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"Stop publicising foxhunting": Join our appeal to RTE TV
18 August 2009

ICABS has complained to RTE's Nationwide about a recent edition of the programme which prominently featured a foxhunting group. We have also urged the station to remove a foxhunt link from its website.

On the 9th August Nationwide programme - dedicated to the Dublin Horse Show - foxhunting-related images featured on several occasions. In a segment focusing on the hunt chase event, viewers were shown red-coated hunters parading foxhounds around an arena, a man blowing a hunting horn and a close-up of two hunt supporters waving "Ballymacad Foxhounds" placards at the camera. Worst of all, a hunt spokesperson was given the opportunity to present misinformation, without challenge, about this cruel blood sport.

The presenter stated that "all of the packs competing at the Dublin Horse Show are die-hard hunting fanatics" and that "the qualifying courses for the big event are based on natural fences they would encounter on a dayís hunting". She added that all the hunts are "very aware of the anti-hunting lobby". This was followed by a statement by a Ballymacad Foxhounds spokesperson claiming that foxhunting is "marvellous" and that it is "misunderstood" by Irish people.


Some of the foxhunters and hounds featured on Nationwide. ICABS has complained to RTE about the programme's inaccurate portrayal of the cruel blood sport.

Gene Ormistem of the Ballymacad Hunt Chase team stated: "It's totally misunderstood. I have seen it portrayed as being vicious, ruthless killers - a pack of hounds chasing and killing a poor innocent fox. It doesnít work like that. Iíve seen a fox going up through a flock of sheep and sitting in the middle of it. The hounds are called off and we go somewhere else. It's marvellous. If you didn't understand the 'sport' and went out a day to follow it and kept a broad and open mind about it, I do believe you would change your opinion of it."

In our complaint to Nationwide, ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell pointed out that this particular hunt was featured in an edition of "Earth Dog, Running Dog" magazine earlier this year. The article outlined the appalling cruelty to foxes during a Ballymacad Hunt outing. Foxes were hunted "hard", bolted out of a hole into a net and viciously attacked by terriers (See below for article extracts).

Responding, programme editor, Ryan Eoin, maintained that the question about foxhunting was asked "in order to provide balance to the feature". ICABS does not accept that the feature was balanced given the fact that the program allowed the sickening reality of foxhunting to be glossed over.

ICABS has since called on Nationwide to immediately remove a link to the Ballymacad Hunt from the RTE website. Please join us in our appeal and respond to our action alert below.


Two hunt supporters holding Ballymacad Hunt placards on Nationwide. ICABS has asked RTE remove a link to the hunt from its website.

ACTION ALERT

Complain to Nationwide about the foxhunting misinformation presented on the programme. Urge them to redress the balance by featuring an expose of hunt cruelty on a future programme. Also demand that a link to the Ballymacad Hunt is removed from the Nationwide website.

Email: Eoin.Ryan@rte.ie (Nationwide Editor)
CC: complaints@rte.ie

Dear Mr Ryan

I am writing to complain about the 9th August edition of Nationwide in which a foxhunt spokesperson was allowed to present an inaccurate picture of foxhunting in Ireland. As you are no doubt aware, foxhunting involves horrendous cruelty to foxes. The creatures are chased to exhaustion and then ripped apart by a pack of hounds. Foxes that escape underground are attacked by hunt terriers and dug out of the ground. Why has Nationwide ignored this truth and instead broadcast claims that foxhunting is 'marvellous' and 'misunderstood'?

The person who painted this picture of hunting is from the Ballymacad Hunt, a group who were recently featured in hunting magazine Earth Dog, Running Dog. The report told of a fox that was pushed hard during a chase, a fox that was bolted by a terrier and chased into a net, a hunt terrier 'starting to boss her fox', hunters digging a vixen out of the ground and a terrier dragging a fox out of an earth.

I call on Nationwide to redress the balance by exposing the reality of foxhunting on a future programme. I also urge you to immediately remove a link to the Ballymacad's website from the Nationwide page on rte.ie

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

Extracts from "Earth Dog, Running Dog" magazine (Ballymacad Hunt)

"Hounds hunted hard for about 20 minutes before the fox broke away and made for cover...he was headed for a big badger sett which had been stopped and so he had to kick on a bit. His safe haven being denied to him, he had to get a move on for hounds were flying and really pushing him and after another ten minutes of hard hunting he went to ground..."

"We were there very quickly [with hunt terriers] as we tried for a quick bolt. My own little bitch, Gem, was entered and she was soon at her fox. It was evident that he was not for bolting and so [the huntsman] lifted his hounds and headed for the next draw leaving us with a nice little dig..."

"We could hear Gem working away, starting to boss her fox and we still hoped for a bolt for we had set nets and sure enough, after 15 minutes, [the fox] hit the net like a runaway train with my bitch close behind her. Magic, first of the day..."

"On to the next draw and we soon heard "gone to ground" again as our hounds pushed a dog fox and a vixen into a tight spot under a stone wall. As we got there, [the whipper-in] was blocking two holes...it was a very tight stone wall so I used a small bitch of mine called Nala...Nala entered the tight gap and found immediately. We gave her ten minutes to settle and then got a mark at two feet, just off the wall. It took us about 15 minutes to reach her with the vixen but it looked as if the dog would be a tricky customer and cause a few problems. He was further along and had managed to find a place up on a ledge where he could give a good account of himself. We dug to her but the fox had gained himself a good position and was certainly making things difficult for her and giving her a hard time."

"I had with me that day a very good Border dog...and so I sent for him. I lifted out the small red bitch and dropped in Skipper, the Border. He banged straight in there, took a hold and drew this big dog fox back to me. Job done, another two accounted for."

Video: Ban Foxhunting in Ireland
(Duration: 02:22 minutes)

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