Animal Voice - September 2004
The campaign newsletter of the
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
In This Issue:
(Source of information: IFAW)
Stars from the world of music and television have written to British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, demanding that he keep his promise to ban hunting with dogs.
Mel C, Paul McCartney, Dermot O'Leary, Alexei Sayle, Louise Redknapp, Richard Wilson, Billy Bragg, Jo Brand, Jenny Seagrove and Twiggy said in their letter:
"We are counting on you to bring the Hunting Bill back as soon as possible to ensure that a law to ban fox hunting is passed this November. Three quarters of the British public think hunting should not be legal and we too believe that it's time for the ban.
"We expect you to keep the promise that you made five years ago on national television to ban hunting and to see it through in this session of Parliament. It will only take a single day to pass this Bill in the House of Commons and consign this cruel and barbaric activity to history."
If the law is to come into effect this year, the Hunting Bill MUST be reintroduced in the next few weeks. Please send a message to Tony Blair today. Ask him to respect the wishes of the majority and ensure that the hunt ban is introduced.
Visit the UK Government's website and send an email directly to Tony Blair. Ask Mr Blair to respect the wishes of the majority and ensure that the hunt ban is introduced. You may also write to Tony Blair at: 10 Downing Street, London SE1 2AA, England.
Please also write to the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern. Tell him that a majority of Irish people are opposed to hunting with dogs. Demand the immediate introduction of legislation which would make these blood sports illegal.
An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
Every year during the Dublin Horse Show, a show jumping event exclusively for hunting groups takes place. This hunt chase takes place at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) venue. Enthusiastically promoting the hunt chase in a press release, the RDS had the following to say: "The Swatch Watch Hunt Chase is the fastest, most exciting, dramatic and competitive equestrian event at the Show. Inter hunt rivalry adds further drama to this potent event where sods of turf fly, hooves thunder, and adrenaline pumps in both riders and horses. Each team consists of four members of a registered hunt club including one a female rider. All the riders are amateur hunting riders..."
ICABS has called on the RDS to drop the hunt chase event from future horse shows. In our appeal, we stated: "By hosting hunt chases, the RDS is disregarding the reality of hunting. We find it very disappointing that, despite the cruelty of blood sports and the ever growing opposition to them, the RDS deems it acceptable to associate with hunts."
Please contact the RDS and ask them to stop promoting hunting by inviting hunts to compete at the venue. ICABS appeals to the general public to bear the hunt chase in mind when considering attending concerts or other events at the RDS throughout the year.
To whom it concerns:
I wish to express my outrage over the continued inclusion of the hunt chase event at the RDS Dublin Horse Show. It really is unacceptable that the RDS associates with hunt groups. As you may be aware, hunting involves horrendous abuse of animals. In foxhunting, the fox is chased to exhaustion and ripped apart by a pack of hounds. In carted deer hunting, a domesticated deer is chased by hounds and riders until the exhausted and injured animal can run no more.
As one of the majority who opposes animal cruelty, I call on the RDS to stop inviting hunts in to compete in this show jumping competition.
Please make 2004 the final year for the hunt chase.
Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
During an RTE News report on Cian O'Connor's Olympic medal success, we were shocked to hear the parish priest of Ratoath giving a positive plug to an internationally condemned deer hunt. Rev Gerry Stuart, stated: "We are no stranger to horses here in Ratoath - we have the Ward Union Hunt, the Ward Union Pony Club, etc..."
The Ward Union Hunt is the only known hunt of its kind in the world in that they use domesticated deer. Their abusive treatment of deer was exposed on RTE's Primetime in March 2004. Shocking footage captured by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports was featured in the programme.
Carted deer hunting is hardly an activity to be promoted by a parish priest in this the 21st Century. We wonder if Rev Stuart is aware of the controversy surrounding this hunt, and how veterinary inspectors from the Department of Agriculture concluded that it is "inhumane". Appealing to Rev Stuart to condemn blood sports, ICABS quoted paragraph 2418 of the Catholic Catechism which states that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly."
Very Rev Gerard Stuart PP
Dear Rev Stuart,
Further to your interview on RTE News in which you mentioned the Ward Union Hunt, I appeal to you clarify your views on the activities of this group. As you may be aware, a Department of Agriculture report on the Ward Union concluded that the hunt is inhumane.
It stated: "The transportation of the stags in the cart is inhumane...The enlargement of the stags is inhumane in that they are ejected suddenly into a strange environment and alone. A stag which has been hunted previously appears, before the hunt starts, to be distressed and aware that he is about to be hunted again. Stags being hunted appear to be terrified of the hounds. A stag is aware when he is being hunted and continues to flee even when the hounds are far behind. Stags are sometimes wounded or injured during hunts by physical incidents or by the hounds. Stags are terrified by people and motor vehicles during the hunt. Stags are apparently distressed and exhausted towards the end of hunts and will hide and lie down at this stage. At the end of the hunt the fact that a man can catch and hold him would seem to be adequate evidence of physical exhaustion by the stag. The handling of the stag when taken at the end of a hunt must be terrifying and stressful to the animal."
I appeal to you to condemn the Ward Union hunt and urge your parishioners to prevent the hunt access to their land.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
ICABS has appealed to the Minister for Education and Science to halt a wildlife course given by a shooting organisation.
A leaflet published by the National Association of Regional Game Councils states that "[NARGC] conducts an in-service wildlife course for primary school teachers annually which is recognised by the Department of Education."
In our appeal to Minister Noel Dempsey (Fianna Fail), we asked his Department to stop giving recognition to this course on the grounds that it is inappropriate for an association which annually kills tens of thousands of wild birds and wild animals to be giving a wildlife course to teachers.
"We feel that the Department of Education should not be recognising NARGC's wildlife course and that it ought to be, perhaps, representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Service who should be giving such courses," we added.
We need your help. Please contact the Minister now.
Minister Noel Dempsey
Tel: +353 (0)1-8734700
Dear Minister Dempsey,
I wish to make a complaint about your Department's "recognition" of a wildlife course which is given to school teachers by the National Association of Regional Game Councils.
I believe it is highly inappropriate for a group whose members kill tens of thousands of wild birds and animals to be giving wildlife courses to teachers.
Please disallow wildlife killers from giving these courses. Surely a more appropriate option would be to give the job to wildlife experts from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
(Source of information: Fight Against Animal Cruelty In Europe)
On September 14th, the annual Toro de la Vega event will be taking place in Tordesillas, Spain. This barbaric display sees a mob armed with lances chasing a bull across a field and stabbing him to death. The bull's tail and testicles are then cut off (sometimes while the animal is still alive). The individual who delivers the death blow gets the tail as a trophy. He sticks it on his lance and shows it off, walking from the place where the bull is killed to the door of the town hall, where the authorities wait for him.
The spectacle is organised by the town hall of Tordesillas and the government of the Castilla-Lesn supports it by declaring its legality.
Send a copy of your letter to:
Mr Enrique Pastor De Gana
Attention: Sr Presidente de la Junta de Castilla y Lesn, Sr Consejero de Presidencia de la Junta de Castilla y Lesn, Sr Alcalde de Tordesillas
I wish to protest in the strongest possible way to the "Toro de la Vega" which is held annually in Tordesillas.
This deplorable abuse of bulls must be banned. It is shameful that the government of Castilla-Lesn and the town hall of Tordesillas is supporting this barbarity. While this animal cruelty continues, I will never visit your region during any future visits to Spain.
Thank you. I look forward to your response.
ICABS has written to the Irish Rugby Football Union after learning that Irish rugby captain, Brian O'Driscoll, saw fit to present a signed Irish rugby jersey for auction at a fox hunt ball recently.
According to a report in the Avondhu newspaper dated June 17th, "Items up for auction included an Irish rugby jersey presented and signed by Brian O'Driscoll."
The so-called Mid Summer Ball was hosted by the Duhallow fox hunt club at the Castlehyde Hotel, Fermoy, Co Cork. It was attended by members of several fox hunts from around the country, including the infamous South Union. This hunt celebrated their 100 year centenary some years ago by having a film made of their cruel activity. This included grisly scenes of a fox being dug out of the ground and thrown in an injured state to a pack of dogs to be ripped apart.
We feel sure that the vast majority of Irish citizens who support rugby would abhor the idea of an Irish jersey being auctioned to raise money for the coffers of a fox hunt club whose sadistic idea of "sport" is the hounding down and brutal killing of foxes.
Responding to our concerns, IRFU Chief Executive, Philip Browne said: "You will appreciate that once a match is over the IRFU has no control over where jerseys end up. They are swapped, given away, auctioned and can pass through many hands and it would be impossible to police any regulation as to how jerseys might be used in the future. Having said that, I am copying your letter to Brian O'Driscoll for his information and perhaps this is an issue that we will need to take up with the players."
ICABS is delighted to report that Spanish television channel, TVE1, has scrapped bullfighting from its schedules. The good news was passed on to us by the International Movement Against Bullfights. Spokesperson, Maria Lopes, outlined that not only has TVE1 announced an end to bullfights on its Spanish and European transmissions but also on relayed broadcasts to America.
The public channel cited lack of budget for the move but it's possible their decision may have also been prompted by widespread opposition to their promotion of the blood sport. ICABS was among the many groups from around Europe who contacted station bosses.
In our letter of June 2004, we stated: "We appeal to TVE to stop including bullfighting in its broadcasts. Bullfighting is one of the world's most barbaric and cruel activities and it is extremely regrettable that TVE thinks it is appropriate to feature this on its programmes. As you may be aware, the majority of Spanish and EU citizens are opposed to this blood sport."
Mitsubishi Motors has been asked to clarify its stance on blood sports after being listed as a sponsor of an equestrian event which featured hunting. The Hartpury International Three Day Event in Gloucestershire, England included an arena display by a hunt, a parade of hounds and also an Inter Hunt Show Jumping Competition. According to a statement on the event's website, an aim of the latter was to "use it to help promote hunting to the general public".
Appealing to Mitsubishi Motors, ICABS expressed its disbelief that they would associate themselves with such an event when opposition to hunting is at an all time high.
Please join us in contacting Mitsubishi Motors.
Tel: 01285 655777
I am writing to express my disappointment that Mitsubishi Motors sponsored an equestrian event which included hunts.
The Hartpury International Three Day Event featured a display by a hunt, a parade of hounds and an also an Inter Hunt Show Jumping Competition. I understand that an aim of this competition was to "help promote hunting to the general public".
As one of the many people who want to see hunting banned, I call on you to ensure that no further sponsorship is given to events which aim to promote animal cruelty.
Thank you. I look forward to your response.
Japanese supermarket chain, C-Two Network, is selling whale meat, it has been revealed. Tesco owns a 95 per cent share in the company.
Despite pressure to stop selling the tinned meat, Tesco indicated that as long as there is a customer demand for it, the Japanese chain would continue to sell it.
Horrified customers who contacted Tesco were told that "we respect local [Japanese] culture in the same way that we would expect our culture to be respected if the roles were reversed."
Please contact Tesco and tell them to immediately stop selling whale meat. Ask them where the meat comes from since there is an international ban on commercial whaling.
Chief Executive Officer
Tel: 1850 744 844
Sir Terry Leahy
I appeal to Tesco to immediately halt the sale of whale meat at your company's C-Two Network chain in Japan.
The sale of this meat at your chain is unacceptable. It is creating a market for whalers and undoubtedly encouraging them to continue putting pressure on the commercial whaling ban which the majority of the world wants to stay in place.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
Des Crofton of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (gun clubs) has resigned from the Wildlife Committee of the Heritage Council.
A report in the Irish Examiner outlined that the June 24th resignation was in protest at alleged "political patronage" relating to plans by Minister Martin Cullen to locate the National Biological Records Centre in his home constituency of Waterford.
The Department of the Environment rejected Mr Crofton's claims, pointing out that it was the Heritage Council themselves who recommended that the centre be located somewhere in the South East.
Waterford News & Star reported that the "uproar [is] seen locally as a 'petty vendetta' by Mr Crofton against Minister Cullen".
The Wildlife Committee which Mr Crofton resigned from is consulted by the Heritage Council on matters concerning the protection and preservation of wildlife. ICABS has strongly objected to the inclusion on this committee of any individual involved with an association whose members gun down wild birds and animals. We hope that the Wildlife Committee will remain free of people who promote killing wildlife.
We still have copies of the Summer 2004 edition of Animal Voice available. If you would like one or more to give to friends, family, etc, please get in touch now. If you have an information stand where you could display copies, please let us know how many copies you would like and we will post them to you. We wish to increase the amount of people who are aware of our campaign so any help you can give would be fantastic.
ICABS has complained to the publishers of the Beano after bullfighting was trivialised in the Summer 2004 edition.
The offending comic strip showed the Dennis the Menace character in a Spanish bullring. Working alongside a matador, he jumps from behind a red cape and scares the bull away.
In a letter to the Beano editor, ICABS wrote: "We feel that this strip trivialises the barbarity of bullfighting and leaves readers with the impression that there is an escape for the bull during a bullfight. This, of course, is not the case - bulls which enter the arena don't come out alive. They are savagely killed after being subjected to repeated stabbings and spearings."
If you would like to make a complaint, please contact the Beano editor.
Editor, The Beano
The publishers of a Lanzarote travel guide have been asked by ICABS to remove references to the blood sport of cockfighting. Lanzarote, a popular holiday destination for Irish holidaymakers, continues to allow cockfighting to take place.
We feel it is wrong for this bloody and cruel activity to be publicised in a tourist guide. Please help us to convince the publishers to stop featuring cockfighting in their publication.
Raquel Lopez Varela
I appeal to you to remove a cockfighting photograph and a reference to this blood sport from your Lanzarote tourist guide.
Cockfighting is a cruel and barbaric form of animal abuse. It represents a blemish on Lanzarote's idyllic image and it is unacceptable that you are recommending this activity to tourists. Any tourist who attends a cockfight is more than likely to come away feeling disgusted and upset at the bloody spectacle.
Please remove cockfighting from your publication.
Thank you. I look forward to your response.
(Source of information: ANPBA, animal 2000, Initiative Anti-Corrida, Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe)
More than 28,500 semi-wild goats in Mallorca face death following claims by the Balearic Government that the animals pose a threat to the environment. The government has moved to introduce a law which would allow the killing of the goats by shooters keen on trying some "big game hunting".
Animal rights groups from around Europe have launched a campaign to highlight the brutality of using guns to control the number of goats. In a statement, they commented: "We strongly object to hunters carrying out this work because they don't care for the animals.". Instead of inviting recreational shooters to control the goat population, they say the government should instead use humane alternatives. Non-lethal options available include: Sterilisation darts which would reduce the number of goats giving birth and anaesthetic darts (administered by trained Environment Department personnel) which would allow the goats to be captured in a non-violent manner. They then could be relocated to areas where there is less risk of them causing any environmental danger.
The semi-wild mountain goats are considered an important part of Mallorca's heritage. To save them from a cruel and violent death, please contact the Balearic Government now.
Honourable Sr Jaume Font Barcels
Tel: 971 17 68 00
Ilmo. Sr Director General de Caza
To whom it concerns:
I wish to register my opposition to moves by the Balearic Government to allow the shooting of more than 28,500 of Mallorca's mountain goats. These animals are part of your island's heritage and should be preserved and treated with respect.
I appeal to you to disallow the killing of the goats by gunmen. As I am sure the Department for the Environment is aware, numerous humane methods of population control exist. There is no need for the goats to be violently gunned down. They can simply be relocated to parts of the island that are not so environmentally sensitive.
Thank you for considering my appeal. I hope that action can be taken to save the goats and I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.
Presented here are extracts from this guide by Dave Wall B.A. To view the full version of the guide, please Click Here.
Urban foxes - are they common?
Urban foxes are very common in Dublin. They are found throughout the city and suburbs. Foxes can be seen at night roaming Grafton Street and O'Connell Street, with dens near Dail Eireann. In the suburbs, foxes do best in estates with large gardens. Areas like Sandymount have very high densities of foxes but they are also found in industrial estates and in some council housing areas. These days, Dublin probably has a similar density of urban foxes to English cities like Bristol or London.
I thought I saw a puddy-fox!
If you thought you saw a fox in your garden, then chances are you were right! In areas of Dublin where foxes are common, most houses will be visited by a fox at some stage of the night. If they don't visit your back garden, then they'll almost certainly trot through the front garden on their nightly explorations. If you see a fox in the garden…don't panic! Foxes are pretty harmless and they will run away if approached. However, as with all wild animals, never try to corner a fox as it may bite in panic. Often people are upset by the boldness of urban foxes. Some will not run away, even when shouted at from a window. Others can be seen strolling down public roads in broad daylight! This is because urban foxes have become habituated to the noise and smells of the city. If you approach them, however, they will run away.
A fox ate my cat, gerbil, rabbit, hamster, etc.
Often I get reports of foxes killing cats. Most are found to be untrue on further investigation. Foxes may indeed kill kittens or very old or ill cats (it's worth mentioning here that cats may kill fox cubs too) but in the vast majority of cat-fox interactions, the cat wins. I've seen cats frightening foxes away from their meals through hissing and the odd well-placed scratch. Foxes may be found to be in possession of cat remains, but these are most probably the scavenged remains of cats killed on the roads.
Foxes will kill rabbits, rodents and birds. I have heard of pet owners complaining of losing gerbil after gerbil to the local fox. If you know the fox is in the area, then more fool you for re-stocking its dinner plate! The only safe way to keep small pets outside, where you have foxes passing through, is to build a fox-proof run.
I found a fox cub. What do I do?
Unless it is in imminent danger (e.g. on the road), leave it be - the mother will be nearby waiting for you to go. If it is in danger, then move it to a safe place nearby and leave it; the mother will find it when she returns. If you find a cub and are sure it has been orphaned (e.g. if you find the dead vixen close by or the den is in the garden and you haven't seen the vixen for a long time), then call your local animal welfare group for advice. Never be tempted to raise a fox yourself. They are a lot of work and the smell will decimate your circle of friends to just those with chronic nose blockages!
About Dave Wall: Dave Wall B.A. is a postgraduate researcher in zoology at UCD. He has studied otters, marine mammals and Alpine badgers as well as studying Dublin's urban foxes for the past few years. He is a Director of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. We thank him for allowing us to use this guide to urban foxes.
Can you help us collect signatures for our newly-designed anti-blood sport petitions?
If so, please visit the Petitions section of our website.
Available to print out are the following petitions:
- Ban Hunting with Hounds (Foxhunting version)
If you are unable to print them out, please contact us and we will post you copies.
Thank you to everyone who has already signed and collected signatures. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Please consider becoming a supporter of ICABS. Annual rates are 20 Euro (Family), 15 Euro (Individual) and 8 Euro (Unwaged).
Please contact us for the relevant form or download directly from our website:
- Subscription Form (www.banbloodsports.com/subsform.pdf)
Thank you to everyone who has already sent in a subscription/donation since the last edition.
Irish star, Pierce Brosnan, has helped launch a whale protection ship.
Along with his wife, Keely Shaye Brosnan, the James Bond actor joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare group in launching the education and research vessel.
IFAW says the ship will help protect and rescue marine mammals around the world.
"Song of the Whale is IFAW's state-of-the-art flagship for education and non-invasive whale research," a spokesperson explained. "Scientists onboard conduct important studies of whales and other cetaceans, provide hands-on assistance rescuing whales entangled in fishing gear, promote community efforts to establish whale watching as an alternative to whaling, and serve as educational mentors for marine scientists and schoolchildren alike."
"[Irish Greyhound Board chairman, Paschal Taggart] had given a commitment at the Board's Annual Awards that monies would be made available to the [Irish Coursing Club] and there is now a good working relationship between the Board and the ICC." (Irish Coursing Club president, Tony McNamee, from an article which appeared on the Irish Greyhound Board website, August 2004)
"There is a huge anti-lobby who feel that funds should be allocated totally for racing. The Board is anxious to support the Club, but we would have to bear in mind the anti-coursing, anti-greyhound lobby." (Michael Foley, speaking on behalf of the Irish Greyhound Board, from an article which appeared on the Irish Greyhound Board website, August 2004)
"To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the large scale destruction of farm and other property, often running to thousands of euro, by the unauthorised use of such lands for the purposes of live hunting; the plans he has to safeguard the interests and property of landowners in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter." (Parliamentary Question from Labour Party TD, Roisin Shortall. 29th January 2004). For this and other Dail Q&A, please visit the ICABS website. Click on "Politicians" and then "Parliamentary Questions".
"The Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, John O'Donoghue (Fianna Fail) has informed the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that his officials raised the issue of introducing drag coursing with the Irish Coursing Club but were told that coursing greyhounds would not follow a drag and that drag coursing would be unpopular. We are quite amazed that Minister O'Donoghue, a greyhound racing enthusiast himself, would swallow the claim from the coursers that greyhounds would not follow a drag. We have submitted video footage from a drag coursing club in the UK which shows the greyhounds enthusiastically following a drag and indeed a mechanical lure is used on the tracks." (ICABS Campaigns Director, Aideen Yourell. The Kingdom newspaper, January 29, 2004)
"There are many foxes where I live and I love them. There is no hunting and anyone caught hunting will be prosecuted. I love foxes and it is terrible what those sick-minded hunters are doing. I personally think that they are the vermin, not the foxes." (Visitor to ICABS website, June 2004).
Two new campaign postcards have been launched by ICABS. The postcards are aimed at the Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen, and call on him to stop licensing the cruel activities of hare coursing and carted deer hunting. If you would like a copy of each card to post to the Minister, please get in touch with us now with your full name and address. Do you have friends or family members who would also be willing to send a card to the Minister? If so, please let us know how many cards you require and we will post them to you.
Three new campaign posters are now available to download from the ICABS website. Click on "Leaflets" and then scroll down to "Campaign Posters".
The three A4-size posters are:
- Stop the Terror. Ban Hare Coursing
You can help by displaying the posters at your next information stand or at the next meeting of your youth group, adult group, animal welfare group, etc. If displaying the posters in a public place, please get permission from the property owner first. Thank you.
Daily Mail poll on foxhunting: www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/dmpolls/index.html?in_poll_id=12569&in_page_id=711
Help Ireland's Feral Cats: www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/863869655
Ban Bullfighting in Catalonia 2004: www.petitiononline.com/olotanti/petition.html
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