Anti-blood sport campaigners joined various animal protection groups outside Dublin Castle to protest at the exempting of blood sports from prohibition under the Animal Health and Welfare Act. Other groups were there to promote animal friendly lifestyles and to highlight cruel animal transport practises.
Anti-blood sport campaigners joined various animal protection groups outside Dublin Castle on Friday May 16th to protest at the exempting of blood sports from prohibition under the Animal Health and Welfare Act. Other groups were there to promote animal friendly lifestyles and to highlight cruel animal transport practises.
The protest coincided with a major conference at Dublin Castle on animal welfare instigated by Agriculture Minister Coveney, who inserted into the Act the special exemptions that allow hare coursing, fox hunting, and the despicably cruel practise of “of digging out” foxes and fox cubs that escape underground during hunts.
Minister Coveney told delegates today how wonderful, enlightened, and up to date his new legislation is for animals in Ireland. We contend it is the exact opposite...it condones and fully permits cruel outdated medieval practises that are banned in many other jurisdictions. Hare coursing, for example, is illegal in Britain and Northern Ireland, and most of mainland Europe.
In coursing the hares are snatched from their habitats by gangs using nets. They are then confined in captivity before being terrorised by pairs of greyhounds in wired off fields or parks The animals are mauled by the dogs, tossed into the air, or pinned to the ground...resulting in agonising injuries or bone breakages that cannot heal. Even hares set free after coursing can die of stress-related conditions such as Capture Myopathy.
In foxhunting wild dogs are chased for miles until exhaustion delivers them to the hounds to be disembowelled.
Foxes that manage to seek underground are subjected to the horror of the hunt “dig-out”. Men with spades and terriers dig until the fox is heard or becomes visible. Then one or more terriers are dropped down to attack the terrified fox and drag it to the surface, resulting in appalling injuries to both fox and terrier.
The other hunting-related issue that concerns people is the havoc wrought on farmland by hunts...a hunt can encroach on twenty or thirty patches of land in the course of a day’s hunting, causing damage to fencing and livestock and ripping up whole fields of crops. FAFT (Farmers against Foxhunting and Trespass) has highlighted this problem
Minister Coveney had indicated his revulsion at the practise “digging out” out hunted foxes during the lengthy Dail Debate on the legislation...then did a U turn after approaches by the hunting lobby. This stomach churning savagery was allowed to continue under the Act.
We believe the Act is a disgrace that does more to hurt the cause of animal welfare than enhance it. How can legislation that permits hare coursing and fox hunting be acclaimed as “progressive” and “modernising”?
The Minister shamefully capitulated to the powerful pro-blood sports lobby when the legislation was being drafted, ignoring every plea from animal protection groups to protect the hare and the fox from deliberate and indefensible cruelty posing as “sport”.