Hunt paintings show only half the story
30 January 2007
A picture is worth a thousand words, but if it's a hunting scene hanging in a stately home, you‘re only getting half the story, writes ICABS Campaign Director, Aideen Yourell. In a letter published in the Irish Independent, she highlights how the animal cruelty aspect of hunting is rarely acknowledged by blinkered hunt followers.
Another side to hunting
"There is a side to hunting that you will never see portrayed in the paintings that adorn many a hallway around the country," wrote hunting enthusiast Caitriona Murphy [in reference to the "hardship" encountered by mounted hunters who come a cropper at fences and ditches]. (Irish Independent, January 16).
One side to hunting that will certainly never be seen in these paintings is the cruelty meted out to the defenceless victims. This side to hunting is carefully hidden from view and even hunt followers like Caitriona Murphy herself are unlikely to be exposed to the horror of seeing a squealing fox being dug out of its earth, or the searing sight of a fox or hare being ripped apart by hounds.
Spare a thought also for the horses which are pushed to their limits and beyond during hunt outings. We have seen horses being whipped and kicked when they hesitate in front of insurmountable obstacles. One hunt official is on record as saying: "I'd need four horses to keep me going for the season, between horses getting cut and broke down and whatever..."
A picture is worth a thousand words, but if it's a hunting scene hanging in a stately home, you‘re only getting half the story.
Paintings you're unlikely to find in a stately home
If you spot a hunting scene on display in a hotel or pub, educate the manager about the reality of blood sports in Ireland. Enquire about his or her stance towards activities involving animal cruelty. Suggest that a photo or painting showing the beauty of wildlife would make better viewing for customers.