ICABS criticises IFA for planned address to pro-hunt seminar
07 August 2008
ICABS has criticised the Irish Farmers Association for a scheduled appearance at a pro-hunt seminar in Dublin tomorrow. IFA president Padraig Walshe is due to address those attending the event which has been organised by Gavin Duffy of the Hunting Association of Ireland.
Please read the Irish Times report below for more details...
Irish Times report
Anti-blood sports council criticises IFA over seminar
Thu, Aug 07, 2008
THE IRISH Council Against Blood Sports has criticised the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) for endorsing what the council claims is a pro-hunting seminar which it says demonises animal protection groups.
The seminar, Consumer Intimidation, the Vegan/Animal Rights Agenda, has been organised by Gavin Duffy of the Hunting Association of Ireland, in response to what he says are increasingly intimidatory protests by animal rights activists.
IFA president Pádraig Walshe and Irish Farmers Journal editor Matt Dempsey are due to address the seminar in Dublin tomorrow in addition to the keynote speaker Lt Col Dennis J Foster, described by Mr Duffy as the world's leading authority on the animal rights movement.
Meat and poultry processors, restaurateurs, abattoir owners, fur sellers, race course managers, pharmaceutical companies and circuses are among the groups invited to attend. The seminar is not a hunting event, Mr Duffy said, but a forum for businesses to discuss experiences with animal rights complainers and consider lobbying for legislation to protect businesses against intimidation.
The attendees "uphold the highest standards of animal welfare and deplore and condemn cruelty to animals. Animal Rights which often is confused with Animal Welfare sets out to 'liberate' all animals," according to the conference literature.
Protesters were often a nuisance to businesses, however sometimes their tactics could be intimidatory to both customers and business people, Mr Duffy said.
"You may be an upmarket restaurant serving foie gras and next thing there are five young people, looking like 'Goths', with posters outside your premises, protesting on your busiest Saturday night.
"They may even try to enter the restaurant to upset your customers. When you try to stop them, they video it, next thing you and your restaurant are up on You Tube 'beating them up', they'll claim," a letter to delegates said.
A "tiny faction" with little support in the community were trying to impose a meatless society and there was very little sanction on their activities, Mr Duffy said.
"I'm hoping the seminar will result in the formation of some sort of alliance that can talk to Government . . . maybe discuss legislation such as that around polling stations, that protesters have to remain a discrete distance."
Aideen Yourell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports said the seminar was clearly designed to garner support for hunting.
"The cynical attempt to rope businesses into supporting hunting . . . I'm surprised that the IFA is lending their support to this, I would have thought there were far more important issues facing Irish farming," she said.
Ms Yourell said that, contrary to Mr Duffy's claims, groups opposed to hunting had widespread support in the community. The conference was a "fear-mongering" exercise, she said and accusations of intimidation had been "hyped-up" by Mr Duffy.
Mr Walshe said he did not wish to comment on his attendance at tomorrow's event.
Mr Dempsey said he had been invited to speak in his capacity as chairman of the Kildare Hunt and editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. "I've been asked to come along to say a few words about hunting and that's what I intend to do, then I'll go about my normal business," he said.
The seminar was a low-key event which was not seeking publicity Mr Duffy said.
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