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October 28 2016 6 28 /10 /October /2016 13:33

 

Dramatic and damning new video footage proves that hare coursing continues to be a despicably cruel practice despite assurances from Heritage Minister Heather Humphries that the “sport” is well regulated and that hares come to no harm due to muzzling of greyhounds and stringent monitoring of fixtures.

An animal protection campaigner bravely defied the strict ban on “unauthorized photography” that coursing clubs impose at all fixtures, using a camera phone to capture the moment a hare was caught by greyhounds and severely mauled.  

The footage was obtained at last week's Loughrea Coursing Meeting in County Galway. Watching the footage one can see the trapped hare being pushed and pinned to the ground by the dogs before a coursing club official runs in to pull away the animal's battered body.

The hare is likely to have suffered serious internal injuries (such as irremediable bone breakages) as a result. The person who filmed the incident revealed that this was one of at least two hares seen being mauled and killed at the fixture.

After snatching the hare away from the greyhounds, the courser can be seen grabbing the animal by the ears and slowly carrying him off the field.

In rejecting the Bill proposed by Maureen O’ Sullivan, an independent member of Ireland's parliament, the Dail, to abolish hare coursing in June, Minister Humphries pleaded that there was no need for a ban because coursing hares were well treated by their captors. This footage tells a different story

We appeal to all members of the Irish parliament who withheld their support from the proposed ban on hare coursing to re-think their position in light of this new evidence. Obtaining film footage of hare coursing is difficult owing to the censorship rule but it is important that the general public and politicians are shown what really happens at these cruel events, especially given that many other jurisdictions have outlawed hare coursing on animal welfare grounds.

We consider it a scandal that this activity continues thanks to a combination of censorship, organized cover-up and political cowardice.

Irish politicians might also reflect on the negative impact this State approved animal cruelty (as captured on film and posted on YouTube and other social media) is having on Ireland’s reputation abroad. It's time politicians found the courage to say No to hare coursing in Ireland.


 Thanking you,

John Fitzgerald

Campaign for the Abolition

Of Cruel Sports

 

* Here is a video clip from the footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVNxhz9FirI

 

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October 22 2016 7 22 /10 /October /2016 13:51

Letter in Irish Examiner Oct 22nd.

 

Citizens’ assembly should protect hare

I note that the citizens’ assembly is to consider, and make recommendations on, a number of other issues, besides the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, including climate change and the needs of an aging population.

As a long-time campaigner against blood sports, I would like to see the extremely cruel practice of live hare-coursing included for consideration.

I expect this proposal to be scorned on two counts. Firstly, that animal cruelty and wildlife protection aren’t important enough topics to be taking up the time of the assembly, with so many urgent issues pertaining to the wellbeing of our human population pressing for attention. And, secondly, it might be argued that the Oireachtas has already voted on hare-coursing and rejected calls for a ban.

I would argue, however, that, apart from the well-documented cruelty of hare-coursing, the practise is a calculated abuse of our treasured wildlife heritage. The hare belongs to all of us, and should not be the preserve of a small minority that sees fit to use it as live bait for dogs.

As for the argument that hare-coursing has already been dealt with adequately by our national parliament, I would point out that on the two occasions (June 1993 and June 2016) when an anti-hare-coursing bill came before the Dail, the main political parties refused to allow TDs to vote in accordance with their consciences on what was clearly an ethical issue.

In 1993, the result was 104 to 16 against a ban, thanks to the whips, and this year the bill was defeated by 114 to 20.

Given that every professional opinion poll since 1978, on attitudes to hare-coursing in Ireland, has shown a clear majority favouring abolition, the results of these Dáil votes cannot fairly be held to reflect the wishes of the Irish people.

Hare-coursing might not be the biggest blot on our country’s reputation, but it is a blot nonetheless, and an ugly one. In the absence of free Dáil votes on issues of conscience, I would dearly like to see the citizens’ assembly deliberating on whether the time has come to protect the gentle Irish hare from this barbarism.

John Fitzgerald

(Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports)

Lower Coyne St

Callan

Co Kilkenny

 

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September 22 2016 5 22 /09 /September /2016 19:57
It will take guts to ban hare coursing

Letter in Irish Examiner and Irish Independent this week:

It will take guts to ban hare coursing

“Our land is his land. We never forget that” — so reads the heading over a striking colour picture of an Irish Hare that appears in a Bord na Mona newspaper ad. The message relates to the excellent conservation work that the Board has done onmore than 80,000 hectares of Irish landscape for a multitude of precious flora and fauna.

While I commend this highlighting of the hare’s entitlement to its habitat I wish that Bord na Mona’s concern for wildlife in general and this wonderful iconic creature in particular was shared by our politicians, especially the ones in power.

Successive governments have failed to protect this jewel of our wildlife heritage from deliberate, stomach churning cruelty. Coursing clubs continue to wield a vice-grip on TDs and senators who know only too well that hares can’t vote. In just a few days, at the end of September, another coursing season will commence.

An animal celebrated in Irish folklore, song, and literature will be treated as a mere plaything, a pawn in a grotesque game of chance. In scenes eerily reminiscent of Ancient Rome, fans will roar as each timid creature runs in terror from a pair of blood-crazed dogs.

Hares will dodge and swerve and evade in the tin-pot colosseums, but many will succumb to canine speed and strength.

They’ll be pummelled or mauled or have their brittle bones crushed. And the gamblers will watch the performance unfazed, marking their cards or slugging whiskey.

The Irish Hare is a unique sub-species of the Mountain Hare and a rare survivor of the Ice Age of 10,000 years ago. Lepus Timidus Hibernicus was running free on this island long before coursing clubs or political paddywhackery was ever even heard of.

Some day a government with guts will ban this obscenity that calls itself a “sport”.

John Fitzgerald

Lower Coyne Street

Callan

Co Kilkenny

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September 12 2016 2 12 /09 /September /2016 22:53
Animal cruelty/human abuse link features in novel about cruel industrial school era

Amazing how people who condone cruelty to animals, or cannot empathise with their suffering, so often tend to have a heartless attitude to their fellow human beings.

I’ve been involved for more than thirty years in a campaign against cruel blood sports in Ireland. I also do some freelance journalism and have written books on aspects of Irish heritage and history.

When researching my recently published ebook “Escape from Grievous Faults”, a novel inspired by Ireland’s grim institutional era when children were confined in “Hibernian Gulags” and single mothers enslaved in purpose built punishment centres, I was intrigued to discover a hare coursing link.

I‘d looked upon the research as a break from the anti blood sports campaign so it was a revelation to me that the cruel activity I was trying to get banned here in Ireland was a big favourite of the Men in Black who ran some of the most feared industrial schools, and also attracted leading members of the Irish clergy despite the example of Saint Francis of Assisi who abhorred animal cruelty.

A former resident of Glin Industrial School in County Limerick told me that it was a punishable offence at the school to play soccer. You’d be flogged till you bled for this “infraction”. Soccer was deemed “Un-Irish” and inimical to Gaelic culture.

But the religious order that ran the school not only encouraged support for hare coursing: Every year they frogmarched the children to the local hare coursing event where they had to watch defenceless animals being ripped asunder and listen to their child-like screams as they died

Some of the children, this man recalled, sobbed as the scenes of cruelty unfolded before them. Later in the day they would be beaten back at the school for this “unmanly” response to the “sport”.

Another way the Men in Black showed their support for hare coursing was by “lending” boys from the schools to a coursing club to help in the preparation of the coursing field. Once the grass was cut and ready to be utilised by farmers, the boys were used as a “human rake” to gather all the grass.

This saved the coursing club the cost of raking the grass. The boys were forced to go on their hands and knees and moved slowly from one end of the field to the other, picking up the grass in their hands and often getting cut or stung along the way. Brothers beat or prodded them with coin-reinforced leather straps as they “raked” and any boy slowing down or caught complaining was flogged mercilessly.

The novel I was researching wasn’t about hare coursing. It tells the story of boy who is sent to a typical industrial school and his daring plan to escape. But I did incorporate the hare coursing/animal cruelty connection in the novel over several chapters.

It strikes me as interesting, to put it mildly, that some of the people who devastated so many young lives in that dark phase of Irish history were also fond of watching animals suffer!

Extracts from the novel can be read freely at this link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Grievous-Faults-John-Fitzgerald-ebook/dp/B01I8K4ECI

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June 25 2016 7 25 /06 /June /2016 15:39
Crucial vote (June 30th) on Bill to Ban Hare coursing in Ireland! Please join plea for abolition...

A debate on a Bill to ban the cruel “sport” of hare coursing, in which live hares are used as live bait to be mauled and tossed about by hyped-up greyhounds, has concluded in Ireland’s parliament. Hare coursing is cruel beyond words.

Video footage of hare coursing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeU39Vf3SyU

Aside from the horrific ill-treatment of hares, the greyhounds often fare no better: Once their coursing days are over, many of them are abandoned or killed. Shallow graves containing the remains of these innocent dogs have been found at sites all over Ireland.

The parliamentary debate is over. But now comes the crucial part:

On June 30th, parliament will VOTE on this proposal. To become law, the Bill must be approved by a simple majority of the 157 members of parliament.

This is where you can really help and influence the outcome. Please (time permitting) send a message to members of the Irish parliament, asking them to support the Bill to Ban Hare coursing.

Simply email the message to yourself, with a “blind back-up copy” to each of the three lists below, and all of the politicians will receive your message/appeal. That requires sending the email three times, with a different list “copied” each time.

Thank you!

John Fitzgerald, Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports, Kilkenny, Ireland

List One

gerry.adams@oireachtas.ie, bobby.aylward@oireachtas.ie, maria.bailey@oireachtas.ie, sean.barrett@oireachtas.ie,mick.barry@oireachtas.ie, richard.boydbarrett@oireachtas.ie, john.brassil@oireachtas.ie,declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie, pat.breen@oireachtas.ie, colm.brophy@oireachtas.ie, tommy.broughan@oireachtas.ie,james.browne@oireachtas.ie, richard.bruton@oireachtas.ie, pat.buckley@oireachtas.ie, peter.burke@oireachtas.ie, joan.burton@oireachtas.ie, mary.butler@oireachtas.ie, catherine.byrne@oireachtas.ie,

thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie, jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie, dara.calleary@oireachtas.ie, sean.canney@oireachtas.ie, ciaran.cannon@oireachtas.ie, joe.carey@oireachtas.ie, pat.casey@oireachtas.ie, shane.cassells@oireachtas.ie, lisa.chambers@oireachtas.ie, jack.chambers@outlook.com, michael.collins@oireachtas.ie, niall.collins@oireachtas.ie, joan.collins@oireachtas.ie, catherine.connolly@oireachtas.ie, ruth.coppinger@oireachtas.ie, marcella.corcorankennedy@oireachtas.ie, simon.coveney@oireachtas.ie, barry.cowen@oireachtas.ie, michael.creed@oireachtas.ie

List Two


sean.crowe@oireachtas.ie, david.cullinane@oireachtas.ie, john.curran@oireachtas.ie, clare.daly@oireachtas.ie, jim.daly@oireachtas.ie, michael.darcy@oireachtas.ie, john.deasy@oireachtas.ie, pat.deering@oireachtas.ie, pearse.doherty@oireachtas.ie, regina.doherty@oireachtas.ie, stephen.donnelly@oireachtas.ie, paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, timmy.dooley@oireachtas.ie,andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie, bernard.durkan@oireachtas.ie, dessie.ellis@oireachtas.ie, damien.english@oireachtas.ie, alan.farrell@oireachtas.ie, frances.fitzgerald@oireachtas.ie, michael.fitzmaurice@oireachtas.ie, peterm.fitzpatrick@oireachtas.ie, charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie, sean.fleming@oireachtas.ie, kathleen.funchion@oireachtas.ie, patthecope.gallagher@oireachtas.ie, noel.grealish@oireachtas.ie, brendan.griffin@oireachtas.ie, john.halligan@oireachtas.ie,

simon.harris@oireachtas.ie, michael.harty@oireachtas.ie, sean.haughey@oireachtas.ie, seamus.healy@oireachtas.ie, danny.healy-rae@oireachtas.ie, michael.healy-rae@oireachtas.ie, martin.heydon@oireachtas.ie, brendan.howlin@oireachtas.ie, heather.humphreys@oireachtas.ie, paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie, billy.kelleher@oireachtas.ie, alan.kelly@oireachtas.ie, enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie, martinkennysf@gmail.com, gino.kenny@oireachtas.ie

List Three

sean.kyne@oireachtas.ie, john.lahart@oireachtas.ie, james.lawless@oireachtas.ie, michael.lowry@oireachtas.ie, marc.macsharry@oireachtas.ie, josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie, catherine.martin@oireachtas.ie, micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie, charlie.mcconalogue@oireachtas.ie, marylou.mcdonald@oireachtas.ie, helen.mcentee@oireachtas.ie, michael.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie,finian.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie, john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie, joe.mchugh@oireachtas.ie,

tony.mcloughlin@oireachtas.ie, denise.mitchell@oireachtas.ie, mary.mitchelloconnor@oireachtas.ie, kevin.moran@oireachtas.ie, aindrias.moynihan@oireachtas.ie, michael.moynihan@oireachtas.ie, imelda.munster@oireachtas.ie, eugene.murphy@oireachtas.ie, paul.murphy@oireachtas.ie, eoghan.murphy@oireachtas.ie, dara.murphy@oireachtas.ie, catherine.murphy@oireachtas.ie, margaret.murphyomahony@oireachtas.ie, Denis.Naughten@oireachtas.ie, hildegarde.naughton@oireachtas.ie, tom.neville@oireachtas.ie, carol.nolan@oireachtas.ie, michael.noonan@oireachtas.ie, eoin.obroin@oireachtas.ie, caoimhghin.ocaolain@oireachtas.ie, eamon.ocuiv@oireachtas.ie, sean.ofearghail@oireachtas.ie, donnchadh.olaoghaire@oireachtas.ie, aengus.osnodaigh@oireachtas.ie, darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie, jonathan.obrien@oireachtas.ie, jim.ocallaghan@oireachtas.ie, kate.oconnell@oireachtas.ie, willie.odea@oireachtas.ie, patrick.odonovan@oireachtas.ie, fergus.odowd@oireachtas.ie, kevin.okeeffe@oireachtas.ie, fiona.oloughlin@oireachtas.ie, louise.oreilly@oireachtas.ie, frank.orourke@oireachtas.ie, jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, maureen.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, willie.penrose@oireachtas.ie, johnpaul.phelan@oireachtas.ie, thomas.pringle@oireachtas.ie, maurice.quinlivan@oireachtas.ie, anne.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie, michael.ring@oireachtas.ie, noel@noelrock.ie, shane.ross@oireachtas.ie, eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie, brendan.ryan@oireachtas.ie, escanlonmcc@eircom.net, sean.sherlock@oireachtas.ie, roisin.shortall@oireachtas.ie, brendan.smith@oireachtas.ie, brid.smith@oireachtas.ie, niamh.smyth@oireachtas.ie, brian.stanley@oireachtas.ie, david.stanton@oireachtas.ie, peadar.toibin@oireachtas.ie, robert.troy@oireachtas.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, mick.wallace@oireachtas.ie, katherine.zappone@oireachtas.ie

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June 17 2016 6 17 /06 /June /2016 18:56
A scene from the "Irish Cup" hare coursing event (2014)
A scene from the "Irish Cup" hare coursing event (2014)

On Thursday June 23rd, a Bill to ban the vile “sport” of live hare coursing will be debated in the Dail, the Republic of Ireland’s parliament. The following Thursday- June 30th- the Bill will be voted on.

Your support is urgently needed to help persuade Irish politicians to vote for this measure.

If passed the Bill would end the horrific practice whereby wild hares are captured by coursing clubs and forced to run from pairs of greyhounds. Every year thousands of hares are snatched from the countryside, held in captivity for several weeks, and then taken to wire-enclosed fields or racecourses. On each coursing day, every hare has to run for its life.

Though muzzled, the dogs can maul the animals, or strike them at high speed, inflicting agonizing injuries. Hares have their bones broken as the dogs crush their bodies or toss them into the air like rag dolls. Even hares that seemingly escape unscathed, showing no physical signs of injury, can die afterwards of stress-related ailments brought on by the weeks of unnatural captivity and the terror of the contrived chase.

Evidence that muzzling and other pathetic “regulations” fail to protect the hares is overwhelming, as the video footage available at this link and the photograph show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXatH8LmWjw

Hare coursing is already banned in Northern Ireland. The Bill proposed in the Republic of Ireland (a separate jurisdiction) would protect the hare on the remainder of the island of Ireland from one of the worst forms of organized animal cruelty ever devised.

The Irish hare is a sub species of the Mountain Hare that is unique to Ireland. Having survived the Ice Age of 10,000 years ago, it finds itself at the mercy of misguided humans who get their kicks from watching it suffer in a cruel contrived chase, a practice that serves no purpose apart from providing a day out for gamblers and greyhound owners.

Many of the greyhounds used for coursing end up abandoned or shot when their running days are over or if they fail to perform to a certain standard: Another reason why hare coursing should be outlawed.

The politicians who will vote on the Bill need to be lobbied, not only from within Ireland but by people everywhere, because the Irish Hare is part of the world’s natural heritage.

Following are emails of the members of the Irish parliament, in three email blocks. Simply compose a message urging support for the Bill proposing a ban on hare coursing. Then email the message to yourself with “blind back-up copies” of each of the three lists. Your appeal will then reach all of these decision makers.

(If you live in Ireland, it is very important to contact your own local political representative on the issue)

List One

gerry.adams@oireachtas.ie, bobby.aylward@oireachtas.ie, maria.bailey@oireachtas.ie, sean.barrett@oireachtas.ie,mick.barry@oireachtas.ie, richard.boydbarrett@oireachtas.ie, john.brassil@oireachtas.ie,declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie, pat.breen@oireachtas.ie, colm.brophy@oireachtas.ie, tommy.broughan@oireachtas.ie,james.browne@oireachtas.ie, richard.bruton@oireachtas.ie, pat.buckley@oireachtas.ie, peter.burke@oireachtas.ie, joan.burton@oireachtas.ie, mary.butler@oireachtas.ie, catherine.byrne@oireachtas.ie,

thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie, jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie, dara.calleary@oireachtas.ie, sean.canney@oireachtas.ie, ciaran.cannon@oireachtas.ie, joe.carey@oireachtas.ie, pat.casey@oireachtas.ie, shane.cassells@oireachtas.ie, lisa.chambers@oireachtas.ie, jack.chambers@outlook.com, michael.collins@oireachtas.ie, niall.collins@oireachtas.ie, joan.collins@oireachtas.ie, catherine.connolly@oireachtas.ie, ruth.coppinger@oireachtas.ie, marcella.corcorankennedy@oireachtas.ie, simon.coveney@oireachtas.ie, barry.cowen@oireachtas.ie, michael.creed@oireachtas.ie

List Two


sean.crowe@oireachtas.ie, david.cullinane@oireachtas.ie, john.curran@oireachtas.ie, clare.daly@oireachtas.ie, jim.daly@oireachtas.ie, michael.darcy@oireachtas.ie, john.deasy@oireachtas.ie, pat.deering@oireachtas.ie, pearse.doherty@oireachtas.ie, regina.doherty@oireachtas.ie, stephen.donnelly@oireachtas.ie, paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, timmy.dooley@oireachtas.ie,andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie, bernard.durkan@oireachtas.ie, dessie.ellis@oireachtas.ie, damien.english@oireachtas.ie, alan.farrell@oireachtas.ie, frances.fitzgerald@oireachtas.ie, michael.fitzmaurice@oireachtas.ie, peterm.fitzpatrick@oireachtas.ie, charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie, sean.fleming@oireachtas.ie, kathleen.funchion@oireachtas.ie, patthecope.gallagher@oireachtas.ie, noel.grealish@oireachtas.ie, brendan.griffin@oireachtas.ie, john.halligan@oireachtas.ie,

simon.harris@oireachtas.ie, michael.harty@oireachtas.ie, sean.haughey@oireachtas.ie, seamus.healy@oireachtas.ie, danny.healy-rae@oireachtas.ie, michael.healy-rae@oireachtas.ie, martin.heydon@oireachtas.ie, brendan.howlin@oireachtas.ie, heather.humphreys@oireachtas.ie, paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie, billy.kelleher@oireachtas.ie, alan.kelly@oireachtas.ie, enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie, martinkennysf@gmail.com, gino.kenny@oireachtas.ie

List Three

sean.kyne@oireachtas.ie, john.lahart@oireachtas.ie, james.lawless@oireachtas.ie, michael.lowry@oireachtas.ie, marc.macsharry@oireachtas.ie, josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie, catherine.martin@oireachtas.ie, micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie, charlie.mcconalogue@oireachtas.ie, marylou.mcdonald@oireachtas.ie, helen.mcentee@oireachtas.ie, michael.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie,finian.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie, john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie, joe.mchugh@oireachtas.ie,

tony.mcloughlin@oireachtas.ie, denise.mitchell@oireachtas.ie, mary.mitchelloconnor@oireachtas.ie, kevin.moran@oireachtas.ie, aindrias.moynihan@oireachtas.ie, michael.moynihan@oireachtas.ie, imelda.munster@oireachtas.ie, eugene.murphy@oireachtas.ie, paul.murphy@oireachtas.ie, eoghan.murphy@oireachtas.ie, dara.murphy@oireachtas.ie, catherine.murphy@oireachtas.ie, margaret.murphyomahony@oireachtas.ie, Denis.Naughten@oireachtas.ie, hildegarde.naughton@oireachtas.ie, tom.neville@oireachtas.ie, carol.nolan@oireachtas.ie, michael.noonan@oireachtas.ie, eoin.obroin@oireachtas.ie, caoimhghin.ocaolain@oireachtas.ie, eamon.ocuiv@oireachtas.ie, sean.ofearghail@oireachtas.ie, donnchadh.olaoghaire@oireachtas.ie, aengus.osnodaigh@oireachtas.ie, darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie, jonathan.obrien@oireachtas.ie, jim.ocallaghan@oireachtas.ie, kate.oconnell@oireachtas.ie, willie.odea@oireachtas.ie, patrick.odonovan@oireachtas.ie, fergus.odowd@oireachtas.ie, kevin.okeeffe@oireachtas.ie, fiona.oloughlin@oireachtas.ie, louise.oreilly@oireachtas.ie, frank.orourke@oireachtas.ie, jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, maureen.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, willie.penrose@oireachtas.ie, johnpaul.phelan@oireachtas.ie, thomas.pringle@oireachtas.ie, maurice.quinlivan@oireachtas.ie, anne.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie, michael.ring@oireachtas.ie, noel@noelrock.ie, shane.ross@oireachtas.ie, eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie, brendan.ryan@oireachtas.ie, escanlonmcc@eircom.net, sean.sherlock@oireachtas.ie, roisin.shortall@oireachtas.ie, brendan.smith@oireachtas.ie, brid.smith@oireachtas.ie, niamh.smyth@oireachtas.ie, brian.stanley@oireachtas.ie, david.stanton@oireachtas.ie, peadar.toibin@oireachtas.ie, robert.troy@oireachtas.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, mick.wallace@oireachtas.ie, katherine.zappone@oireachtas.ie

Thank you,

John Fitzgerald,

Campaign for the Abolition

Of Cruel Sports,

Kilkenny, Ireland

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June 7 2016 3 07 /06 /June /2016 18:36
Good News: Billionaire Gambling Tycoon drops sponsorhip of major Irish hare coursing event!

The cruel “sport” of live hare coursing has been dealt a severe blow...

One of its top financial sponsors, gambling tycoon and philanthropist JP McManus, will no longer be sponsoring the three-day Irish Cup hare coursing event in County Limerick.

This will represent an estimated loss of E40000 to the vile blood sport extravaganza that was deemed to be the “Blue Ribband” of organised hare baiting in Ireland, held annually at a venue in Co. Limerick, usually at Limerick Racecourse.

Campaigners against blood sports have been informed by a former well known hare coursing fan who no longer approves of the practise that Mr. McManus’s decision has been known to the Irish Coursing Club, the governing body for the blood sport, and to Limerick-based coursing clubs, for several months, but kept quiet for fear of the embarrassment it would bring to their “sport”. They want to keep this “completely out of the local and national media”, the ex coursing informant assures us.

Animal protection organisations and anti blood sports campaign groups had launched online petitions urging the gambling high flier to stop offering financial support to a blood sport that many other jurisdictions had banned, including Britain and Northern Ireland.

Video footage of the “JP McManus Irish Cup” coursing event that was secretly filmed by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports and posted online sparked international outrage.

The next hare coursing season will be different...it won’t have the high profile backing of its one time super sponsor. The JP McManus Irish Cup is now just a fond memory for hare baiting fans, as it was in the past a nightmare for animal lovers.

Hare coursing will face another challenge: Maureen O’ Sullivan TD (member of Irish parliament) has published a Private Members Bill to outlaw the practise that will be debated shortly and given make-up of the new Dail there is a chance that it could pass if a free vote on the measure is allowed by the parties.

  • Here is a link to one of the online petitions (launched by the Irish Association of Hunt Saboteurs) appealing to Mr. McManus and other financial backers of the blood sport to quit sponsoring hare coursing:

https://www.change.org/p/stop-sponsoring-hare-coursing-in-ireland

  • And here is some of the footage of the Irish Cup hare coursing event…a former major fixture on the coursing calendar that will never again benefit from Mr. McManus’s “philanthropy”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXatH8LmWjw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el8RIHTQA_U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zcx9n7SEpTI

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August 9 2015 1 09 /08 /August /2015 23:21
Anti bull fight demo at Spanish tourist office in Dublin...
Anti bull fight demo at Spanish tourist office in Dublin...

On Thursday last (August 6th) members and supports of several Irish animal protection groups protested outside both the Spanish tourist office in Dublin and the office of the government’s Arts Minister.

One demo highlighted the promotion of bullfighting savagery by the Spanish tourist agency, while the second protest drew attention to the fact that another hare coursing season will commence in late September if the Minister for Arts and Culture grants a license permitting this annual five months of live baiting to take place legally in Ireland.

If the license is granted, thousands of hares- gentle inoffensive creatures- will be forced to run from hyped-up greyhounds, to be mauled, terrorised, pinned to the ground to suffer broken bones, and tossed into the air like broken toys...all for the amusement of humans who consider this “sport.”

You can help end this cruelty by spreading the word about the petition to ban hare coursing in Ireland that you have (to you eternal credit!) already signed.

Politicians cannot indefinitely ignore domestic, and international, opinion on wildlife protection issues.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077D1BC4

Twin demos target bullfighting and hare coursing...
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August 8 2015 7 08 /08 /August /2015 23:33
Cecil Factor aids wildlife protection...

If ever an animal could be said not to have died in vain it was poor old Cecil the Lion. His sad end at the hands of a wealthy hunter has focused attention on the plight of endangered wildlife worldwide, and not just the fate of rhinos, tigers, lions, pandas, and hippos.

The whole issue of recreational killing of wildlife has come under the spotlight as people vent their outrage at the sadistic and calculated way that Cecil was made to suffer for “sport.” In Spain and some South American countries, animals are stoned to death at fiestas, goats are thrown off high buildings, and the horns of bulls set alight.

That’s if there isn’t a bull fighting session on to amuse or occupy blood sport fans. Bears are still baited in Pakistan and Afghanistan, dogs ripping into their flesh and inflicting a slow death in scenes that Shakespeare would have been familiar with in Elizabethan England but that some humans seem to crave in the 21st century. Here in Ireland we are less than two months away from another hare coursing season.

An animal whose conservation status is deemed poor and that has all but vanished from many parts of the country is forced to serve as bait for pairs of competing greyhounds They are mere pawns in a silly game of chance, getting mauled or tossed about like broken toys on rain sodden and wind swept fields nationwide.

As a popular Irish folk song went: “All God’s creatures have a place in the choir.” None of them deserve to be tortured to death or mutilated or terrorised for a laugh or a wager, or to be mounted as a grizzly trophy on the wall of some wealthy connoisseur of carcasses. Now the spectre of Cecil, lying dead and headless and with a smiling hunter posing beside him, hangs over all blood sports.

From the mighty lion to the brooding bear, the wily fox to the humble hare, these creatures form part of the world’s imperiled wildlife heritage. Thanks to the Cecil Factor this treasure that graces our planetary eco-system may yet survive the effects of man’s inhumanity.

The campaign to protect wildlife everywhere continues:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Hare-Days-John-Fitzgerald-ebook/dp/B0077D1BC4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439064020&sr=8-1&keywords=bad+hare+days

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April 8 2015 4 08 /04 /April /2015 01:25

Hares have disappeared from the North Bull Island, one of Ireland’s most important and best known nature reserves!

 

The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports (CACS) has issued this statement, dated April 7th, 2015:

 

We are alarmed at the news that hares are now EXTINCT on Dublin Bay’s North Bull Island, one of Ireland’s most important nature reserves and coincidentally one that for generations had been almost synonymous with the iconic Irish Hare. 

 

This is an ominous development in the ongoing threat to the Irish Hare, a sub species of the Mountain Hare that is unique to Ireland and has long been a treasured part of our wildlife heritage.

 

In former years hares were netted for organized hare coursing events on the North Bull Island. Coursing clubs continue to net hares in many parts of the country for their cruel fixtures but what role they might have played in this latest debacle is unclear, especially given the secrecy that surrounds hare netting and related coursing practices.

 

An article on the North Bull Island Wildlife website, which is run by an ecologist with over 40 years experience of studying and recording wildlife, reveals that no hares have been spotted on the island since June 2014.

 

The article states: "The native Irish Hare was once abundant on the island but is now on the verge of extinction for the second time in recent decades. In 2014 only one animal was reported up to the end of May 2014; then two were observed in June. No hares have been recorded since June despite extensive searches."

The disappearance of hares from the island is attributed to disturbance by humans and dogs, with assorted environmental factors playing a less significant role.

The absence of the Irish Hare from this internationally recognized nature reserve must surely be a matter of concern for our politicians, regardless of their views on the deliberate ill-treatment of hares in organized coursing events.

 

It should also be a source of embarrassment to the political establishment, given the fact that licenses permitting the annual netting of thousands of hares are granted to coursing clubs. Hares are netted in almost every county of the Republic, and NPWS reports show that they have even been removed from off shore islands (e.g. Island Eddy in Galway Bay, Oyster Island off the Sligo coast, and Hog Island off the Clare coast) and just about any place the coursing clubs can find them.

 

Netting threatens local hare populations and is responsible for widespread interference with the species, including disturbance of pregnant hares, nursing mothers and leverets. Resulting depletion of vulnerable population pockets can lead to local extinction.

 

Apart from the cruelty factor (maulings and other injuries are recorded by wildlife rangers annually at coursing events), there is also a concernabout the reproductive viability of hares that are released back into the wild after being subjected to the terror, stress, and trauma of coursing.

 

The demise of the Irish Hare on the North Bull Island is all the more shocking and unacceptable given that the island has the most designations of any site in Ireland.

 

It is a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive, a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive, a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve, a National Nature Reserve and is part of the Natura 2000 Network.  Yet, despite this blanket of theoretical protection, the hares seem to have vanished into thin air on the island.

 

We have urged the Department of Arts and Heritage to facilitate the re-introduction of hares to the North Bull Island and to allocate the necessary resources to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to enhance their protected status on the island thereafter.

 

 

The two pronged menace of coursing clubs and lurcher gangs

 

 

We believe urgent action is also required to protect the Irish Hare nationwide and we strongly suggest that no further netting licenses be granted to coursing clubs, regardless of how much political influence these people can muster. In the past they have held many of our politicians in a vice-like grip, pulling the wool over their eyes with their “we love the hare more than anyone” nonsense.

 

Coursing clubs and renegade lurcher gangs are depleting our Irish Hare population nationwide. The coursing clubs, though not intentionally in cahoots with the illegal poachers, are directly facilitating them by concentrating captured or “released” hares in areas known as preserves which are easily accessible to the lurcher men.

 

Hare coursing advocates frequently quote Quercus, the Belfast University research body as confirming that “Irish hares are 18 times more abundant in areas managed by the Irish Coursing Club than at similar sites in the wider countryside”.  The clubs effectively advertise the presence of significant numbers of hares in their so-called preserves, with the result that poachers know exactly where to find and kill them. 

 

If the poachers were to seek out hares without the benefit of access to these semi-captive creatures  on coursing club property they would find it far more difficult to locate them given the low hare density across the island. The coursing club preserves have become virtual death traps for hares and may be hastening the decline of the species.

 

We have sent a circular to all TDs and Senators, urging our politicians to address this issue. We believe that legislation and/or appropriate ministerial action is urgently needed to prevent coursing clubs from 1) netting hares for their baiting fixtures and 2) otherwise interfering with the hare population and playing directly, if unwittingly, into the hands of unscrupulous poachers and criminal gangs.

 

·         Claims by coursing clubs and by Irish Government Minister Tom Hayes that cruelty has been eliminated from hare coursing are belied by the reports filed by wildlife rangers attached to the NPWS AND video evidence captured at numerous hare coursing events in Ireland. Here is some of the footage:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOP5-sMRElM&list=PLRkXOvbUPNNjMc6LShwiiXBfnDAPbykf-

 

…End of statement…

 

North-Bull-Island-hares-one.jpg

 

 

 

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