Priest plugs cruel hunt
31 August 2004
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports congratulates Cian O'Connor on his gold medal win in the recent Olympic games.
During an RTE News report on the celebrations, however, we were deeply shocked and disappointed to hear the parish priest of Ratoath giving a positive plug to an internationally condemned deer hunt.
Fr Gerry Stuart, stated: "We are no stranger to horses here in Ratoath - we have the Ward Union Hunt, the Ward Union Pony Club, etc..."
The Ward Union Hunt is the only known hunt of its kind in the world in that they use domesticated deer. Along with a pack of hounds, mounted members of the hunt chase the captive-bred deer across Meath and North County Dublin twice every week between November and March.
The Ward Union's abusive treatment of deer was exposed on RTE's Primetime in March 2004. Shocking footage captured by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports was featured in the programme. These sickening scenes showed members of the hunt wrestling an exhausted deer to the ground at the end of a hunt. Also shown was a bloodied and injured deer which had been chased for hours across the countryside.
This is hardly an activity to be promoted by a parish priest in this the 21st Century. We wonder if Fr Stuart is aware of the controversy surrounding this hunt, and how veterinary inspectors from the Department of Agriculture concluded that it is "inhumane". The inspectors reported deer in distress, i.e. a deer hanging by his front leg on barbed wire; a deer which died of an aneurism; a deer "accidentally" choked on capture, and "a deer, having run 8 miles in 90 minutes, showing extreme physical distress, panting through its mouth, with a lather of white foam around its muzzle". (Click Here to view the full report)
We have today written to Fr Stuart, enclosing video stills of Ward Union deer in distress. Perhaps this might bring home to him the cruel reality of an activity he seems to take some pride in. Appealing to him to instead condemn blood sports, we quoted paragraph 2418 of the Catholic Catechism which states that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly."
More Information: Carted Deer Hunting
Latest News - Carted Deer Hunting:
ICABS launches campaign postcards (12 August 2004)
Ban Carted Deer Hunting Website