Animal Voice, Issue 8, August 2014
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

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01. Minister Humphreys licenses cruel wildlife abuse
02. Anti-bloodsports group condemns Minister's coursing licence
03. Appeal to Coillte: Bar hunters from Galway wood
04. Companies urged to scrap discounts for wildlife killers
05. Coveney claim: badger snaring is humane and involves no snares
06. On Electric Picnic weekend, remember the caged fur farm mink
07. Mayor of Cork County admits to supporting foxhunting
08. Hare coursing damages victims but also wider community
09. Renewed calls for a foxhunting ban in Ireland
10. Video footage shows badger in illegal leghold trap
11. Appetite for destruction: Bullfighters want bulls, not food
12. Letters to the Editor
13. Campaign Quotes
14. Petitions

01. Minister Humphreys licenses cruel wildlife abuse

Just 48 hours after a declaration by Arts & Heritage Minister, Heather Humphreys, that the persecution of wildlife is "intolerable", she issued a licence which allows thousands of hares to be violently netted from the wild for use as live bait for greyhounds.

Earlier this month, the Minister condemned wildlife persecution as "intolerable". Reacting to the illegal shooting of a protected peregrine falcon, she was quoted in the media on August 13th as saying: "It is intolerable for birds of prey and other wildlife to be persecuted, poisoned or shot."

But it has emerged that just two days later, she gave the go-ahead to the shameful coursing licence - dated August 15th. The licence allows coursers to net around 5,500 hares from their habitats and use them as live lures for dogs at 80 or so meetings during a coursing season which extends over a 22 week period from September 27th to March 1st.

In issuing the licence, the Minister has disregarded appeals from Ireland and around the world for the licence application to be rejected. Brought to her attention was an Irish Council Against Blood Sports report documenting injuries and deaths in coursing last season. For example, at Doon & District, 4 hares were struck by greyhounds and put down because of their injuries; at Dundalk and Dowdallshill, 6 hares struck, 4 put down; at Tradaree, 13 hares struck by dogs, 3 "found dead in the paddock" the next day; at Gorey, 4 hares hit, with 2 dying of their injuries, and the list goes on. What can you expect when two psyched up greyhounds, weighing up to 40kg and travelling at speeds of up to 70km, strike a hare weighing 3kg.

She has also been made aware of the fear and terror experienced by this gentle, timid wild creature, cruelly snatched up in a net, shoved into a box and kept captive for approximately six weeks prior to the event. Many hares die from stress-related illnesses, as attested to by a vet who carried out post mortems on hares that died in a coursing compound. "Hares being normally solitary animals are significantly stressed when corralled and coursed, and this combination of circumstances has resulted in the deaths in this case," he stated.

Thanks to this latest licence from Minister Heather Humphreys and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, hares will again be running for their lives in front of pairs of greyhounds as a merciless mob of diehards cheer and bet on the outcome.

Earlier this month, Minister Humphreys also expressed concern that cruelty to wildlife "harms our reputation as a country that values its wildlife". Her licensing of barbaric hare coursing brings much shame on Ireland and does untold damage to our international reputation, particularly as our neighbours England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have long since outlawed it.

See a copy of the licence at

See the 2014 coursing cruelty catalogue


Urge Minister Heather Humphreys to show compassion for the persecuted Irish Hare and revoke the coursing licence she issued.

Email "Stop the cruelty. Revoke the hare coursing licence" to
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook -

(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.)

Dear Minister,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to revoke the licence you issued to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares suffer at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips. Every season, hare injuries and deaths are documented.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and permanently revoke the licence.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,



02. Anti-bloodsports group condemns Minister's coursing licence

from Ocean FM, 28th August 2014

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has hit out at the issuing of a nationwide hare coursing licence.

The licence was issued last week to the Irish Coursing Club by Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Minister Heather Humphreys and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The licence allows the clubs to net hares to use at around 80 coursing meetings around Ireland over a 22 week period.

Aideen Yourell, spokesperson from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports told Ocean FM of her disappointment at Minister Humphreys' decision -


03. Appeal to Coillte: Bar hunters from Galway wood

ICABS has renewed an appeal to Coillte to stop allowing hunters to terrorise wildlife in its forests. The call follows reports that foxes are again being targeted in a County Galway wood.

It is understood that hunters and hounds have been in Moyode Forest in Craughwell for the past three weeks. The early morning outings are likely to involve cub hunting. Typically carried out ahead of the main hunting season, cub hunting sees hunters bringing inexperienced foxhounds to fox earths and training them to attack, chase and kill young foxes.

Despite being aware of the appalling cruelty of cub hunting and foxhunting, Coillte has continued to allow access to foxhunters.

A Coillte representative has previously confirmed to ICABS that foxhunters "have permission from Coillte to use Moyode wood as well as a number of other properties owned by Coillte in the vicinity for hunting purposes in line with traditional usage."

The young foxes of Moyode Wood are likely to have suffered an appalling fate this month - scared out of their earths by hunters and bitten, mauled and torn apart by hounds. It is entirely unacceptable for Coillte to disregard this suffering being caused to woodland wildlife.


Sign our petition: Coillte - Stop allowing hunters into Moyode Wood

Please join us in urging Coillte to stop allowing hunters into Moyode Wood.

Gerard Britchfield
Acting CEO, Coillte
Dublin Road,
Co. Wicklow
Tel: +353 (0)1 2011111

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below)

Thank you to Galway Bay FM for highlighting the campaign for an end to foxhunting in Coillte forests. Listen to the news report on the FYI show


04. Companies urged to scrap discounts for wildlife killers

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on Vodafone, Volkswagen, Bord Gais and other companies to stop offering discounts to those involved in some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals.

Vodafone, Volkwagen, Bord Gais, Goodbody Stockbrokers, FBD Insurance, Stena, Irish Country Hotels, Carlton Hotels, VHI, Bus Eireann as well as Dublin Zoo and the Mater Private Hospital are all being urged to withdraw their discounts for members of IFA Countryside.

All have been informed that IFA Countryside - a branch of the Irish Farmers Association - defends "field sports and country pursuits", including foxhunting and terrierwork. An IFA Countryside chairman is on record as saying that hunters should "sign up to an organization such as the IFA Countryside which will fight for the future of field sports in this country."

In our correspondence to the companies, ICABS stated: "We are confident that the vast majority of Irish citizens who oppose bloodsports would agree that it is entirely inappropriate for you to offer discounts to those involved in animal cruelty - either directly or through a group such as IFA Countryside which defends this cruelty. We call on you to show compassion for Irish wildlife and immediately withdraw these discounts."

We went on to outline the suffering being caused to Irish wildlife by those engaged in bloodsports.

In foxhunting, foxes are chased to exhaustion by packs of up to 60 dogs and when caught, are torn apart. Terrierwork involves sending terriers below ground to attack and corner foxes in their earths. Hunters then dig the clay away and drag out the injured and bleeding foxes before brutally killing them - barbarity which all animal welfare groups in Ireland oppose.

Also flagged was IFA Countryside's connection to the cruel bloodsport of hare coursing (they offered an insurance package which included coursing) and its past shameful defence of carted deer hunting.

The discounts offered to IFA Countryside members:

FBD Insurance €35 discount, Volkswagen €250 off Finance Packages, Dublin Zoo 20% discount, Irish Country Hotels 25% off, Stena Line 15% discount, Mater Private Hospital 12% discount, Goodbody Stockbrokers save up to 50%, Vodafone Save up to 240 euro, Bord Gais Energy Discounted benefit, Carlton Hotel Group Exclusive savings, VHI 10% discount, Bus Eireann 15% off family tickets


Please join us in urging Vodafone, Volkswagen, Bord Gais, Goodbody Stockbrokers, FBD Insurance, Stena, Irish Country Hotels, Carlton Hotels, VHI, Bus Eireann, Dublin Zoo and Mater Private Hospital to withdraw their discounts for members of IFA Countryside.

Email "Show compassion for Irish wildlife. Scrap your IFA Countryside discounts" to,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sign and share our petition:
Irish Companies - Scrap your animal cruelty discounts


05. Coveney claim: badger snaring is humane and involves no snares

A video posted on Youtube includes outrageous claims by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, that Ireland's CRUEL badger SNARING operation is "humane" and "does not involve snares".

The ugly reality is that an estimated 100,000 Irish badgers have been cruelly snared and killed by the Department of Agriculture since 1984. The assault on this supposedly protected species takes place under licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Bernie Barrett of Badger Watch Ireland describes how badgers suffer under the Department's scheme: "The method of capture is a barbaric wire snare which holds the helpless badger in excruciating pain until it is dispatched by gunshot. That's provided the animal has not agonisingly strangled itself beforehand. When nursing female badgers are snared and shot, their cubs are left to starve to death underground."

According to the Irish Wildlife Trust, 6,000 Department of Agriculture snares are set in Ireland every night and there are fears that the species is now endangered. The IWT is opposed to the badger cull and states on its website: "Badgers can die over extended periods struggling in these hideous devices while their young starve underground. Not only is it barbaric and unethical, recent findings have shown it to be ineffective in the war on bovine TB. 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."

Watch a video of an Irish badger being rescued from a Department of Agriculture snare


Demand an end to the cruel snaring and killing of badgers.
Visit our Campaign Page now.

Sign our petition
Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW

Tell Simon Coveney to stop the cruel snaring of badgers.

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Please write to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Remind them that the Wildlife Act, for which they are responsible, lists the badger as a protected species. Demand that they stop licensing the snaring and killing of thousands of badgers as part of a cruel and discredited TB eradication scheme.

Minister Heather Humphreys
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 631 3800

Director, Licensing Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Tel: 01-888 3214


06. On Electric Picnic weekend, remember the caged fur farm mink

On Electric Picnic weekend, spare a thought for the thousands of mink doomed to a life of misery on Ireland's cruel fur farms.

Just 13 minutes (9 Km) away from the Electric Picnic venue in Stradbally, County Laois is Ireland's largest fur farm where thousands of mink are permanently caged and gassed to death at 6 months of age.

Video footage obtained by ICABS last month shows mink desperately throwing themselves against the fronts of their cages in an attempt to get free.

Video footage of a squealing mink being pulled from a cage to be gassed to death (filmed on an Irish fur farm)


Sign and share our petition: Ban fur farming in Ireland

Demand a ban on fur farming in Ireland. Email Simon Coveney now.


Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01 661 1013 and 021 437 4862


Dear Minister Coveney,

I support a total ban on fur farming and an immediate closure of Ireland's fur farms.

In these hellholes, animals suffer a horrendous life of misery before being cruelly gassed to death. There is absolutely no justification for allowing this cruelty to continue.

Please ban fur farming now.

Yours sincerely,



07. Mayor of Cork County admits to supporting foxhunting

ICABS is calling on the mayor of Cork County Council to show compassion for wildlife and stop allowing hunters access to his land.

In an email, Mayor Alan Coleman (Fianna Fail) stated: "I support rural activities, particularly the hunts that are engaged in foxhunting. I don't have an involvement myself but do give permission for my lands to be hunted."

ICABS has expressed disappointment to Cllr Coleman and reminded him of the suffering caused to foxes in hunting.


Please join us in urging Cllr Coleman to reject cruel foxhunting. Email "Show compassion for Irish wildlife. Make your land off-limits to foxhunters" to,
Tel: 021 4285457 or 087 234 1022

Witness the cruelty of Ireland's foxhunting

Join the campaign for a ban


08. Hare coursing damages victims but also wider community

by Animal Advocacy -

The Republic of Ireland has become one of the last remaining countries in the world to allow hare coursing. The blood sport has already been banned in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and remains illegal in most civilised nations.

Why have so many countries made this blood sport illegal? Because it's cruel. And cruelty not only damages the victim, it damages those who participate and the wider community.

While Section 12 of Ireland's own Animal Welfare Act 2013 lists the crimes of animal cruelty, and the associated punishments, its final subsection 11 states - "Nothing in this section applies in relation to anything which occurs in the ordinary course of...coursing a hare."

In other words, the government pretty much admits that this blood sport is cruel, i.e. it falls within the initial list of animal cruelty crimes, while at the same time making this particular cruel crime exempt from prosecution and punishment. Or, put another way, the Irish Government are admitting that coursing is cruel - but they're not going to do anything about it.

In a similar anomaly, the hare is protected under the 1976 Wildlife Act - but the same Act also protects hare coursing, i.e. it is illegal to trap or sell hares other than for the specific purpose of coursing them.

What makes this legalisation of cruelty even more alarming is found in a recent publication entitled "Understanding the Link Between Violence Towards Animals and People" which highlights that:

Those who understand this linkage of crimes towards animals and people are in a better position to prevent future violence and protect their communities.

Like animal fighting, hare coursing results in

In other words, and as Andrei Voznesensky quotes so eloquently below, studies show violent sport can only provoke more violence, in the home and in the streets - and morally and emotionally damage our children in the process.

Coursing Quotes

Thomas More (1516), Utopia - "Thou shouldst rather be moved with pity to see a silly innocent hare murdered of a dog, the weak of the stronger, the fearful of the fierce, the innocent of the cruel and unmerciful. Therefore, all this exercise of hunting is a thing unworthy to be used of free men."

Andrei Voznesensky (1964), Hunting a Hare - "The urge to kill, like the urge to beget/Is blind and sinister. Its craving is set/Today on the flesh of a hare: tomorrow it can/ Howl the same way for the flesh of a man."

Robert Frost, The Rabbit Hunter - "Bringing him on/The shadowy hare/For him to rend/And deal a death/That he nor it/(Nor I) have wit/To comprehend."


09. Renewed calls for a foxhunting ban in Ireland

With foxhunting banned in England, Scotland and Wales, Ireland has become one of the last remaining countries in the world to allow this horrific bloodsport.

This despite the fact that opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want foxhunting made illegal.

In 1998, a so-called Code of Conduct for registered foxhunting packs was approved by the Minister for Agriculture. This farcical document eliminated none of the cruelty which makes foxhunting one of Ireland's most cruel and inhumane activities. Foxes are still dug out of the ground and attacked by trained terriers. Foxes are still chased by packs dogs and torn apart when caught.

If a domestic animal was abused the same way that foxes are abused by foxhunts, it would be a criminal offence.

Witness the cruelty of Ireland's foxhunting


Sign our "Ban Blood Sports in Ireland" petition
Sign Now

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. Demand the removal of an exemption for foxhunting from Ireland's Animal Health and Welfare Act.

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

Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Contact the Taoiseach and Tanaiste. Ask them to show compassion for foxes and hares and ban hunting and coursing.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048

An Tanaiste, Joan Burton
Office of the Tanaiste
Iveagh House,
80 St. Stephen's Green,
Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Tel: 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)
Fax: 01 408 2400
Email Enda Kenny and Joan Burton:,

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to replace foxhunting with the humane alternative - drag hunting.

Drag hunting sees the hounds chasing an artificial lure instead of a live animal. This form of "hunting" is already practised successfully by a few groups in Ireland. In a modern and civilised country like Ireland, there should be no place for foxhunting, particularly when a transition to drag hunting would be simple.

Please contact all your local politicians and ask them to express their opposition to this blood sport. Encourage your friends, family and workmates to contact them too.

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Write to your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses


10. Video footage shows badger in illegal leghold trap

Disturbing video footage has emerged which shows an Irish badger caught in an illegal leghold trap.

The use of leghold traps in the European Union is prohibited. In Ireland, it's an offence to possess, use, sell or import leghold traps. Please report leghold traps to your local National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger - contact details at

Find out more about illegal animal traps


11. Appetite for destruction: Bullfighters want bulls, not food

Hunger-striking bullfighters in Bogota have declared: "We do not want food, we are hungry for bulls."

The disgruntled matadors are protesting at a ban on the bloodsport in the Colombian capital. Two years ago, mayor Gustavo Petro won international praise for stopping bullfighting in a city he has christened "Humane Bogota".

ICABS has sent a message of thanks to Mr Petro who has dismissed the local protest, saying "I invite the people of Bogota to mobilise in favour of a city without death spectacles"

You can tweet a message of support to Mayor Petro from @PetroGustavo


12. Letters to the Editor

Help raise awareness about Ireland's animal cruelty issues - write letters to the editors of local and national newspapers to speak out against hare coursing, foxhunting, etc.

Here's hoping minister will reject requests to use hares as bait
Irish Examiner, August 15th 2014

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys rightly condemned the shooting of a peregrine falcon in Wexford, stating that it was "intolerable" for wildlife to be persecuted and that it "harmed our reputation as a country that values its wildlife".

However, as the minister responsible for wildlife, she is presently considering the annual application from the hare coursers for a licence to net in the region of 5,500 hares ("protected" under the Wildlife Act) for use as live bait before greyhounds at 80 or so coursing meetings around the country.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has accessed reports on hare coursing meetings for the 2013/14 season of cruelty, and they make for depressing reading ... with hares being mauled, injured and killed as they run for their lives in fear and terror.

For example, at Doon & District, four hares were struck by greyhounds and put down because of their injuries; at Dundalk and Dowdallshill, six hares struck, four put down; at Tradaree, 13 hares struck by dogs, three "found dead in the paddock" the next day; at Gorey, four hares hit, with two dying... the list goes on.

Hopefully Ms Humphreys will reject the coursers' request for a licence to snatch hares from the wild for their cruel "sport" and that she and the government will follow the example of England Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who have banned hare coursing, and demonstrate that Ireland is a country that truly values its wildlife.

Aideen Yourell
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Hare coursing is barbaric - end it
Irish Independent, 15th August 2014

The shooting of a peregrine falcon in Co Wexford has rightly drawn condemnation from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys. The person responsible for blasting this rare and beautiful bird out of the sky should be prosecuted and anyone with information on the crime should report it to the gardai.

However, I find it somewhat ironic that the minister described the incident as "barbaric" and stated that the killing of the falcon "harms our reputation as a country that values its wildlife".

The Government, of which is she is part, permits the obscenity of live hare coursing, in which a supposedly protected wild creature (a unique species that survived the last Ice Age) is forced to run from pairs of hyped-up greyhounds at venues nationwide. Many of the hares suffer agonising injuries as a result of being mauled by the dogs.

The minister's brief happens to include the power to grant an annual licence to coursing clubs, enabling them to net hares for their "sport". The licence has not yet been issued for this season.

Given her professed concern for our wildlife and our reputation internationally as a country that cherishes that distinctive and multi-faceted heritage, would it be too much to expect that she might consider refusing the license this year?

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

Horse show is a PR boost for fox hunting
Belfast Telegraph, 12 August 2014

The lavish spectacle that was last week's Dublin Horse Show again showcased Ireland's equestrian industry. Sadly, this annual event also serves as a major PR boost to fox hunting.

We see representatives of various hunts in action, jumping fences and negotiating natural obstacles that replicate to a degree the rugged and challenging sweep of the countryside.

We are also treated to displays of traditional hunt pageantry: packs of hounds on their best behaviour, wagging their tails as they canter before the horses in ceremonial postcard fashion.

A benign image, but something is missing from the pretty picture: the fox. In a true-life hunting scenario, the pomp and pageantry quickly descends into a frenzy of blood-lust as the pack closes in on its prey.

Instead, we get the sanitised version, neatly packaged to whitewash one of the world's most barbaric bloodsports.

John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny

Where have all the badgers gone?
Tuam Herald, 28th March, 2014

Where have all the badgers gone?, one might ask. When Dr Chris Smal published The Badger and Habitat Survey of Ireland in 1995, he estimated a population of 200,000 in the Republic. Now it appears that only 80,000-90,000 remain.

Recently Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney gave a commitment to continue the killing of badgers for their unproven role in the spread of cattle TB. Sadly, it now appears that culling will not cease with the arrival of the long awaited vaccine. The Minister's predecessors also chose the same soft option. Blame the badger.

Since the Department of Agriculture escalated its pogrom on badgers in the latter half of the 1990s, their own records reveal more than 76,000 badgers have been eradicated to date. The killing is done under the guise of "scientific research". So much research and so little to show for it! The Department is truly blessed with a close ally, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which generously issues the specific "research" licence. Ironically, the latter is charged with the conservation and protection of the badger under our Irish Wildlife Act.

This is now the peak of the badgers' breeding season. Deep underground, the sounds of new life are everywhere. Small cubs are snuggling into mother's warmth for a cosy nap, having filled up with the highly nutritious milk on offer. But, tomorrow these particular babies may be abandoned, cold, hungry and doomed to an appalling end, having been orphaned by the dedication of Agriculture's badger trappers. No halt on snaring during the animals' most vulnerable time. Nice one, Minister.

Last year (2011) 5,700 more badgers met their end in that Department's cruel multi-strand wire snare. A previous Agriculture minister revealed some time ago that no less than 6,000 snares are set nightly across agriculture land. The number of badgers killed illegally on farmland is unknown but is reckoned to be in high figures. The pressures on our badgers are immense and gathering momentum every year.

Why is it that two decades of slaughtering badgers has failed to eradicate cattle TB? Could it be that we are targeting the wrong animal? Perhaps it would not be politically palatable to look elsewhere for solutions.

Badgerwatch notes the reference made by Minister Coveney to the ten years of research by the Independent Scientific Group (UK) which cost that country £50m.

He will recall the ISG also concluded that "the culling of badgers can play no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain". Scotland has been declared TB free without resorting to a badger culling strategy. The Dept of Agriculture was quoted in the Farmers Guardian 24/11/06, at which time it described culling as "a stop-gap measure that will NOT eradicate TB in cattle. Only a vaccine for badgers and cattle will eradicate the disease."

If it's not the solution, Minister, then please end the war on badgers.

Bernadette Barrett
Badgerwatch (Ireland)

Pope must also address the abuse of animals
Southern Star, 24 July 2014

Pope Francis is engaged in swinging an ecclesiastical scythe into the thick undergrowth of clerical sex abuse. His intention is to root out and eradicate this odious activity from within the Catholic Church.

While this papal vigour is to be commended, let us hope that Pope Francis can see that running parallel to this clerical sex abuse is the abuse of animals being practised by those who don the clerical garb.

The high level of Catholic clergy involved in blood sports is a scandal that hurts the non-human members of our society. For years, priests have been involved in hare coursing, fox hunting and shooting.

Their involvement in these evil activities has debased the teachings of the Church that they subscribe to. It transmits a message that killing animals for fun is an acceptable element of being a good Catholic. The sight of priests blessing packs of hunting hounds while wishing hunt followers a good animal killing season is offensive and shows no respect for creation.

Mixing with animal abusers shows how comfortable some priests are with a climate of abuse. The hunting and coursing fields hide a multitude of sins and is no place for those pure of thought and deed. No difference exists between animal and child abusers.

Pope Francis is starting to wash the stain of clerical sex abuse from the pages of the Church's history. While sluicing out the child abusers from the channels of the Church's organisation, perhaps he might also flush away the animal abusers who bear the Cross of Christ but defile the tenet of respect for all life.

John Tierney,
Campaigns Director,
Association of Hunt Saboteurs,
PO Box 4734, Dublin 1.


13. Campaign Quotes

"Prince Charles had spoken again and again, whenever he met Irish people, of his wish to come to Ireland and of the insistence of his security advisers that he should not. He told [Albert] Reynolds so when he met him during the Edinburgh summit in 1993. As Reynolds describes the conversation, he said to the prince: 'Sure what's stoppin' ya! You're welcome to come hunting if you want to.'" (Extract from "The Robinson Biography". published in The Sunday Times, 1st November, 1998.)

"I am of course supportive of any measures taken to end cruelty to animals" Cllr Joanne Pender (Independent), Kildare County Council, August 2014.

"I would support the banning of hare coursing and fox hunting." Cllr Justin Sinnott (Independent, Fingal County Council), August 2014.

"I always loved [greyhound racing]. I always loved coursing. Been following it for many years. Something you can never get away from thankfully. It's a great escape from the music business. It's great. I really enjoy it. It's great to be here in Tubbercurry [hare coursing meeting] - a great meeting altogether." Irish country singer, Jimmy Buckley in an interview with IrishTV. If you wish to register your disgust, send a comment to or Text/Phone +353 (0)87 066-7711.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has suspended two staff members of a Roscommon dog pound after allegations that 10 dogs were left without food or water over the August bank holiday weekend. The dogs were left alone in the shelter over the three-day weekend. A preliminary investigation was carried out after a member of the public alerted gardaν on Monday, August 4th. from ISPCA suspends staff amid concern dogs left without food, Irish Times, August 11th, 2014

Hunting, and those who supported it were closely associated with racing, and it is no surprise that Kelly notes that these two sports the most "securely anchored in the Irish recreational landscape". But while the elite practised hunting as an unproblematic blood sport, they contested the embrace of blood sports by the lower classes. Cockfighting, bull baiting and other blood sports were highly popular in the 18th century. By the start of the 19th century they were largely eradicated. Concerns about social order , especially in expanding urban areas, caused such blood sports to be condemned: they were deemed undesirable, and their associated debauchery - drinking, gambling and son on - challenged the maintenance of the social order. from an Irish Times review of "Sport in Ireland, 1600-1840" by James Kelly, 9th August 2014

"The use of snares in particular is an horrific practice. Oftentimes too the culling is done where there is no need for it, a neighbour of mine bought a heifer with TB at the mart without properly checking her before he got her. Rather than admit he was caught out by a sleeveen, he blamed the TB on the badgers from a wood on our property bounding his, and called the Department of Agriculture. Of course they put down snares everywhere and culled most of the badgers, but they weren't a TB threat - in 14 years grazing our animals on the same patch of land, we've never once had a beast come down with TB. A lot of farmers use culling to keep their herds in order rather than doing a bit of care themselves like injecting their herd once a year." from a comment left on a forum about Ireland's cruel badger snaring.

This image [of a bleeding horse] was taken at the Puck Fair yesterday, we've had stories of horses being beaten in broad daylight, being loaded into cattle trucks terrified. And don't even get me started on the raising of a terrified wild goat 60ft into the air for 3 days. Why do people think this is ok, just because it brings money to the local economy? Education on animal welfare is the only thing that will change the attitude to cruelty in this country, and what constitutes cruelty. Have a think about what you could do to help. Do you know teachers in schools that would be willing to have welfare representatives come in and give talks? We have loads of volunteers who could do this all over the country. Please share so that some people who may be in a position to help may do so. Thank you! from the Justice for Ireland's Horses Facebook page, August 11th, 2014

A whistleblower has revealed the "utter chaos" of last year's [UK] badger cull and warned of a repeat when a second one begins in weeks. The cull supervisor said one shooter involved in last year's cull stalked a badger on a golf course and in another incident 20 armed police surrounded a field after a protester grabbed a loaded rifle from a stalker's truck. The whistleblower, who requested anonymity, also claimed that a contractor had falsified field samples to allow him to spend time with his mistress at a hotel paid for as part of the scheme, which cost £7m, the equivalent of £4,000 for each badger killed. from Badger cull hit by trysts and the trigger-happy, Sunday Times August 10th 2014


14. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now

Irish Government: Save foxes and dogs from horrific cruelty

Save Irish hares from cruel coursing Irish Government: Save foxes and dogs from horrific cruelty

Minister Simon Coveney: Ban ALL Tail Docking - No Exemptions

Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW

Petition to Ban horrific Hare Coursing Cruelty in Ireland

Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

Protect the Irish Hare

End Cruel Blood Sport of Fox Hunting in Ireland

Limerick Racecourse: Stop hosting cruel hare coursing

Coillte - Ban hunters from your forests

National Trust - stop allowing hunters and terriermen on your land

Ban Fur Sales on eBay

Stormont Northern Ireland Assembly: Ban Fox and Stag Hunting in Northern Ireland

Ban Torturous Hanging of Greyhounds in Spain

Dunnes Stores: Lift Ban on Animal Charities Fundraising

Arts Council of Ireland: Stop funding animal circuses

Stop the EU funding bullfighting

Stop Torturing Bears: End Bear Bile Farming In China

Add report option "Animal Abuse" on Facebook

End Bullfighting in France

STOP Spain's cruel and barbaric Toro de la Vega

Protect Pygmy Rabbit from Extinction


Please make a donation to ICABS

If you like our work, please consider making a donation. 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 the Paypal button at to make a donation or send a cheque made payable to ICABS to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Thank you very much.

Top ways you can help the campaign

Top ways you can help the campaign
• Join our email list and respond to our Action Alerts
• Become a campaign supporter and make a donation to help fund our efforts
• Contact your local politicians and ask them to support a ban on blood sports
• Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube
• Sign up for our free text alert service and receive occasional campaign updates to your phone
• Link to our website and display one of our banners
• Monitor blood sports meetings in your area and provide us with photos, video and reports.
• Write a letter to your local newspaper about the cruelty of blood sports
• Sign and collect signatures for our petitions
• Organise a fund-raiser to help raise funds for the campaign
• Set up an online anti-blood sports group to cover your area.
• Download, print and display our posters and leaflets
• Set up an information stand at your school/library/youth group/adult group, etc
• Introduce your friends to our website and encourage them to get involved.
• Simply keeping your ear to the ground. about any blood-sport related incidents in your area.

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

Please consider making a donation to ICABS. For more details, please click on the button below or follow this link to find out how to become a campaign supporter. Thank you.

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