Ward Union deer abandonment is cruel
29 January 2008
The cruelty of the Ward Union's abandonment of domesticated deer in the countryside has been highlighted in a letter to the editor published in today's Irish Independent. Criticising the hunt, ICABS campaign director, Aideen Yourell, points to the distress caused to the creatures.
Greens are not the 'callous' ones
Mr John Condren from Co Laois (Letters, January 22), accuses the Green Party of being "ignorant and callous" because a deer is "at large in the Meath countryside" since a hunt on St Stephen's Day, "distressed at his separation from his herd and posing a threat to motorists and walkers...also risking injury to himself or others."
I couldn't agree more with Mr Condren that a vulnerable animal, normally resident on a farm with other deer, being abandoned in the countryside is cruel. But Mr Condren quite wrongly lays the blame on Minister John Gormley's restricted licence for the Ward Union deer hunt, whereby the hounds may not be set upon the stag, which may be released into the countryside to create a scent to be followed in the manner of a drag hunt.
The Ward Union, not being allowed to do their usual thing and chase the deer around the countryside for so-called "sport" and "kicks" have, thankfully, given up on their abusive activity because it's just no fun any more.
Mr Condren might be very interested to know that, long before the restricted licence, deer being left out after hunts was quite common.
For example, according to documents obtained by this organisation under the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that out of 38 deer hunted during 2006-07, 15 deer were still at large in July 2007.
Furthermore, it was reported that a deer had drowned in a quarry during the same season.
So, the gentleman is pointing the finger of blame in the wrong direction. It is, in fact, the Ward Union hunt that has for far too long been permitted to behave in an "ignorant and callous" manner towards deer.
Mr Gormley and the Greens are to be wholly commended for their compassionate stance on animal welfare issues.