Saturday 29 march 2014 6 29 /03 /Mar /2014 21:04

The problem is that the Irish Government's concept of “animal welfare” fully embraces and facilitates the proven cruelty of hare coursing, fox hunting, fox dig-outs, fur farming, badger snaring, among other cruelties, and the so-called Animal Health and Welfare Act permits these activities.


The conference is to be open only to people who will stay conveniently silent about these obscenities.


All groups opposed to any or all of the above named cruelties will hopefully come together and picket this devious attempt at political whitewashing of animal cruelty.


The Government is trying to push its pro-blood sports agenda under the guise of a sham concern for the welfare of SOME animals.


Here are some of the government backed "sportspeople"  in action...attempting to suppress filming of a practise they claim has nothing to hide...



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Tuesday 11 february 2014 2 11 /02 /Feb /2014 01:14

Proof that hare coursing in Ireland needs cover-up to survive...



Those of us who have campaigned for decades against the cruelty of live hare coursing have frequently argued that the organisers of coursing events appear to be terrified of adverse publicity.


There have been incidents over the years in which cameras have been confiscated at coursing events, and people filming them subjected to threats or physical assault.


However, following an assurance by a senior Irish Coursing Club (ICC) official in a recent TV interview that everyone was welcome at coursing events, one might have expected that it would be safe to film what the ICC considers a "a wholesome and traditional rural pastime."


Two animal protection campaigners attended the recent National Hare Coursing Festival (the All-Ireland Finals of the "sport") to video-record part of the event. They aimed to gather further evidence of animal cruelty of the kind witnessed at previous coursing fixtures such as dogs mauling the of hares, striking them with great force, or pummelling or pinning the animals to the ground.


 When the two women commenced recording with a small camcorder, they were approached by a man who asked them to stop filming. When they challenged this request, they were ejected from the coursing venue and told they wouldn’t be getting their money back.


This incident, some of which was captured on film (the camcorder was still running when the women were being ejected) can be viewed on YouTube or the website. 


It demonstrates very clearly that hare coursing is NOT a normal sporting activity. It is banned in many jurisdictions including Britain and Northern Ireland on animal welfare grounds.  


Here in the Republic it continues to depend for its survival on censorship and cover-up.


If hare coursing, as the ICC claims, has "nothing to hide", then why this apparent aversion to animal lovers filming the action?


(* Here is the footage (just uploaded to YouTube) of ICC President Brian Divilly denying the two women the right to film an event that the ICC claims has “nothing to hide.”)


Anti hare coursing protest at St Patrick's Day Parade in Ne



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Tuesday 16 july 2013 2 16 /07 /Jul /2013 22:15




                Emma Sharma Hayes


                               An Appreciation



A woman who was a friend and inspiration to survivors of institutional abuse has passed away.

   Emma Sharma Hayes died peacefully on June 3rd at age 62. She had worked as a nurse in Britain before returning in later life to Ireland where she lived in Dublin’s Jervis Street.  Emma experienced cruelty at the hands of a religious order in her childhood.

   Only decades later would this wound that marred her early years be acknowledged by the relevant Order. In the interim, however, Emma displayed a remarkable lack of bitterness towards the people responsible. 

   She quietly helped survivors of institutional abuse, availing of her nursing and counseling skills, and her talent and qualifications as a creative writer, to lend support to people struggling to come to terms with the wrongs of another era. 

   She welcomed as a watershed in Irish history the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009 that exposed the horrors of what happened in State-funded industrial schools and the more recent report on the Magdalene Laundries.

   Despite her reservations about organized religion, Emma was a deeply spiritual person. A student of the works of Carl Gustav Jung, she had an open mind on what other levels of existence might await us after death.

   She adopted many causes pertaining to environmental protection and the safeguarding of heritage sites. Emma was a familiar sight on the Hill of Tara during the campaign against the routing of a motorway through the Tara-Skryne valley. For her, it was more than a culturally and archeologically significant location: It was part of Ireland’s soul.

   The preservation of Ireland’s woodland heritage was another cause she cherished. She joined protests at the Dail that urged a reversal of plans to sell off the harvesting rights to our forests.

   Emma was active in the Green Party and though saddened by its 2011 electoral setback, she was delighted with the election of Dublin North TD Clare Daly whose political ethos and social analysis she felt resonated with her own. 

   She organized petitions for a whole range of human rights causes, especially ones pertaining to the ill-treatment and persecution of women.  She also supported the campaign against blood sports.

   Her life of service to others and the causes she held dear were reflected in the attendance at her funeral service at Mount Jerome. Representatives of many campaign groups were there to say goodbye to Emma, as were her daughter Brogan and son Vijay, to both of whom she was a caring mother and friend.

           -John Fitzgerald


(Published in Irish Times-July 8th 2013)



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Monday 15 july 2013 1 15 /07 /Jul /2013 22:43
Letter in Irish Independent (July 15th 2013)
  picture-of-cruelty-in-action.png  ghc-01


* The goring of several men in the annual Pamplona bull run has drawn attention again to this barbaric festival that poses a threat to humans and animals alike.


You risk being injured or even killed when you take your chances in the event, and the bulls are routinely killed afterwards, some in bullfights where they are stabbed repeatedly before being put out of their misery by a swaggering caped man wielding a sword. Both practices are stains on civilisation.


So, too, are other forms of recreational animal cruelty. Ireland's answer to the bull run and bullfighting is hare coursing. We have more than 70 coursing fixtures every year.


There are differences, though. Unlike the bull, the Irish hare is a meek, gentle creature that is easily frightened. In Irish coursing, unlike in Pamplona, it is the animals that do all the running and the fans take no risk whatsoever.


Having captured the hares and confined them in wired compounds for weeks, they are forced to serve as live bait. On coursing day, the fans and club officials wrap themselves in snug winter garb while the hares perform in torrential rain, snow or hailstorms, or on water-logged fields.


They stand, or sit, in safety and comfort as the hares are mauled, pinned to the ground, or tossed about like rag dolls.


The fans imbibe whiskey or brandy from flasks as a mammal that survived the Ice Age is forced to run in terror from hyped-up greyhounds.


It is interesting that in Spain people feel a need to dress up animal cruelty as a challenge – a test of manliness and courage. They think of the event, perversely and misguidedly, as a showdown between man and bull. Here, hare coursers don't even pretend that the animal they target for their gratification could ever stand up to them.


Bullfighting and bull-running may be among the bloodiest cruelties ever devised. But hare coursing could surely rank as the world's most cowardly bloodsport.


John Fitzgerald

Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports

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Friday 22 march 2013 5 22 /03 /Mar /2013 06:09


March 21st 2013


Dear Friends,

At around lunchtime on Wednesday, March 27th, Ireland’s parliament, the Dail, will begin debating the Final Stage of the Government’s new Animal Health and Welfare Bill. Though the Bill will update some forms of animal protection in Ireland it will also, shockingly, exempt some horrific animal cruelty practises from prohibition.


As the Bill stands, it will allow fox hunting, the digging out of foxes and fox cubs that escape underground during a hunt, and hare coursing, to continue. Instead of protecting these wild animals, the legislation would in fact “protect” the powerful foxhunt and hare coursing clubs.


This would be a travesty, condemning these creatures to cruel and agonising deaths for “sport”, as the pictures clearly show.


However, two members of parliament, Maureen O’ Sullivan and Clare Daly, are determined to challenge the proposed “exemptions” for these blood sports. To have a chance of success with their attempt to have the Bill amended to ban these cruelties, they will need the backing of other parliamentarians.


This is where you can really help. Below is a block list of all members of the Irish Parliament. We are asking you to send a message by email (a short one is fine) to them, requesting simply that they consider supporting Clare Daly and Maureen O’ Sullivan on Wednesday so that those cruel practises are outlawed under the new Bill instead of being permitted to continue. Simply address the email to one person and paste the list into the “Blind Back-Up Copy” line. If you need further info on the actual blood sports involved a good website is



  Here is a sample message you can send:


Dear Parliamentarians,


For the sake of the animals and for the sake of Ireland's image as a nation, PLEASE do NOT allow hare coursing and fox hunting to continue under the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill. To do so would be an absolute travesty and make a mockery of what is supposed to be a law to PROTECT animals from cruelty.

List of all members of Ireland’s parliament:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Thanking you,

John Fitzgerald,


Campaign for the Abolition

Of Cruel Sports,







 two coursing fans with dying hare


Irish terrierman with injured fox and dog 


Anti hare coursing protest at St Patrick's Day Parade in Ne


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