Thumbs up for draghunting on TG4
25 August 2006
Draghunting, the humane alternative to foxhunting, has this week been given a major thumbs up on TG4’s An Tuath Nua programme. Heralded as the future for blood sports groups, the activity was not only praised for being animal-friendly but also because participants are guaranteed “a good run, good jumps and great fun” during every outing.
In contrast to foxhunting, the route of a draghunt is pre-planned to ensure that riders are given a challenging and pacey course to run. No such guarantees exist in foxhunting with its disjointed, stop-and-start routine - hounds can lose the scent and, when a fox is killed, they have to spend time finding another to terrorise; this invariably means a lot of hanging around for followers.
Fionnuala Ní Chíobháin of the South Leitrim Harriers Draghunt explained on the An Tuath Nua programme that the scent spread across the countryside is made from linseed oil, paraffin oil and urine.
"The hounds follow this scent and the horses follow the hounds," she said. "Everything is pre-planned; the route is pre-ordained. We know exactly where we’ll be jumping and running. It’s easier to have a better day as we know we’ll have some good jumps and it’ll be safe. We know where we’re going and everyone is promised a great day as it’s good running, jumping and fun!”
Members of the "hunt" interviewed on the programme praised draghunting as being:
"I suppose many Irish hunts will go down this [draghunting] route," commented Fionnuala Ní Chíobháin on An Tuath Nua. "It’s growing all the time as it’s safe and we’re not bothering any foxes or animals. You’re promised a good run, some good jumps and great fun every time you go out."
Images: Draghunt scenes from An Tuath Nua