising to see Matt Damon in the crowd at a Mexican bull fight yesterday," the paper remarked.

It outlined that although the Bourne star seemed a "little uninterested" in the torture and killing of the bulls and was photographed yawning, he did occasionally applaud. You can see the photos at


Express disappointment to Matt Damon that he attended a bullfight. Urge him to condemn bullfighting and refrain from attending any further bullfights.

You can contact him via his agents, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment -

14. Renewed Appeal: Ask Adidas to scrap bullring ad

ICABS has joined calls on Adidas to drop a bullfighting-themed advert which shows a basketball player in a bullring with matadors.

The ad, which was filmed in the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, can be viewed below

A strong complaint has also been made to the company about a "matador-inspired" Adidas track top and shorts.

The Torero Superstar Track Top "fuses the legendary track jacket style of the Adidas Superstar with the matador's flamboyant 'suit of lights'" while the Adidas Torero Shorts are "inspired by the flamboyant style of the matador's 'suit of lights'" and contain "matador-inspired embroidery, tassels, sequins and crystals".

In an email to the Adidas head office, ICABS stated: "We wish to express our great disappointment and disgust at your new bullfighting-themed commercial which shows a basketball player in a bullring. It is absolutely incredible that Adidas would jeopardise its international image by associating with bullfighting - one of the world's most horrendous acts of cruelty. It is also extremely surprising that your company would deem it appropriate to produce and market 'matador-inspired' products."

"Surely Adidas is aware of the fact that bullfighting is opposed by a majority of people around the world, most of whom would surely share our view that using an animal cruelty theme in a marketing campaign is in very poor taste indeed," we added.


The International Movement Against Bullfights ( asks you to urgently contact Adidas and demand that they scrap the offensive advert and product range. If the bullring ad prompts you to boycott all Adidas products, please make this clear in your correspondence.

Email Adidas Now:,,,,,,,

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am one of the majority of citizens in Europe and around the world opposed to bullfighting. I am contacting you to strongly complain about the Adidas bullfight-themed advert which features a basketball player in a bullring.

Using an animal cruelty theme to market an Adidas product is in very poor taste and is likely to alienate the millions of people around the world who view bullfighting as unacceptable.

I also wish to register my disbelief that Adidas has produced "matador-inspired" track tops and shorts.

Considering the violence and cruelty of matadors, it is incredible that you would choose these despicable characters as inspiration for Adidas products.

Please disassociate from bullfighting and immediately drop the offensive marketing campaign and product range.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,


16. Coming soon: Animal Voice Winter 2011-12

The next print edition of Animal Voice newsletter will be published in December. If you are not already on our mailing list and would like to receive a copy, please email us your name and postal address.

The newsletter will also be available to read online.

17. Campaign Quotes

Hunters claim St Hubert as their "patron saint". However, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, God gave this clear message to Hubert while he was in the middle of a stag hunt - "Hubert, unless you turn to the Lord, and lead a holy life, you shall quickly fall into the abyss of Hell!"

"Sonya Purcell has recently been appointed Hon. Secretary of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds...She is sales manager for Kraft Foods in Ireland and has hunted all her life. She comes from a family steeped in hunting and rarely misses a day, particularly at weekends." From the Summer 2011 edition of Hunting Association of Ireland newsletter. Among Kraft's brands are Cadbury, Kenco, Caprisun, Carte Noir, Green and Black's, Halls, Maxwell House, The Natural Confectionery Company, Oreo, Philadelphia Cheese, Ritz, Cheeze Whiz and Dentyne (

"The Ward Union is on the scrap metal heap..." Dara Calleary, TD (Mayo, Fianna Fail), Dail debate, 8 November 2011

"Many people in Meath who previously voted for me before the last election, voted for Shane McEntee as a result of his commitment to reverse the [Ward Union] ban...This information given by Minister McEntee has turned out to be incorrect and he must reflect on that." Senator Thomas Byrne, Meath Chronicle, 9th November, 2011.

"Police are warning Melton and Rutland farmers and people walking in the countryside to report any suspicious activity after receiving calls about the illegal bloodsport hare coursing. Last week five men were arrested and two vehicles seized following two suspected incidents. Farm workers spotted three men and five dogs in a field...the three men, aged 16, 27 and 51, were later arrested by officers and were released on police bail. And on Friday two men were arrested on suspicion of hare coursing at Langham. It's believed they've since been charged." From Five arrested after hare coursing reports, Melton Times (UK), 30 November 2011

18. Letters to Editors

Hunt ban must not be reversed
Meath Chronicle, 9th November, 2011

Dear sir - We are very concerned at the recent undertaking given by Shane McEntee, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, to reverse the ban on carted stag hunting. He made his comments in the course of a debate on the Greyhound Welfare Bill.

This despicably cruel practise was outlawed last year on both animal welfare and road safety grounds.

The "sport" to which Minister McEntee referred in his Dail speech had nothing to do with wildlife culling or conservation. It consisted of setting a pack of hounds after a farmed or semi-domesticated stag, to be chased to exhaustion and injury for the sole purpose of amusing riders, hunt followers, and sight seers.

Stags often ended the chase shaking with terror, covered in blood from head to foot, the flesh on their bodies torn by razor sharp barbed wire or brambles encountered along the route. Some stags died of heart attacks while others drowned in rivers or lakes. All were subjected to the terror and completely unnecessary suffering of this malicious and calculated act of cruelty. Added to this was the frequency of road traffic incidents involving hunted stags and the alarming case of the stag that ran, terrified and severely injured, and with hounds in pursuit, into a school playground. Children witnessed the cornering of the stag, its tongue steaming and hanging out, the blood pouring from its head.

This is the practice that Minister McEntee blithely and euphemistically refers to as a "rural pursuit".

It was not only animal protection groups that objected to carted stag hunting. The Kane Report commissioned by the Department of Agriculture highlighted its barbarity in very clear terms.

We trust that the Labour Party and Fianna Fail will adhere to their commitments not to support any attempt to reverse the carted staghunt ban.

We are surprised that the government would even contemplate turning the clock back and re-instating this nightmarish cruelty, especially as it has also pledged to update legislation protecting animals.


John Fitzgerald,
Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports,

Coillte's callous yes to hunters in our forests
Irish Independent, August 08 2011

Ireland's forestry board is set to sacrifice thousands of defenceless creatures in a callous bid to boost its profits.

Coillte is currently selling licences that will allow hunters to destroy life in forests all over the country. Not only will woodland wildlife be killed but also creatures that Coillte is inviting hunters to introduce into the forests to use as targets.

Coillte is owned by the Irish people and this contamination of profits with blood money is surely unacceptable to the merciful majority.

The deer, foxes and birds should be allowed to live free from persecution. Ironically, on its website, Coillte urges visitors to forests to "respect wildlife" and "avoid disturbing animals and birds".

Everyone who values life over death should urgently demand that Coillte practises what it preaches and keeps the hunters out.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

19. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports In Ireland Now
End Hare Coursing In Ireland
Ban Irish Fox Hunting
Lobby for the urgent need for updated Animal Welfare Legislation in Ireland
Petition Against Faroese Pilot Whale Hunts
Stop the Bail-Out for Irish Dog Tracks
Ban Larsen Traps & Multi Corvid Traps
Stop badger culling and focus on a vaccination programme in Ireland

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.

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Make a donation to ICABS

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