Sinn Fein TD's pledge to get blood sports motion rescinded
4 September 2009
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has learned that Martin Ferris, TD has given coursers, foxhunters and deerhunters a guarantee that he will get a Sinn Fein motion to ban bloodsports overturned. The motion, calling for "a total ban on all blood sports, including hare coursing and fox hunting" was passed at Sinn Fein's 2009 Ardfheis after delegates voted in its favour.
Mr Ferris's determination to thwart this democratic process was revealed in a recent edition of greyhound journal, the 'Sporting Press', and more recently at a meeting of the Hunting Association of Ireland (representing foxhunters, hare hunters and deer hunters). At the meeting held in Cork in recent weeks, "Martin Ferris TD assured the meeting of his unequivocal support for hunting and all other field sports and of his intention to gain party support likewise." (source Hunting Association of Ireland website).
Meanwhile, in the Sporting Press article, it was reported that D.J. Histon, the head of the ICC, announced at a provincial meeting that they had "recently met with Martin Ferris of Sinn Fein in relation to the motion to ban blood sports" and that "Mr. Ferris had given a guarantee that he would get the motion overturned at the next Ard Fheis."
The motion was presented by Ogra Sinn Fein at the party's Ard Fheis earlier this year. A separate motion claiming that coursing is not a blood sport was rejected.
ICABS is stunned by Martin Ferris's arrogance and apparent disregard for the views of the majority of Sinn Fein members who expressed their support for a bloodsports ban.
ICABS has made Deputy Ferris aware that coursing results in injury and/or death to hares at all stages - the violent capture from the wild in nets, the stress of being manhandled and transported in boxes, the unnatural confinement in coursing compounds and the maulings by greyhounds. Some years ago, Martin Ferris attended an ICABS information meeting in Dail Eireann, where he was shown video footage of a fox being dug out and torn apart by hounds, deer being hounded and hares being severely mauled. At that meeting, he expressed his opposition to fox hunting, but said that he didn't consider hare coursing to be a "blood sport".
Meanwhile, we call on the Minister for Environment, John Gormley, not to renew the licence to net hares for coursing for the coursing season which begins at the end of September. Mr. Gormley has strong conservation reasons not to grant this licence, as the hare population is in decline, and this decline continues as a recent survey published in Northern Ireland shows, and in response to that decline, all hare hunting across the border has been suspended for the last five years, while down south, our Green Minister turns a blind eye to the problem, and allows our precious hare population to be recklessly exploited by the coursers and other assorted hare hunters.
Every coursing season, hares continue to be injured and killed by greyhounds at coursing meetings and last year was no exception, as reports obtained by ICABS under FOI revealed. For example, at Enniscorthy - 7 hares were mauled by dogs, with six dying of their injuries; Ballyheighue, Co. Kerry - 6 hares hit and 4 killed; Gorey -11 hares hit, 7 injured and 5 put down because of injuries; Doon - 11 hares hit, 4 died from injuries, and so the catalogue of cruelty continues, year on year, as we approach 2010 in a so-called civilised country!
It's time for Minister John Gormley to live up to his Green credentials and move to give the hare the protection it so desperately needs. He should stand up to Brian Cowen and his pro-coursing Fianna Fail buddies and call time on this barbarism
Video: Ban Coursing in Ireland
Video: Ban Foxhunting in Ireland
Video: Ban Carted deer hunting in Ireland