ICABS Action Alerts

Urge Minister Coveney to ban digging-out and terrierwork

ICABS is urging Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, to introduce an outright ban on the digging out of animals gone to ground. The call follows comments made by Minister Coveney during a Select Committee discussion on amendments to the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

The Minister indicated that he is considering a code of conduct for those engaged in the cruel practice which involves sending terriers underground to viciously attack foxes.

"We were very taken aback at your comments, during the committee session today," ICABS spokesperson Aideen Yourell stated in a letter to Minister Coveney. "The idea of a 'code of conduct' for an activity that is inherently and intrinsically cruel is nothing short of bizarre. Digging out a fox that is trying to save its life by going to ground during a hunt, and using terriers to flush the animal out, is cruel, by any basic standard of cruelty. It is inhumane on every level. It must not be allowed to continue under the new legislation."

We pointed to a foxhunting code of conduct introduced in 1999 following the release of a disturbing video showing the suffering caused to animals during digging-out and terrierwork. The video, filmed at a hunt in County Cork, shows a squealing fox being pulled from the ground with a terrier biting into its bleeding scalp.

That code's ‘Rules and Procedures for the Use of Hunt Terriers’ were completely and predictably worthless, given the fact that they do nothing to prevent any of the cruelty associated with digging out and terrierwork.

"Any further code of conduct will be similarly worthless," we told Minister Coveney. "It will not prevent the horrific suffering caused to foxes and dogs (photographs of which have been sent to Coveney). These people will not be controlled by a code of conduct. What is needed is a complete ban on these despicable activities and heavy penalties for those involved"

Earlier this year, the Agriculture Minister condemned digging out as "unacceptable". Speaking in the Seanad on 22 May during a Committee Stage debate on the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, he referred to "undue cruelty such as the digging out of animals when they have gone to ground, which is unacceptable." See video below.


Contact Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney now and demand that a hunting/coursing exemption is removed from the Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 and that a full ban on digging out and terrierwork is introduced.

Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie
CC: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie (An Taoiseach)
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Contact all your local TDs now. Demand that they urgently help save foxes from cruelty and back a ban on hunting and digging out.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses.


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