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Cancer Society asked to honour anti-hunt promise
29 March 2007

The Irish Cancer Society has been asked by ICABS to honour a promise they made over a decade ago that they would not knowingly accept donations raised through blood sports activities.

ICABS made contact with the society after they were listed as a beneficiary of a hunting festival in County Limerick. In our initial letter, we alerted the society to the presence of its name on a Abbeyfeale Harriers hunting flier and asked them to consider "disassociating your charity's good name from this animal cruelty event". We highlighted how, in a previous year, one particular fox was chased for three hours and ten minutes during the festival.

In response, the charity's Head of Fundraising, Jill A Clark stated: "Our gift policy does not allow us to accept gifts that would jeaopardise the financial, legal or ethical integrity or reputation of the Society. Given the mission of your organisation, I'm sure you know that the Abbeyfeale Harriers' activities are, at this time, legal in Ireland."

In response, ICABS reminded the Irish Cancer Society of a anti-hunt promise made by their former CEO, Mr R Hudson.

In a telephone conversation on the morning of 29th November 1994, Mr Hudson told ICABS Campaigns Director, Aideen Yourell, that he understood the cruelty of foxhunting. He went on to promise her that the Irish Cancer Society would not in future knowingly accept donations raised through blood sports activities.

In a recent letter to the current Irish Cancer Society, CEO, Mr John McCormack, ICABS appealed for this promise to be honoured and for blood money from hunts to be rejected.

"We fully understand your society's reliance on donations but hope that groups involved in animal cruelty can be prevented from latching on to the good work of the Cancer Society and introducing a positive element into their otherwise deplorable activities," we said.

Disturbing extracts from a report on the 2007 hunting festival have been forwarded to the Irish Cancer Society. The report refers to foxes being chased and killed by hounds (Please see below for more details).

ICABS is currently awaiting a response from Mr McCormack.


Please contact the Irish Cancer Society, and any other charity which knowingly accepts donations from blood sports groups. Appeal to them to disassociate from such groups and refuse their "blood money". Please see below for how hunt fundraisers help to keep blood sports alive.

Mr John McCormack,
Irish Cancer Society
43/45 Northumberland Road
Dublin 4

Tel: 01-2310 500
Fax: 01-2310 555

Daffodil on black background
"We fully understand your society's reliance on donations but hope that groups involved in animal cruelty can be prevented from latching on to the good work of the Cancer Society and introducing a positive element into their otherwise deplorable activities." (ICABS in a letter to the Irish Cancer Society, February 2007)

Foxes terrorised and killed during hunting festival

The following are extracts from a report which was published in the Irish Field of March 3rd, 2007. They provide a grim reminder of the plight of foxes chased by foxhunting groups.

"Hounds were hunting within 15 minutes of moving off and there was a brace (of foxes) afoot. One was hunted up the valley with great cry but was lost. They soon found again and caught it after a nice hunt."

"[each pack of hounds] must be serious fox-catchers"

"the fox had to work very hard to keep ahead of the hounds."

"Eventually they pushed hard enough to force [the fox] to make good his escape and he was away across open country. After a fine hunt, hounds were rewarded [i.e. the fox was killed]."

"They found within 10 minutes and hunted and caught the fox as he headed for Stran. Another sharp 50 minute hunt followed and the rest of the day was spent hunting the glen..."

The hounds "caught this fellow [a fox] and drew back towards Jerry Leahy's land where they found another who managed to go to ground..."

"They first drew above the village and had a fox on the move. He ran through some young plantings and up the hill, across the land and into a more mature planting. Four couple had hunted the line and it was not long before Ryan had the rest in the plantation. They manage to push him out and he went back to where he came..."

"The fox swung in a big circle and ran back along the bottom of the valley and hounds checked by the stream...they were put right and soon pushed him out into the open land above."

"As well as giving many people a lot of fun, it also managed to raise 3,200 for cancer research"

How hunt fundraisers help keep blood sports alive

ICABS is well aware of the cynicism of the foxhunting fraternity in their public relations exercise of raising funds for charities in order to give themselves and their cruel activities a veneer of respectability and an acceptance in their local communities.

Charity fundraisers by hunts are on the increase and they are playing a definite role in keeping this blood sport alive.

These events usually take the form of a cross country chase during which it is frequently emphasised that no animal gets killed.

However, these hunt rides are inextricably linked to the terrorisation and tearing apart of foxes.

Hunts which gain permission to cross land during a cross country charity ride effectively have their foot in the door and are more likely to retain that permission for subsequent hunt outings.

Furthermore, we believe that hunt fundraisers for charity are used as an opportunity to deceitfully "illustrate" claims that foxes are rarely killed during a hunt.

Those who take part in the fundraising ride for charity are given a distorted view of what the hunt is about and may be more easily recruited.

Another function of these fundraising events is to secure positive publicity in the regional press.

As it is an ideal opportunity to draw attention away from their normal blood sport activities, the hunt never fail to alert the local media. As a result they invariably get a favourable write-up - normally, of course, without a mention of the thousands of foxes which hunts cruelly slaughter every year.

ICABS fully understands how difficult it is for Irish charities to raise funds for their excellent and worthwhile work on behalf of humanity but, with all of the above in mind, we appeal to them to take a principled stand against animal cruelty.

Our message is clear: Please refuse the hunt's "blood money" donation - those who accept are helping keep blood sports alive.

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