ICABS welcomes IFA president's shunning of pro-hunt event
08 August 2008
ICABS has welcomed the IFA president's shunning of a pro-hunting seminar held in Dublin. Criticising the organisers for presenting him as a speaker at the event, Padraig Walshe stated: "The organisers have used my name in a totally inappropriate way to promote their own agenda. I will not allow my name or the IFA to be hijacked in this way. There will be no IFA participation in this event."
A brochure for the "Consumer Intimidation, the Vegan/Animal Rights Agenda" seminar listed Padraig Walshe as one of three scheduled speakers but the Irish Farmers Association President denied that he had agreed to take part.
In an IFA statement issued to the Irish Times, Mr Walshe said his name had been used in relation to the event without permission. "I am very dissatisfied about this," he said.
Quoted in the Times today, event organiser, Gavin Duffy of the Hunting Association of Ireland, apologised to the IFA President: "Apparently Padraig Walshe now feels he cannot attend the event and says his name was used inappropriately. If this is his view of events, I apologise unreservedly. It was never my [intention] to cause any embarrassment to Padraig or the IFA in inviting him to represent Irish live exporters."
In a letter to Padraig Walshe today, ICABS welcomed his decision to avoid the event. "Every hunting season, Irish farmers are plagued by hunters coming on to their land disturbing livestock, damaging pastures and boundaries and posing a serious threat to biosecurity," we stated. "It is very fitting that the IFA stays away from pro-hunt events."
We also renewed our appeal to the IFA to stop encouraging blood sports enthusiasts to join its IFA Countryside scheme. The IFA Countryside website acknowledges that "the Irish countryside is a great national resource which Irish farmers work hard to maintain and enhance" but goes on to outline how the scheme is open to those with "an interest in...field sport activities".
In our letter to Mr Walshe, we stated:
"Every hunting season, farmers and landowners around the country suffer very serious affects to their livelihoods from hunts which come on to their land uninvited. Among the ongoing complaints and concerns are damage to boundary fences, crops and pastures, the disturbance of livestock and pets, the spread of disease and abusive and threatening behaviour from hunters when told to stay off private land.
"Recent opinion polls show that a majority of Irish citizens, in both urban and rural areas, are entirely opposed to 'field sports' like foxhunting and hare coursing. IFA Countryside's eagerness to accommodate those who abuse our wildlife heritage is offensive and unacceptable to this majority.
"Surely, the IFA would agree that its primary duty is to its core farming supporters and not to a minority who pose a threat to biosecurity, cause inconvenience and anguish to landowners and endanger livelihoods.
"We hope that the IFA will act to ensure that its policy of putting farmers first extends to the IFA Countryside."
Irish Times report
IFA chief not going to forum on animal rights movement
Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president Pádraig Walshe has said he will not participate in a seminar on the animal rights movement today and has denied that he agreed to attend the event.
The seminar, Consumer Intimidation, the Vegan/Animal Rights Agenda, was organised by Gavin Duffy of the Hunting Association of Ireland, in response to what he says are increasingly intimidatory protests by animal rights activists.
The brochure issued to delegates lists Mr Walshe as one of three speakers due to address the event in Dublin this morning. Mr Duffy said yesterday that Mr Walshe had agreed to participate.
In a statement from the IFA yesterday, Mr Walshe said his name had been used in relation to the event without permission. "I am very dissatisfied about this. The organisers have used my name in a totally inappropriate way to promote their own agenda. I will not allow my name or the IFA to be hijacked in this way. There will be no IFA participation in this event."
Mr Duffy said he was surprised by Mr Walshe's comments. "As a long-term friend and admirer of Pádraig Walshe and as one who worked with him on his election campaign for IFA president, I'm bemused by the IFA statement."
Mr Walshe's attendance had not, until yesterday, been disputed by the IFA, Mr Duffy said.
"Apparently Pádraig Walshe now feels he cannot attend the event and says his name was used inappropriately. If this is his view of events, I apologise unreservedly. It was never my attention to cause any embarrassment to Pádraig or the IFA in inviting him to represent Irish live exporters."
Groups including the National Animal Rights Association and the Association of Hunt Saboteurs intend to protest outside the event.
Irish Farmers Journal editor Matt Dempsey and Lt Col Dennis J Foster, who Mr Duffy says is the world's top authority on the animal rights movement, are to speak at the event.
More information about blood sports
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