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08.08.08 - 8 action alerts for 8 animals in 8 minutes
8th August 2008

Between now and the 8th of the 8th, 2008, please spare 8 minutes for these 8 animals: fox, hare, deer, mink, badger, cock, bull, rabbit. Check out our new campaign video and respond to our 8 one-minute action alerts. Thank you very much for your help.


Help highlight our action alerts - Display this video on your website

Click on each of the 8 links below to quickly respond to our 8 action alerts. If you have more time to spare, please scroll down for additional details about each action alert.

One-Minute Action Alert 1: Help foxes - Demand ban on foxhunting
One-Minute Action Alert 2: Help hares - Demand ban on coursing and hare hunting
One-Minute Action Alert 3: Urge Minister Gormley to refuse deerhunt licence
One-Minute Action Alert 4: Urge Minister Gormley to ban mink hunting
One-Minute Action Alert 5: Demand end to cruel badger snaring
One-Minute Action Alert 6: Help expose illegal cockfighters
One-Minute Action Alert 7: Boycott the bullrings
One-Minute Action Alert 8: Help rabbits - Demand ban on horrific ferreting

Action Alert 1: Help foxes - Demand ban on foxhunting

Foxhunting is one of Ireland's most cruel and inhumane activities. Foxes are chased to exhaustion and ripped apart by packs of hounds. If they manage to find refuge underground during a hunt, terriers are sent after them to viciously drag them back out into the open. If a domestic animal was abused the same way that foxes are abused by foxhunts, it would be a criminal offence.

Opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want foxhunting made illegal. Please make your voice heard. Call on Agriculture Minister, Brendan Smith, to ensure that foxhunting is banned under the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

View our Foxhunting Cruelty Video

SAMPLE LETTER 1
(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.)

Minister Brendan Smith
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Dear Minister Smith,

I am one of the majority of Irish people who want foxhunting banned. Please ensure that the Animal Health and Welfare Bill prohibits the chasing of foxes with packs of hounds and the associated foxhunting cruelty of terrierwork, digging out and earthstopping. Foxhunting is an abhorrent assault on our wildlife heritage and a complete ban is long overdue. Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

SAMPLE LETTER 2
(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.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403.
Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am writing to appeal to you to amend the Wildlife Act so that foxes are protected from the terrible cruelty of foxhunting. Foxhunting is one of Ireland's worst blood sports; it is totally unacceptable that our wildlife legislation is failing to save foxes from the horrific injuries and deaths they suffer during hunts.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

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 a scent which is artificially laid across the countryside. 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.

Write to your TD at:
Dáil Éireann, 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.

For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website.

Action Alert 2: Help hares - Demand ban on coursing and hare hunting

Thousands of hares are cruelly snatched from the wild every year for use as lures in coursing events. Some of the hares will be battered and mauled by the greyhounds. Some will sustain injuries so severe that they will die during or following the coursing. All will suffer the fear and stress of running for their lives. Opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want coursing banned.

Please ask Minister John Gormley to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club on the grounds that coursing is a cruel blood sport that results in injury and death to the Irish Hare, a species he is entrusted to protect. Remind the Minister that the "Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland" report published by his department in May describes the overall conservation status of the Irish Hare as "poor" and that "factors likely to reduce hare numbers locally include hunting."

Another blood sport which poses a threat to the hare species is hare hunting, where a pack of hounds chase hares and rip them to pieces when caught. Please also ask Minister Gormley to ban this blood sport.

View our Coursing Cruelty Video

SAMPLE LETTER
(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.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403.
Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

The conservation status of the Irish Hare has been described as "poor" in the recently published "Report on Status of Habitats and Species in Ireland". Furthermore, the NPWS division of your department has confirmed on its website that "numbers have decreased in recent years". This is cause for enormous concern to myself and the majority of Irish people who value the hare as an important part of our wildlife heritage.

Minister, as you are no doubt aware, most people in this country want the hare to be allowed to live free from persecution by coursing and hare hunting clubs. We oppose the cruelty inherent in these outdated activities but also the threat they pose to regional hare populations and the species as a whole.

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 the NPWS. 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 implore you to act on the wishes of the electorate, and on the stark findings of the habitats and species report, and immediately ban coursing and hare hunting.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,

Name/Location

Action Alert 3: Urge Minister Gormley to refuse deerhunt licence

Carted deer hunting is a cruel "sport" which causes horrific suffering to defenceless red deer. It subjects the deer - captive bred specifically for the abuse - to a distressing ordeal, leaving them exhausted, injured and severely at risk of dying from heart failure. During the twice-weekly hunts, the deer frantically tries to outrun the horseback hunters and hounds. It crashes through hedges, across roads and even into ponds and rivers.

According to official monitoring reports obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act, the victims include deer dying of aneurisms, a deer drowned in a quarry, a deer that died after sustaining fractured ribs, a deer hanging by its front leg on barbed wire and a deer that dropped dead after trying to escape over an 8ft wall.

Carted deer hunting is licensed by the Minister for the Environment. Please contact current Minister, John Gormley, and urge him to refuse a licence.

Sample Letter
(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.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am writing to urge you to refuse a licence to the Ward Union hunt for carted deer hunting activities. The captive bred, domesticated deer used by the hunt are protected animals under the Protection of Animals Act and may not be legally hounded by hunters. It is contrary to existing legislation to licence the activities of this hunt.

As a Green Party Minister opposed to blood sports, I trust that you will do whatever it takes to prevent the Ward Union from resuming their terrorisation of deer. Your decision to refuse a licence will be widely welcomed, not only by the majority of locals in County Meath who want this hunt stopped but also by the compassionate majority across Ireland who abhor animal cruelty.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

Action Alert 4: Urge Minister Gormley to ban mink hunting

The status of the otter species is "poor" according to the "Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland" report published by the Department of the Environment in May 2008. According to a National Parks and Wildlife Service survey in 2006, otters have declined by 18 per cent in the past 25 years and numbers are continuing to fall. It is clear that urgent action must be taken to help halt the decline in the otter population. It is imperative that this includes a ban on mink hunting, a blood sport which is not only cruel to mink but also results in huge disturbances to the otters which inhabit the same stretches of rivers.

Thanks to years of lobbying by ICABS and an EU Directive, otter hunting is now illegal in Ireland. However, to circumvent the ban, otter hunters simply started hunting mink instead. We have always maintained that since mink and otters inhabit the same stretches of river, any form of hunting will significantly disturb the now protected otter. Please contact Minister John Gormley and ask him to urgently bring mink hunting to an end as a way to help halt the decline in otter numbers.

View our Mink Hunting Cruelty Video

SAMPLE LETTER
(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.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

SAMPLE LETTER
(Please compose your own personal letter if possible. If you do not have time to do this, please send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Gormley,

I was dismayed to learn from the recently published "Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland" report that the conservation status of the otter is "poor". A survey carried out by the NPWS division of your department has previously found that otters have declined by 18 per cent and are continuing to decline.

I urge you to ensure that this precious species is given every possible protection. This protection must include a ban on mink hunting. With otters and mink inhabiting the same stretches of river, mink hunting is a significant threat to the otter species and its habitat. The disturbance caused by hunters on riverbanks and in the water can be clearly seen in an Irish Council Against Blood Sports presentation at www.youtube.com/icabs

As someone who opposes the cruelty of mink hunting and wants the otter's future safeguarded, I urge you, Minister, to bring mink hunting to an end in Ireland.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

Action Alert 5: Demand end to cruel badger snaring

Tens of thousands of badgers (a "protected" species in Ireland) have been cruelly snared and killed by the Department of Agriculture to-date. The assault on the badger species is part of their so-called TB Eradication Scheme, a failed and discredited operation that has been described as "slaughter masquerading as science".

View our Badger Snaring Cruelty Video

Please appeal to Agriculture Minister, Brendan Smith, to show compassion and suspend the cruel badger snaring operation. Remind the Minister that the badger is a protected species in Ireland and that the Protection of Animals Act, for which he is responsible, makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal. Tell him that a recent report stated that "badger culling apparently has the capacity to increase badger-to-badger transmission of infection, potentially undermining anticipated reductions in badger-to-cattle transmission."

Minister Brendan Smith
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Please write to the Minister for the Environment and 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 John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie (with a copy to Ciaran.O'Keeffe@environ.ie*)
Tel: 01 888 2403.
Fax: 01 878 8640.

* Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe
Director, Licensing Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Tel: 01-888 3214

SAMPLE LETTER
(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 Sirs,

I wish to register my outrage that tens of thousands of badgers have been cruelly snared and killed by the Department of Agriculture in recent years. There is absolutely no justification for using these cruel snares which cause terrible stress and suffering to badgers. When caught, the badgers struggle frantically throughout the night to escape before being shot to death by a Department of Agriculture employee.

This failed approach to eradicating bovine TB has been described as "slaughter masquerading as science" and it's not difficult to understand why. Tackling the disease should focus fully on developing a bovine TB vaccine (as is being done in the UK) and not using defenceless badgers as scapegoats. The badger is a protected species under the Wildlife Act and should be given the protection it is entitled to.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

Action Alert 6: Help expose illegal cockfighters

Despite being illegal in Ireland, the blood sport of cockfighting still takes place in some parts of the country. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on members of the public to report any information about cockfighting activities to the Gardai. For the phone numbers of Garda stations all over Ireland, please visit: http://www.garda.ie/Stations/Default.aspx. You can also pass on information to the ISPCA National Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

Similar to other blood sports like foxhunting, hare coursing and carted deer hunting (all of which are still legal here), the typical cockfight involves horrendous animal cruelty. Two cocks are thrown into an enclosed pit and encouraged to rip each other apart until one succumbs and dies. This bloody combat is cheered on by spectators, many of whom will be gambling on the outcome.

Two forms of cockfighting are carried out - "naked heel" and "spur fighting". In naked heel, the birds' natural spurs are sharpened to maximise the injury they can inflict. Spur fighting, meanwhile, sees three-inch long steel spurs being attached to the sides of their legs. These are designed to cause even greater injuries and result in more savage battles. Cock fights can last up to 25 minutes or as long as the birds can withstand the injuries.

View our Cockfighting Cruelty Video

Action Alert 7: Boycott the bullrings

If you and your family are holidaying in a bullfighting country this summer, please boycott bullrings and bullfighting museums and avoid purchasing bullfighting-related souvenirs. If you have friends or relatives who are visiting a bullfighting country, please show them a copy of our anti-bullfighting leaflet and ask them to stay away from the bullrings. The "Have happy holiday memories! This Summer, Boycott Bullfighting" leaflet can be downloaded from http://banbloodsports.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/bullfighting-2007_a4_poster.pdf (pdf, 1.9 Mb)

Bullfighting takes place in Spain, Portugal, France, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. If you choose to holiday in these countries and wish to totally avoid the towns and villages where bullfighting is hosted, you can download a location list from www.banbloodsports.com/ln-0705i.htm or view it on your mobile phone at www.banbloodsports.com/bull

Please also support our latest anti-bullfighting action alerts:
ICABS calls on Vodafone to drop bullfighting from ad
Paddy Power! Stop the bloody bullring bets
Google: We will not disallow bullfight ads

Action Alert 8: Help rabbits - Demand ban on horrific ferreting

ICABS has renewed its call for ferreting to be banned after a newspaper article highlighted the appalling cruelty of the activity. A profile of a ferreting enthusiast published in a midlands newspaper told of how ferrets are used to blind rabbits by biting into their eyes.

Please join us now in calling on the Department of Agriculture to act urgently to end the horrendous practice. Ferreting involves sending a ferret down a burrow to trap rabbits. The rabbits are either chased out of the hole and into nets or viciously gripped in place by the ferret while a hunter digs away the earth from above them.

The following is a ferreter's first-hand description of the activity published in the Westmeath Topic of March 13th, 2008.

"On a typical day I'd get up at six in the morning while it's still dark. People contact me, often lads with greyhounds. These lads would be looking for rabbits...I bring my nets, cages, and of course my ferret finder. It's a collar you put on the ferret before he's sent underground. It beeps like a metal detector, so you know where he is...It's handier, because he 'pooches' the rabbit ('It's a certain kind of cul-de-sac where the rabbit goes up into to hide, where the ferret tries to tear at him to make him move). If he doesn't move the rabbit you have to use a barn spade (which is called a ferreting bar) to dig him out...You have two different types of hunting ferret; you have the 'eye' ferret and you have the 'brain' ferret. An eye ferret in a hole only goes for the rabbit's eye - he blinds him. The 'brain' ferret, he'll bite straight onto the head between the ears."

"Like I said, most of the rabbits go into the nets. The fellas who called me out would often take them off me. They sometimes use them for teasing the greyhound in a thing called a 'rolling cage' which is a small round cage they put the rabbit in to tease the dog before a race."

It is highly questionable that greyhound men suddenly have mercy on the traumatised, and probably injured, rabbit and release it back to the wild. It is much more likely that the rabbit is let out of the cage and used a live lure for the greyhounds.

This highly illegal act of "blooding" is thought to be commonplace in the industry. Unscrupulous owners and breeders believe that letting greyhounds tear a rabbit asunder will keep them keen for running on the track or up a coursing field.

Greyhound scene commentator, John Martin, is on record as saying that "greyhound racing would not continue to exist without blooding [and] it follows that, with a constant greyhound population of close on 30,000, blooding must be widespread."

Writing in the Irish Independent of January 12th, 1994, Mr Martin added: "Do not expect an admission of that from Bord na gCon, the country's semi-state greyhound racing authority. To concede the point would be to accept that they are the custodians of a sport whose very existence is based on blooding."

In our appeal to the Department of Agriculture, ICABS stressed both the cruelty of ferreting and its links to the illegal act of blooding.

SAMPLE LETTER
(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.)

Minister Brendan Smith
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie (with a copy to AHWBill@agriculture.gov.ie)
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Dear Minister Smith,

I was absolutely appalled to learn about the horrors of ferreting and am writing to urge you to ensure that the new animal welfare legislation being drafted by your department includes a total ban on this sickening activity.

Ferreting involves sending a ferret down a burrow to trap rabbits. The rabbits are either chased out of the hole and into nets or viciously gripped in place by the ferret while a hunter digs away the earth from above them. According to a ferreting enthusiast quoted in a recent newspaper report, two types of ferrets are used - "an eye ferret goes for the rabbit's eye - he blinds him [while] the 'brain' ferret will bite straight onto the head between the ears."

If your department is serious about improving animal welfare in Ireland, ferreting and similarly cruel activities must be prohibited under the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill .

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

More information about blood sport cruelty

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

Foxhunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition


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