General Election 2016 - Where do the candidates stand on animal cruelty issues?

'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated' - Mahatma Gandhi
'Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation' - Martin Luther King

Before voting in the general election on Friday 26th February, read our guide to the candidates and where they stand on animal cruelty issues. Please make your vote count for the animals.

Individual candidate views may differ from official party policies, to which members are expected to follow in Dail Eireann. Click on the link to view party policies in relation to animal issues. Help us expand this list - let us know about responses you receive from candidates. If you are a candidate and wish to be included in this list, please get in touch with us now.


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Charlie Flanagan, TD (Fianna Fail, Laois):
"As local TD I condemn this horrible cruelty." February 2013 tweet from Charlie Flanagan TD, in response to a report which outlined that "animal rights groups have condemned an attack in Co Laois on a fox which was found hanging on a gate after being shot and skinned."

Sean Fleming, TD (Fianna Fail, Laois):
"To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he intends to alter the current open season for wild female deer to begin on 1 October and end on 30 April in place of the current open season which starts on 1 November and ending on 28 February in view of the fact that female deer give birth beginning in May and are heavily pregnant from February onwards carrying a fully formed fetus and during October female deer still have dependant calves/fawns and to kill the mother at this time would result inthe death from starvation over a number of weeks for the orphaned calf/fawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter." Dail question from Sean Fleming to Jimmy Deenihan, 22 January 2013.

"To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide the list of locations in respect of the number of licences he has issued under Section 42 of the Wildlife Act which provides for the shooting of wild deer outside the designated open season and allows for night time shooting from the public road with the use of high powered lamps in view of the fact that the Summary Jurisdiction (Ireland) Act 1851 prohibits discharge of a firearm from within 60 feet of a public road; if the shooting of wild deer in this situation is legal and even though it is highly dangerous to local communities it has the potential to promote the illegal taking of deer; the reason he continues to issue permits allowing for the culling of female deer while they still have dependant young, which results in the dependant calf/fawn suffering an horrendous death over a number of weeks; and if he will make a statement on the matter." Dail question from Sean Fleming to Jimmy Deenihan, 26th October, 2011.

Sinead Moore (Green Party, Laois):
"Yes [in favour of a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing]" from a tweet to ICABS, January 19th 2016.

Brian Stanley, TD (Sinn Fein, Laois):
On 21 March 2012, Brian Stanley, TD asked the Minister for Agriculture "if minks, cats and racing horses will be included in the upcoming Animal Welfare Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter." Read the full Dail Question and Answer.

Senator John Whelan (Labour Party, Laois):
In August 2012, John Whelan condemned stag hunting as a "relic of our colonial past" and said it's "best to leave it where it is…consigned to history!!". He made the comment in response to a article outlining how hunters are seeking the return of the banned Ward Union staghunt. "Stag hunting does not have its roots or traditions in rural Ireland but is a throw-back to Mad King George and our colonial past," Senator Whelan stated. "It is not pursued, desired or missed by country people or rural Ireland but an elitist and cruel pursuit previously practised in one part of County Meath."

"Stag hunting has no basis in rural Irish tradition; cannot by any stretch of the imagination be seen to be representative of rural Ireland or the traditional lifestyle and activities enjoyed and cherished in rural Ireland," he added. "There is NO commitment by this Government to overturn the Ward Union Hunt ban and I for one would vigorously oppose any attempt to have stag hunting re-introduced to this country."

"Iceland resumes disputed fin whale hunt (via @thejournal_ie) - bad form - EU should intervene and apply some pressure" Senator John Whelan in a 17th June 2013 tweet.

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