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March 9 2020 2 09 /03 /March /2020 21:49

 

(Letter in Irish Examiner- March 5th and Sunday Independent- March 8th))

 Sobs of hares cry for our protection

 I enjoyed a recent talk on the peculiar habits and culinary tastes of our native Irish Hare, a creature feted in literature and Celtic mythology and that took pride of place on our threepenny bit back in the days when the Euro wasn’t even dreamt of.

But I can’t help but lament the way this gentle and inoffensive creature has fared at the hands of misguided human beings.

People on nature walks occasionally report hearing an injured hare emit an “almost human cry.” I too have heard that haunting sound, which has been likened in verse and song to that of the mythological Banshee of Irish folklore, but not while walking in the countryside. It assailed my hearing at coursing events I attended as an observer for an animal welfare group.

One minute the fans are all laughing and cheering, marking their cards, urging on the dogs they’ve backed to win...then a silence interjects as the hare’s cry rises, piercing the winter air like a siren: A heart-rending but futile cry for help because, unfortunately, the law permits the use of hares in this blood sport.

In 1993 and again in 2016 I hoped I had heard the childlike sobbing and wailing of the hare for the last time when Bills proposing a ban on coursing were tabled in the Dail. But these were heavily defeated, allowing man’s inhumanity dressed up as sport to continue staining the Irish countryside.

Muzzling of greyhounds only made the cruelty less visible: Instead of pulling the hares apart, the dogs can pummel or maul them, crushing their brittle bones and still eliciting that shriek that can rattle your soul.

Having survived the last Ice Age of 10,000 years ago, and the ravages of habitat loss resulting from urbanisation and modern agriculture, does this iconic creature not deserve a break from having to swerve and dodge in a latter-day coliseum?

I note that among the newly elected TDs are quite a few who say they oppose hare coursing and would vote for a ban. I hope they can make that aspiration a reality so that the Irish Hare becomes a truly protected species, as distinct from one that is fair game for cruelty.

It’s time to call off the dogs.

John Fitzgerald,

Callan

Co Kilkenny

 

  • Please contact Ireland’s political leaders and urge them to ban bloodsports in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar

Leader, Fine Gael

Government Buildings,

Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2

Telephone: 01-619 4020

Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie; leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie; finegael@finegael.ie

Micheál Martin

Leader, Fianna Fail

Constituency Office

137 Evergreen Road,

Turner’s Cross, Cork

Email: micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie

Mary Lou McDonald TD

Leader, Sinn Fein

Tel: (01) 727 7102

Email: marylou.mcdonald@oireachtas.ie

Eamon Ryan

Leader, Green Party

Tel: 01 618 3894

Email: eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie

You might also like to sign and share online petition calling for a ban on blood sports in Ireland

https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

  • Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes re my novel "Time to Stop Running", in which I attempt to highlight the cause of the hare via a work of fiction. It's fantasy, but I'm delighted that the story of "Tipsy" the Psychic Hare is being read around the world and has focused minds on why this wonderful animal needs to be protected in Ireland and elsewhere. Here's a link to info about the book:

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Stop-Running-John-Fitzgerald-ebook/dp/B07KK1F53Z

 

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February 22 2020 7 22 /02 /February /2020 19:20

 

 

 

 

Following a recent general election in Ireland its political parties are negotiating the formation of a new government. Animal protection groups are anxious to ensure that the horrific cruelties of hare coursing and fox hunting are not overlooked in the formulation of policies.

Every year thousands of hares are used as live bait in Ireland at coursing events. Many are mauled or have their bones crushed by greyhounds as coursing fans laugh and cheer. Foxes are hounded to exhaustion and death for sport also. Those that seek refuge underground from the chase are dug out and tossed live to the dogs.

Let’s appeal to the political parties in Ireland to include a ban on both hare coursing and fox hunting in their policy plans for the new government.

You can send a message to all of them in one email…all the addresses are included in the block of addresses below.

You can send your own message or use the following sample, or a variation of it:

The scandal of live hare coursing and fox hunting have shamed Ireland for long enough. In formulating a Programme for Government, please ensure that these obscene cruelties posing as “sport” are OUTLAWED…for the sake of the animals and for the sake of Ireland’s image as a nation.

Address to:

leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie, marylou.mcdonald@oireachtas.ie, eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie, roisin.shortall@oireachtas.ie, paul.murphy@oireachtas.ie, peadar.toibin@oireachtas.ie, alan.kelly@oireachtas.ie, info@greenparty.ie, finegael@finegael.ie

Thank you!

Here’s a video showing what happens in Irish fox hunting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbLKs9pgQno

 

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February 22 2020 7 22 /02 /February /2020 18:53

Letter in Kilkenny Observer (Feb 21st)

It's hare today: Gone tomorrow?
 
The three-day National Hare Coursing festival has again focused attention on this blood sport that is banned in the rest of Europe apart from Iberia.

The animal welfare case against hare coursing is well known. Despite muzzling of greyhounds, hares continue to be mauled and suffer other injuries, apart from the stress and terror of a contrived chase within the confines of a park.

But there’s another reason why this cruel relic of the Dark Ages should end immediately.

The Irish Hare, a sub-species of the Mountain Hare that is unique to Ireland, has been in decline for the past fifty years, mainly owing to loss of habitat resulting from urbanisation and the unintended effects of modern agriculture.

That, in itself; would suggest that any form of hunting of this wild creature should be halted, to avoid further unnecessary pressure on the species and its habitat.

Under threat

But since last August the very survival of the Irish Hare has been under grave threat from the RHD2 Virus, which is fatal to hares and rabbits and highly contagious.

Following confirmation that the disease had arrived in Ireland- rabbits and hares had tested positive in several counties- the Heritage minister imposed a ban on the netting of hares for coursing, which had been identified by scientists at the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as a risk factor in the spread of the disease.

Then, a few weeks later, the ban on hare capture was lifted, not because the threat from the RHD2 Virus had receded, but in response to intense pressure brought to bear on the government by backbench Fine Gael TDs in a handful of rural constituencies where hare coursing clubs had demanded the “right” to resume netting of hares for their fixtures.

Ecological catastrophe

These politicians were prepared to put the interests of coursing clubs before the future of our native Irish Hare, which could very quickly be wiped out completely if the disease becomes rampant across the island.

The disappearance of this species would represent an ecological catastrophe. Gone forever would be a much-loved iconic creature feted in Irish song and folklore, a Jewel in the Crown of our wildlife heritage.

I hope that the incoming government, whatever its political make-up or orientation, will have the guts to tackle hare coursing and put an end to the shameful abuse of this animal.

It’s no longer just a matter of opposing one of the world’s worst forms of animal cruelty. This issue must be addressed in the context of the wider biodiversity crisis facing Ireland.

The Irish Hare is known to have survived the last Ice Age of 10,000 years ago. Will it now be sacrificed… just to keep a few gamblers cheering and marking their cards on a coursing field?

Yours etc,

 John Fitzgerald

(Campaign for the Abolition

Of Cruel Sports)

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January 7 2020 3 07 /01 /January /2020 11:38
LETTER: Make Whiddy Island a sanctuary for hares

 

Southern Star Jan. 3rd, 2020

 
SIR – I hope 2020 will prove a better year for Whiddy Island. In recent times that picturesque haven of tranquility in Bantry Bay has taken a severe reputational hit due to its link with the horrific practice of live hare coursing.

 

No praise would be too loud or lavish for Whiddy, with its lovely walkways, idyllic scenery and its dreamy rock pools … all framed by the breathtaking picture postcard mountains of the Beara peninsula to the north and the Sheep’s Head peninsula to the south.

 

 

Unregulated coursing events are frequently held on Whiddy, with terriers used to flush the hares from cover so that the greyhounds can chase them.

 
 
 
Let 2020 be the year when the island is declared a sanctuary for hares and the discredited coursing connection is relegated to the pages of history.
 
John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports
Callan, Kilkenny.
 
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December 18 2019 4 18 /12 /December /2019 20:59

 

One year on from the publication of my novel Time to Stop Running, I am heartened by the reaction to this attempt to tell the story of an Irish Hare...an animal born to a country where the cruel “sport” of coursing is not only legal, but commands the backing of prominent greasy politicians and fat-cat business tycoons.

Getting inside the mind of an animal is naturally impossible, and one can only imagine how our furred and feathered friends experience the world into which they are cast as actors on the great stage of life. But one thing is certain: They are susceptible to pain just as we humans are, and cruelly ill-treating them, to quote a line from a UK government report on stag hunting, “compromises their welfare.” 

Tipsy the Hare in the novel is of course a purely fictional character, and his magical adventures are in the realm of fantasy, as are the shenanigans of the other animals who give what I hope are compelling supporting roles in the story: the fox, the badger, the greyhound, the cat, the falcon, and the rabbit...aside from the multitude of other hares that dwell on the offshore Irish island where tipsy lives.  Not so fictional at all is the depiction of what happens in coursing, and how crooked politicians keep it alive in Ireland with the help of monetary inducements and unsolicited “gifts” from hare baiters.

I’m delighted with the reaction from readers to the novel’s main character. Tipsy is the hero whose mission is to liberate the oppressed hares of Ireland, who are, I can assure you, in dire need of liberation.

There was a bizarre case of “life imitating art” last June when RTE, the national TV channel, exposed how hare coursers had invaded the peace and tranquillity of Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay to terrorise its acclaimed hare population.  These “sportspeople” have also, we know now, snatched hares from the island for use in coursing fixtures on the mainland. In the novel, a coursing club also invades the island where Tipsy and his fellow hares reside.

I hope that Time to Stop Running will help, if only in a small way, to bring the day nearer when hare coursing will be banished from the Irish countryside and our offshore islands...and these gentle creature will be able run free, safe from man’s perennial inhumanity.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Stop-Running-John-Fitzgerald/dp/1731369123/

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September 15 2019 1 15 /09 /September /2019 20:45

 

For the first time in the history of the Irish State hare coursing has been halted...though not for the reasons most of us would prefer.

For decades animal protection groups have been campaigning to have it banned. The evidence against it is overwhelming, with copious footage showing hares being mauled, flung into the air like broken toys, and having their bones broken… at venues nationwide.

The “sport” has been suspended by the government not because hare coursing is demonstrably cruel, but in response to confirmed outbreaks of the deadly RHD 2 virus that is fatal to hares and rabbits. The Department of Culture and Heritage has acknowledged that the disease could be “catastrophic” for the embattled Irish Hare, which is a sub-species of the Mountain Hare unique to Ireland.

It is frequently alluded to by conservationists as the flagship of Irish biodiversity. Even before the disease outbreak, this wonderful creature was under severe pressure from loss of habitat resulting from urbanization and the unintended effects of intensive modern agriculture.

Coursing practices would greatly increase the risk of the disease spreading: Coursing clubs use nets to catch the animals. They handle them casually and roughly, place them in little boxes (confinement that is totally unnatural and terrifying to them), transport them in vans or car boots to various locations and then pack them into compounds or paddocks where these normally solitary creatures find themselves in a cramped and unnatural environment: conditions ideal for the spreading of the disease.

Coursing clubs have been asserting in recent weeks that if they are permitted to resume capturing hares with nets for their fixtures they will vaccinate the hares they capture against the disease. Some politicians have backed them in this desperate ploy.

What they fail to mention, however, is that 1) the vaccine, called ‘Eravac’, which is licenced in Europe, is not available in Ireland and 2) more importantly, it cannot be applied to hares…just rabbits.

Aside from that, would you entrust the wellbeing of Ireland’s hare population to people who have been using them as LIVE BAIT? People who mark their betting cards and holler with delight as these animals twist and turn and dodge on a coursing field? Hardly, any more than you’d hire badger-baiting gangs to vaccinate badgers.

The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports has appealed to the Irish government to make the hare capture ban PERMANENT so that this iconic creature celebrated in Irish song, literature and folklore can run free in the countryside, untroubled by man’s inhumanity or the threat of a virulent disease that threatens its very survival as a species.

If you’d like to added your voice to calls for a permanent end to hare coursing and COMPLETE protection for the hare against all forms of hunting, baiting and shooting, email these two lists of Irish politicians, stating:   “I urge you to support a ban on the coursing, hunting or shooting of hares and the complete protection of the iconic Irish Hare” (or draft your own message if you wish)

List One:

maria.bailey@oireachtas.ie; sean.barrett@oireachtas.ie; pat.breen@oireachtas.ie; colm.brophy@oireachtas.ie; richard.bruton@oireachtas.ie; peter.burke@oireachtas.ie; catherine.byrne@oireachtas.ie; Ciaran.Cannon@oireachtas.ie; joe.carey@oireachtas.ie; corcorankennedy@eircom.net; Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie; michael.creed@oireachtas.ie; michael.darcy@oireachtas.ie; Jim.Daly@oireachtas.ie; john.deasy@oireachtas.ie; Pat.Deering@oireachtas.ie; Regina.Doherty@oireachtas.ie; Paschal.Donohoe@oireachtas.ie; andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie; bernard.durkan@oireachtas.ie; damien.english@oireachtas.ie; Alan.Farrell@oireachtas.ie; peterm.fitzpatrick@oireachtas.ie; charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie; Brendan.Griffin@oireachtas.ie; Simon.Harris@oireachtas.ie; Martin.Heydon@oireachtas.ie; Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie; paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie; enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie; Sean.Kyne@oireachtas.ie; josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie; helen.mcentee@oireachtas.ie; joe.mchugh@oireachtas.ie; Tony.McLoughlin@oireachtas.ie; Mary.MitchellOConnor@oireachtas.ie; Dara.Murphy@oireachtas.ie; Eoghan.Murphy@oireachtas.ie; hildegarde.naughton@oireachtas.ie; tom.neville@limerick.ie; michael.noonan@oireachtas.ie; kate.oconnell@oireachtas.ie; fergus.odowd@oireachtas.ie; JohnPaul.Phelan@oireachtas.ie; michael.ring@oireachtas.ie; noel@noelrock.ie; david.stanton@oir.ie; leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie

 

List Two:

 

billykelleher@eircom.net; sean.haughey@oireachtas.ie; Bobby.Aylward@oireachtas.ie; brendan.smith@oireachtas.ie; johncurranff@gmail.com; Charlie.McConalogue@oireachtas.ie; michael.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie; sean.ofearghail@oireachtas.ie; john.brassil@oireachtas.ie; darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie; eamon.ocuiv@oireachtas.ie; jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie; john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie; mattie.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie; micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie; niall.collins@oireachtas.ie; coper@eircom.net; Robert.Troy@oireachtas.ie; thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie; timmy.dooley@oireachtas.ie; barry.cowen@oireachtas.ie; fiona@fiona.ie; declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie; mary.butler@oireachtas.ie; kevin.okeeffe@oireachtas.ie; dara.calleary@oireachtas.ie; escanlonmcc@eircom.net; sean.fleming@oireachtas.ie; niamh.smyth@oireachtas.ie; james@jameslawless.ie; shane.cassells@oireachtas.ie; willie.odea@oireachtas.ie; margaret.murphyomahony@oireachtas.ie; anne.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie; eugene.murphy@oireachtas.ie; jack.chambers@outlook.com; james.browne@oireachtas.ie; john.lahart@oireachtas.ie; lisa.chambers@oireachtas.ie; marc.macsharry@oireachtas.ie; jim.ocallaghan@oireachtas.ie; pat.casey@oireachtas.ie; aindrias.moynihan@oireachtas.ie; frankorourke1@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 7 2019 1 07 /07 /July /2019 20:19

Thanks to all who emailed the sponsors of greyhound racing in Ireland, which has been convulsed by a major scandal following a TV documentary that exposed widespread cruelty and massive over-breeding within the “industry.” Footage showed dogs being shot and casually left to die of their wounds, and reference was made to the many dogs disposed of and dumped in shallow graves all over Ireland.

Another issue not addressed by the TV programme is blooding of greyhounds on live animals, which is widespread in the “sport”. Back in 1994, an undercover reporter filmed this practice at a greyhound track in County Tipperary. I provide a link to the footage here; but be warned: It’s gruesome.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q33yiORJfXs

Already, several sponsors have dropped their support for greyhound racing in the past week, thanks partly to all of you who contacted them.  Connolly Red Mills, FBD Insurance and Barry’s Tea are among the high profile sponsors who have now turned their backs on this horrific industry. Your emails helped to make that success possible.

Time permitting, can you send a message to the remaining sponsors, asking that they withdraw financial support from greyhound racing?

Below you’ll find a block list of the sponsors. You can simply paste this entire list into the “blind back up copy” line on your computer and email your message to your own email address.

You can compose a message of your own or, if you prefer, use the sample one below.
Thank you!

 

* List of email addresses of companies that sponsor greyhound racing in Ireland:

 

info@fonez.iecasey.kathryn1@gmail.cominfo@dublincoach.iejfox@glanbia.ieinfo@gainfeeds.comstephen.glancey@candcgroup.ie,  Company.secretary@candcgroup.iemailorder@galwaycrystal.ie,  info@bestcarparks.ie,  btndistribution@eircom.net, administration@marshesshopping.com,  info@flahertymarkets.cominfo@quickpark.iequigley@centenarythurles.cominfo@hatsgroup.comres@thwaterford.cominfo@roseoftralee.ie,  info@leestrand.iecorpaffairs@kerry.com,  public.relations@ladbrokes.co.uk,  jessica.bridge@ladbrokes.co.uk, care@boylesports.com,  corporatecomms@glanbia.com,  info@leestrand.ie, info@gainanimalnutrition.com, sales@nuttsaboutpets.ie, info@crokepark.ie, info@dublingaa.ie,  info@bestcarparks.ie, administrator.cork@gaa.ie, Secretary.kerry@gaa.ie, info@bhdi.ie, oneillsdogfood1900@yahoo.com, wool@texacloth.co.uk, reservations@castlehotel.ie, information@kasko.ie, info@darbyogilltours.ie, corpaffairs@kerry.ie,  investorrelations@kerry.ie

Sample message/appeal to sponsors:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are writing to appeal to you to end your sponsorship of greyhound racing. You may be aware of the widespread revulsion in response of a programme shown on Ireland’s national TV channel, RTE. If you haven’t seen the programme, please follow the link below and have a look.

The documentary, titled Running for their Lives, exposed the reality behind the “sport” in Ireland, showing how thousands of unwanted or under-performing greyhounds are abandoned or cruelly killed every year. It included footage showing greyhounds being inhumanely killed and dumped in skips, and dogs that died in agony, not have been killed outright. It referred also to the many greyhounds quietly disposed of…killed and dumped in secluded country spots.

Many Irish greyhounds that fail to perform are exported to China, where they can end up being boiled alive for the meat market.

Do you really wish to continue your association with this horrific animal cruelty?

Apart from the ethical issues, please consider the adverse effect such sponsorship will have, given the new heightened public awareness of the “industry”, on the well-being of your business.

I hope you will, having viewed the programme, re-think your support for greyhound racing and end your sponsorship of this shameful practice.

Here is a link to the RTE documentary on the greyhound industry, titled Running for Their Lives:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnuEIVNsEL8

Thanking you,

 

 

                                                                                                                                   


 

 

 

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July 4 2019 5 04 /07 /July /2019 20:38

 

 

 

Following a hard-hitting documentary screened by Ireland’s State TV channel on horrific cruelty in Ireland’s greyhound industry, several sponsors of greyhound racing have dropped support for the practice.

Running for their Lives exposed the large scale cruel killing and abandonment of unwanted or under-performing greyhounds, the reckless over-breeding of greyhounds that results in such culling, and included footage of dogs writhing in agony after being shot but not killed outright.

Here is a link to the full documentary, which is now on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnuEIVNsEL8

The biggest sponsor, however, remains to be convinced. Betting company Boylesports MASSIVELY finances both greyhound racing AND live hare coursing in Ireland. Right now it is “considering” its sponsorship and how to respond to the widespread public outrage at the documentary.

Please join us in calling on Boylesports to drop its support for greyhound and hare coursing.

You can phone, email, tweet them or leave a comment on the company’s facebook page:

Here are the contact details:

You can send a message of your own or use the following one if you wish:

Dear Boylesports,

I understand you are considering your position regarding sponsorship of greyhound racing and hare coursing following the widespread public outage at the revelations of the RTE documentary Running for their Lives.

I appeal to you to PLEASE withdraw all financial support from these animal cruelty practices, for the sake of the animals so horribly abused in these activities and your company’s reputation.

…End of sample message…

Thank you!

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June 29 2019 7 29 /06 /June /2019 20:53

 

Following the screening of “Running for Their Lives” by Ireland’s national TV channel, there has been widespread revulsion and outrage at the appalling treatment of greyhounds in this country.

Footage showed greyhounds being cruelly killed and dumped in skips, and exposed the massive over-breeding of dogs that results in the abandonment of killing of thousands of dogs ever year. The fate of exported greyhounds that end up in the meat markets of China was also highlighted.

Callers to radio stations have sworn never to attend greyhound racing again, and have demanded an end to the so-called “industry.”

One way to hasten the demise of the Irish greyhound industry is to persuade the sponsors of this organized animal cruelty to end their support for it.

Time permitting, can you send a message to the sponsors, asking that they withdraw financial support from greyhound racing?

Below you’ll find a block list of the sponsors. You can simply paste this entire list into the “blind back up copy” line on your computer and email your message to your own email address.

You can compose a message of your own or, if you prefer, use the sample one below.

Thank you!

List of email addresses of companies that sponsor greyhound racing in Ireland:

info@fonez.ie, casey.kathryn1@gmail.com, info@dublincoach.ie, jfox@glanbia.ie, info@gainfeeds.com, stephen.glancey@candcgroup.ie, Company.secretary@candcgroup.ie, mailorder@galwaycrystal.ie, info@bestcarparks.ie, btndistribution@eircom.net, enquiries@botanica.ie, administration@marshesshopping.com, info@flahertymarkets.com, info@quickpark.ie, quigley@centenarythurles.com, info@hatsgroup.com, res@thwaterford.com, info@roseoftralee.ie, info@leestrand.ie, corpaffairs@kerry.com, public.relations@ladbrokes.co.uk, jessica.bridge@ladbrokes.co.uk

Sample message/appeal to sponsors:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are writing to appeal to you to end your sponsorship of greyhound racing. You may be aware of the widespread revulsion in response of a programme shown on Ireland’s national TV channel, RTE. If you haven’t seen the programme, please follow the link below and have a look.

The documentary, titled Running for their Lives, exposed the reality behind the “sport” in Ireland, showing how thousands of unwanted or under-performing greyhounds are abandoned or cruelly killed every year. It included footage showing greyhounds being inhumanely killed and dumped in skips, and dogs that died in agony, not have been killed outright. It referred also to the many greyhounds quietly disposed of…killed and dumped in secluded country spots.

Many Irish greyhounds that fail to perform are exported to China, where they can end up being boiled alive for the meat market.

Do you really wish to continue your association with this horrific animal cruelty?

Apart from the ethical issues, please consider the adverse effect such sponsorship will have, given the new heightened public awareness of the “industry”, on the well-being of your business.

I hope you will, having viewed the programme, re-think your support for greyhound racing and end your sponsorship of this shameful practice.

Here is a link to the RTE documentary on the greyhound industry, titled Running for Their Lives:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnuEIVNsEL8

Thanking you,

 

 

 

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June 16 2019 1 16 /06 /June /2019 15:07

 

 

* Fine Gael is the only political party that still has not decided which way to vote on an upcoming bill to ban fur farming in Ireland.

 Fine Gael currently leads a minority government in Ireland. Next month. the anti fur farming bill may pass into law, as a sufficient number of Deputies have pledged to support it. However, a ban would come into effect immediately if the Fine Gael-led government would simply make an order to end fur farming.

 Urge Taoiseach/Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, to support an immediate and long overdue ban on fur farming in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar TD
Department of the Taoiseach
Merrion Street, Dublin 2

Phone: +353 (0)1-6194000 OR +353 (0)1-6403133

Email: leo.varadkar@oir.ie, finegael@finegael.ie

or Leave a comment on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/leovaradkar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeoVaradkar

 

 (Letter in Sunday Independent (Ireland) June 16th)

Make a stand on cruel fur farming

 The Government needs to start listening to animal welfare groups on the subject of fur farming. Opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of the Irish people want it banned.

 Every year in Ireland around 200,000 mink are slaughtered, mostly for the US fur trade.The mind boggles at the very thought of all those tiny creatures, reared in cages, and then having the skin ripped from their bodies after slaughter.

Fine Gael is the only political party that has not pledged to back the Solidarity Bill, due to be debated on July 2nd.

 Why is it that Fine Gael is so slow to support measures aimed at easing the suffering of animals?

In 1990, it was a Fianna Fail-Progressive Democrat coalition that banned otter hunting. 

 In 2010, it was the Fianna Fail-Green government that banned carted stag hunting, in the teeth of fierce opposition from Fine Gael which defended this appalling "recreation" that forced captive deer to run from packs of dogs until they collapsed from exhaustion, racked by pain and bleeding from head to foot.

 Now, in the run-up to a vote on a bill to end the tortuous plight of farmed mink, we have Fine Gael once again failing to respond humanely to animal suffering. I appeal to the Taoiseach, who projects a caring, liberal image, to take stand on this issue. If Fine Gael is truly compassionate, forward-looking and progressive it needs to take a stand..

 John Fitzgerald,

Callan, Co Kilkenny

 

 
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