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.


Share on Facebook

Cllr Joe Behan (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
As an Independent TD in 2010, Joe Behan voted AGAINST the Bill which banned carted deer hunting.

Cllr John Brady (Sinn Fein, Wicklow County Council)
"As an animal lover and someone that works continuously on animal welfare issues, I totally oppose all forms of 'blood sports' I think the practice of killing or maiming animals for someone's enjoyment is wrong and should not be even considered as a sport." from an email to ICABS, June 2015.

Sharon Briggs (People Before Profit Alliance, Wicklow):
"As a carer of cats and a dog, I abhor cruelty to animals in any shape or form. Additionally, I wouldn't hesitate to support a ban on the elite and unecessary activities of foxhunting and hare coursing." from an email to ICABS, February 2016.

"I totally oppose this kind of killing, I always have...I will never understand this kind of cruel senseless killing." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society.

Stephen Donnelly, TD (Social Democrats, Wicklow):
On 27th March 2013, Stephen Donnelly supported amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw hare coursing, foxhunting, terrierwork, digging-out, ferreting and fur farming.

Andrew Doyle, TD (Fine Gael, Wicklow):
Fine Gael Wicklow Deputy, Andrew Doyle, said today that laws governing puppy farming are long overdue and called on the Environment Minister to introduce regulations originally promised in 2006. Deputy Doyle added that a recent raid on a ‘puppy farm’ in Co. Wicklow, where 82 dogs were found mistreated and almost a quarter had to be put down highlighted just how badly regulations are needed and just how negligent the Fianna Fáil/Green Government is in not introducing them. “How many more raids on farms that treat dogs in such a repugnant manner will it take before Fianna Fáil and the Greens act on this practice? from a media statement issued by Andrew Doyle, Sunday 22nd July 2007.

Anna Doyle (People Before Profit, Wicklow):
"I am against all animal cruelty. I totally disagree with fox hunting it serves no purpose except sport for the elite. Hares are an endangered species who are protected - the license issued for coursing are also for elite groups who are so just killing sport... I disagree with animals being used [in] circus acts. I am not an animal activist as I agree with horse racing [and] greyhound racing which needs closer regulations but not banning." from an email to ICABS, February 2016.

Anne Ferris TD (Labour Party, Wicklow):
In March 2013, Anne Ferris TD voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals - foxhunting, hare coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling, fur farming and the use of animals in circus performances.

Simon Harris, TD (Fine Gael, Wicklow):
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has stated that he is looking forward to the introduction of the new animal welfare bill. Deputy Harris stated ‘I have spoken directly to Minister Coveney regarding several issues around animal welfare in County Wicklow. Minister Coveney has stressed that the new bill will provide for a clearer level of expectation of care for animals as well as trying to deal with some of the issues around how companies interacting with animals must act. ‘I am confident that the changes that will emerge when this bill is introduced will provide greater clarity around animal health and welfare. ‘The Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 is currently at Committee stage and the updating of this Bill is a significant positive improvement on the existing bill and should bring necessary changes for the improvement of the health and welfare of animals,’ concluded Deputy Harris., November 26 2012

"To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ban the docking of the tails of dogs-puppies and the removal of the dew nail, considering that both of these practices are banned by the Irish veterinarians body; if he will consider introducing such a ban in animal welfare legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter." (from a Dail Question, 3rd December 2013)

Cllr Steven Matthews (Green Party, Wicklow County Council)
"I'm against animal cruelty in any bloodsport form." from a tweet to ICABS, December 4th 2014.

Billy Timmins, TD (Renua, Wicklow)
"As a Party [Fine Gael], we are not opposed to countryside sports" (From an email to an ICABS supporter, February 2011). Billy Timmins voted AGAINST the staghunt ban in June 2010.

Deputy Billy Timmins is calling for a temporary suspension of the Open Hunting Season if temperatures remain exceptionally low. The freezing weather means many animals, such as deer herds, move to low ground where food is more commonly available. However, this also leaves them an easy target for hunters. Deputy Timmins has requested that Environment Minister, John Gormley, should introduce a temporary hunting suspension until the freezing weather conditions pass. 'It would be nice if gun club members, who are responsible country sports enthusiasts, would take the initiative and act in a professional and ethical way and introduce a voluntary suspension of shooting of any wildlife, whether that be deer, wild birds, waterfowl or game birds during this period of adverse weather. It could be in advance of a statutory ban.' from Call for temporary ban on all hunting, Wicklow People, 08 December 2010.

Return to Election 2016 | See the views of All Candidates

An Irish Council Against Blood Sports website
Visit our campaign website at