Minister questioned about Ward Union hunt
TDs Tony Gregory and Ciarán Cuffe have questioned the Environment Minister about the Ward Union deerhunt. Minister Roche confirmed that two deer sustained fatal injuries during last season.
Question 239 - Answered on 1st December 2005
Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of deer killed during the 2004-05 Ward Union hunt; the causes of death; the circumstances in which they sustained fatal injuries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ref No: 37369/05
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr Dick Roche): The report on the monitoring of the Ward Union hunt for the 2004-05 season compiled by Department of Agriculture and Food veterinary inspector indicated that two stags died during hunts. Both animals died following recapture: one from a ruptured pericardium and the other from a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Prior to issuing a licence for the 2005-06 season, officials of my Department met representatives of the Ward Union hunt and outlined their concerns that these fatalities incurred. The outcome was the inclusion of new conditions in the licence to improve recapture procedures and limiting recapture of the deer to when this can be done without danger to the deer.
Question 240 - Answered on 1st December 2005
Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason a licence was granted to the Ward Union hunt due to the recommendation of the local regional manager of the National Parks and Wildlife Service that it may be highly illegal and should not be licensed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Ref No: 37374/05)
Question 247 - Answered on 1st December 2005
Ciarán Cuffe: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will intervene to stop the Ward Union deer hunt on the grounds that it breaches the Protection of Animals Act. (Ref No: 37374/05)
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr Dick Roche): I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 and 247 together.
I refer to the reply to Question No. 528 of 29 November 2005. Issues relating to animal welfare are the statutory responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Food under section 2 of the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1965 and section 1 of the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes Act 1984.
Question 528 - Answered on 29 November 2005
Ciarán Cuffe: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason for his licensing of the Ward Union deer hunt in view of an apparent recommendation by a senior National Parks and Wildlife Service official that the hunt should not be licensed. (Ref No: 36885/05)
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr Dick Roche): Section 26(1) of the Wildlife Act 1976 provides that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government may grant to the master or other person in charge of a pack of stag hounds, a licence authorising the hunting of deer by that pack, during such period or periods as is or are specified in the licence. Legal advice was obtained through the Attorney General’s office in 1999 confirming the long-standing interpretation of section 26, to the effect that it provides for the licensing of carted deer hunting irrespective of the status of the deer, wild or captive.
A regional wildlife official of my Department again raised questions relating to possible implications of a definition of “wild animal” in the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, that is, that if the deer hunted by the Ward Union Hunt were not covered by that definition, the Ward Union Hunt might not in consequence require a licence under the Wildlife Acts.
This issue was carefully considered in my Department and the conclusion was that since the term “wild animal” was nowhere used in section 26(1) of the Wildlife Act 1976 the operation of that provision could not be considered to be affected by the issue raised. On this basis, it was determined that the Ward Union Hunt required to be licensed and a licence was granted for the 2005-06 season.