IFA is "selling out": anti-hunt farming group
25 May 2006
The Irish Farmers Association has been accused of "selling out" by inviting foxhunters to join its IFA Countryside scheme. Strongly criticising the move, Philip Lynch, chairman of Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass, remarked: "it appears that all the principles of the IFA are up for sale."
The IFA Countryside website acknowledges that "the Irish countryside is a great national resource which Irish farmers work hard to maintain and enhance" but goes on to outline how the scheme is open to those with "an interest in...Irish field sport activities".
Quoted in the Irish Independent of May 22nd, Mr Lynch stated: "It's a crying shame that our organisation [the IFA] is about to make hunters, who are nothing but vandals, members of our organisation. With IFA Countryside, they are bringing in people to the organisation who are not even farmers. I've been told they won't have voting rights but these people can still appear at our fences, wave an IFA card and say 'we're insured, we can enter your property'."
He went on to emphasise that farmers trying to protect their lands and livestock from trespassing hunters are relying on the IFA to help them.
The Irish Independent article revealed that several cases are currently before the district courts involving farmers seeking compensation from hunters who allegedly damaged crops.
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports views the invitation to blood sports enthusiasts to join IFA Countryside as being incompatible with the aims of the IFA which was established "to present a coherent national voice for all Irish farmers on all issues affecting their livelihoods".
Every hunting season, farmers and landowners around the country are plagued by hunts coming on to their land and posing a threat to their livelihoods. Among the complaints are damage to boundary fences, crops and pastures, the disturbance of livestock and pets, the spread of disease and abusive and threatening behaviour from hunters when told to stay off private land.
Trespassing hunts will be "dealt with severely": farmers group
The chairman of Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass has warned that hunts can expect the "severest legal action" if they continue to trespass on to farmland. The statement, published in the Kilkenny Voice newspaper, comes following an incident which saw a landowner desperately firing a shot into the air to keep a hunt at bay.
The statement from Mr Philip Lynch was published in the Kilkenny Voice of 28 March 2006 and appears below:
"On Stephen's Day last an embattled farmer in the Thomastown area of Co Kilkenny was compelled to fire his shotgun into the air, away from the hunt, over his farm. This as a last resort to stop a local hunt from entering and terrorising his livestock and vandalising his property. The shot was the only thing that could be heard over the din of the hunt.
"The farmer was one of 14 landowners in this area who had over a number of years placed advertisements in the local newspapers and sent letters to all five hunts that vandalise the area, asking them to stay away. All to no avail.
"The IFA had failed them in not implementing their agreements with the hunts. The Thomastown farmers then looked for the support of Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass (FAFT) and with our support and their determination an ultimatum has been issued to the hunting clubs.
"The hunting fraternity were then summoned to a meeting of the farmers in question, in the presence of their solicitor and they were threatened with the severest legal action if the hunts continued to trespass and vandalise the area.
"The hunts then apologised for their actions and stated that they would not intimidate or trespass on those 14 farmers' lands gain. The farmers thanked FAFT for the support they received and we will continue to be vigilant and monitor the hunts' movements to ensure that those events do not recur ever again.
"It is most regrettable that this favourable outcome to those farmers' problems could only be achieved through the barrel of a shotgun. Mr McDowell, please note. So much for the hunts' claim [that they] only go where they ask and have received permission from farmers.
"In the Tullaroan area also where the local hunt have been intimidating farmers and vandalising their property, video evidence of this was submitted by the farmers at a meeting with Kilkenny Gardai. A satisfactory outcome was achieved. It is now expected that this behaviour is at an end but video surveillance by the farmers will continue and any hunts in breach of farmers' wishes will be dealt with severely."
Hunters continue to hound landowners
Hunters have been branded arrogant, bad-mannered trespassers and now ICABS presents the evidence to prove it!
Throughout the fox and deer hunting seasons, our office receives countless calls and emails from landowners plagued by hunts. These unfortunate individuals have to contend with hunts trespassing onto their land and causing damage to boundary ditches and fences. This in addition to invasions by marauding hounds which pose a severe threat to any present livestock.
Even worse are the attempts to intimidate farmers who chose to make their land off-limits to the hunt. In our series of sample images, we show how hunts are making life a misery not just for our wildlife but for farmers up and down the country.
ICABS urges the ever growing number of anti-hunt landowners to immediately contact the Gardai if there are any incidents involving hunters or hounds. Telephone the local Gardai but also put the complaint in writing and forward a copy to the Garda Commissioner at Garda HQ, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.
More information for farmers/landowners can be found in the Farmers section of our website. Included is a "Troubled by the Hunt" leaflet which details the recommended action to take to make land off limits to hunters and how to keep it that way. Also available is a selection of "no hunting signs" to print.
Please contact us for copies to give to landowner friends and neighbours.