Irish badgers are being culled in horrific circumstances: Renewed call for end to cull

26 May

badger1

Maureen O’Sullivan TD (Dublin Central, Independent) has renewed a call on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to cancel his department’s cruel badger cull. The cull, part of a failed TB Eradication Scheme, has involved the inhumane snaring and killing of an estimated 100,000 badgers to-date.

In a 14 May 2015 parliamentary exchange, Deputy O’Sullivan refers to a 4-year study which has found that badgers actively avoid fields of cattle and buildings containing cattle.

“Is there not a good justifiable reason to suspend the culling of badgers,” Maureen asks Minister Coveney.

You can watch the full Dail exchange at

Some of the points made by Maureen O’Sullivan:

Badgers are culled in most horrific circumstances. We have seen badgers caught in the trap where they are shot. Poison has been laid. Slurry has been left in some of the traps in order to further intensify the cruelty. This is being carried out under licences issued by the Department.

80% of the badgers being culled are perfectly healthy animals

This cull of badgers has been called slaughter masquerading as science

There is a need for a more holistic approach to bovine TB rather than blaming the badger for everything.

ACTION ALERTS

Sign our petition – Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/irish-agriculture-minister-simon-coveney-stop-badger-snaring-cruelty-now

Demand an end to the Department of Agriculture’s cruel snaring of thousands of badgers.

Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Please write to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Remind them that the Wildlife Act, for which they are responsible, lists the badger as a protected species. Demand that they stop licensing the snaring and killing of thousands of badgers as part of a cruel and discredited TB eradication scheme.

Minister Heather Humphreys
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

Email: Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie,ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie,nature.conservation@ahg.gov.ie
Tel: (01) 631 3804
Fax: (01) 661 1201

Hare suffered fractured metatarsus when hit by coursing greyhound

26 May

Ireland’s Hare Cousing Cruelty: “5 hares hit, one mauled badly…one dog seemed to catch the hare by the foot…the hare was inspected by me afterwards and it had sustained a fractured metatarsus. I ordered it to be euthanased on welfare grounds.” from the report of a Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector who attended the Abbeydorney Co Kerry coursing meeting in October 2012.

ACTION ALERT

Watch our campaign video “Urge the Irish Government to Ban Cruel Hare Coursing”

Get in touch with all your local TDs now and urge them to back a ban on hare coursing.

Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members%2Dhist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=31&disp=const

Email TDs online at Contact.ie – http://www.contact.ie/contact-national-politicians

Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Urge Minister Heather Humphreys to show compassion for the persecuted Irish Hare and stop licensing cruel hare coursing.

Email “Stop licensing cruel hare coursing” to Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie,ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie,taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie,joan.burton@oireachtas.ie,wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie,Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/heather.humphreysfg
Tweet to Heather Humphreys: @HHumphreysFG

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter.)

Dear Minister,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to stop licensing this cruel bloodsport

In coursing, hares suffer at all stages – during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips. Every season, hare injuries and deaths are documented.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and stop licensing coursing.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please appeal to the Minister for Agriculture to remove an outrageous exemption for hare coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/SimonCoveney
Tweet to: @simoncoveney

Minister Humphreys allowing threatened birds to be shot out of the skies

20 May

red listed birds copy

Minister Heather Humphreys and the National Parks and Wildlife Service are allowing the killing of bird species identified as being “threatened” and “of conservation concern”.

From September 1st, when the open seasons begin, hunters armed with shotguns will be free to blast out of the sky red-listed birds whose populations are in worrying decline.

A National Parks and Wildlife Service notice, published by the Department of Arts & Heritage, presents the animal and bird species which hunters can target. These include species which have been hit with “dramatic” declines, a threatened species with “high priority conservation status” and a species with less than 50 breeding pairs remaining and a wintering population of just 760 birds.

Many of the birds included in the government’s open season are flagged as red-listed and amber-listed in “Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2014–2019″ – an all-Ireland report by Bird Watch Ireland and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Download the report (pdf file)

“Red-listed species are those of highest conservation priority, being globally threatened, declining rapidly in abundance or range, or having undergone historic declines from which they have not recently recovered,” the report states. ” Amber-listed species have an unfavourable status in Europe, have moderately declined in abundance or range, a very small population size, a localised distribution, or occur in internationally important numbers.”

Below are details of the hunting seasons alongside information from the “Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2014–2019″ report. After reading, please respond to the action alert.

Golden Plover – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

The breeding population has experienced a 52% decline in the past 10-15 years, while the non-breeding population has fallen by a massive 66% in the past 25 years. “From an Irish perspective, the red-listing of these species is an essential recognition of their threatened and high priority conservation status on the island.”

Red Grouse – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from September 1st to 30th

“Surveys of Red Grouse in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, have highlighted the impact that land-use changes in upland habitats have had on a once widespread species with recent population estimates of no more than 2,500 pairs across all-Ireland. This is half that of previous highest estimates, reflecting the huge range contraction…”

Gadwall – Amber-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

There are less than 50 breeding pairs in Ireland and an estimated 760 birds wintering here.

Greylag Goose – Amber-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 15th October countrywide and from 16th October to 31st January at Lady’s Island Lake in Wexford and at Gearagh East and Gearagh West in Cork.

This wintering bird has an estimated all-Ireland population of just 4,790

Wigeon – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

Less than 6 breeding pairs, nearly 63,000 non-breeding wintering birds. Now red-listed due to a long-term decline of over 50% in wintering population.

Pintail – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

Only 1+ breeding pair thought to be remaining here and just 1,800 wintering. There has been a long-term 66% decline in the wintering populations in Ireland.

Shoveler – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

Less than 40 breeding pairs remaining. Large wintering population decline of 62%, with a wintering population of just 2,910 birds.

Scaup – Amber-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

Just 6,300 birds wintering around Ireland

Tufted Duck – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

This diving duck has experienced a “dramatic” short-term decline in non-breeding populations, estimated to be 52%. The species has been in decline since the 1980s.

Pochard – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

There were less than 5 breeding pairs of pochards between 2007-11. The wintering population is estimated to be 16,030 but “wintering declines in Ireland have been so dramatic”. The short term decline has been 59% in the last 25 years.

Goldeneye – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

Over the past 25 years, there has been a 52% fall in the population of this diving duck. There has been a dramatic decline in the numbers wintering here, with the figure believed to now be just 6,040

Woodcock – Red-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st November to 31st January.

There are conservation concerns around the Woodcock due to its long term deceline in breeding range (greater than 70%).

Jack Snipe – Amber-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

Teal – Amber-listed
May be killed during a hunting season from 1st September to 31st January

“Information on range and abundance is far from comprehensive.”

ACTION ALERT

Instead of facilitating the killing of birds, Minister Heather Humphreys and the National Parks and Wildlife Service should be doing everything possible to protect these vulnerable species. Contact them now.

Email “Stop facilitating the killing of threatened birds” to Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie,ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie,taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie,joan.burton@oireachtas.ie,nature.conservation@ahg.gov.ie
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/heather.humphreysfg
Tweet to Heather Humphreys: @HHumphreysFG

Government Notice Game Hunting Licences & Open Seasons 16

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association demanding killing of deer

15 May

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) Close portrait with frontal view of stag roaring during the rut, with mouth open England

100,000 badgers have already been cruelly snared and killed in Ireland as part of a failed and discredited “TB Eradication” scheme.

Now, there are calls for deer to be similarly destroyed.

An Irish Independent report this week reveals that the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association is demanding that wild deer be urgently killed.

Claiming that the deer are responsible for spreading TB to cows in the dairy industry, ICMSA president John Comer is demanding “really serious control of the wild deer population.”

Read the Independent report at http://www.independent.ie/business/farming/wild-deer-are-out-of-control-icmsa-31213329.html

Previously, the ICMSA declared its support for the bloodsport of carted deer hunting. In 2010, ICABS expressed disgust to the association after its then president referred to carted deerhunting as a “humane country activity” and claimed that the ban on the Ward Union is “unwanted, uncalled for, unfair and unprecedented in terms of the bias it represents against traditional country pursuits”.

Badgers have been wrongfully vilified: Maureen O’Sullivan calls for cancellation of cruel cull

14 May

BADGERS have been wrongfully vilified copy

It emerged last month that “Bovine TB Eradication” research carried out by the Department of Agriculture and the National Parks and Wildlife Service has dramatically revealed that badgers actually avoid cattle.

The findings of the major research project which has been running for four years cast even greater doubt on Department claims that badgers must be killed to reduce the spread of bovine TB – a cull condemned as “slaughter masquerading as science”.

This morning (14 May 2015) in Dail Eireann, Irish Council Against Blood Sports President, Maureen O’Sullivan TD challenged Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on the cull which has to-date resulted in the cruel snaring and killing of an estimated 100,000 badgers.

Deputy O’Sullivan asked the Minister if, given the fact that badgers actively avoid cattle and fields/buildings containing cattle, he would consider it appropriate to cancel the cull.

Please scroll down for the full text of the exchange…

Note: In an attempt to downplay the cruelty, Minister Coveney uses euphemisms – “restraint” for wire snare and “badger removal” for the act of snaring a badger and later shooting it dead. His use of the word “humane” in relation to the killing is entirely inappropriate. There is certainly nothing humane about it.

According to Bernie Barrett of Badger Watch Ireland: “The method of capture is a barbaric wire snare which holds the helpless badger in excruciating pain until it is dispatched by gunshot. That’s provided the animal has not agonisingly strangled itself beforehand. When nursing female badgers are snared and shot, their cubs are left to starve to death underground.”

“Conservationists do not accept the theory that badgers are guilty of spreading bovine TB in the first place,” Badger Watch says. “The route of infection from badger to cow under normal farm conditions has never been fully explained. The evidence remains circumstantial.”

Dail Question, 14th May 2015

Question 12. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in view of a report (details supplied) and the findings of the study that badgers avoid fields of cattle and farm buildings containing cattle, if he will acknowledge that badgers have been wrongfully vilified; if he will accordingly suspend his Department’s practice of badger cull, which to date has resulted in the snaring and killing of a large number of badgers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18538/15]

Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan: The question relates to a recent report after a four year study which indicates that badgers do not seek out cattle and actively avoid them. In that case is there not a justifiable reason to suspend the culling of badgers?

Deputy Simon Coveney: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. She and I have spoken about badgers many times and I know where she is coming from. The badger removal strategy, which has been part of our TB eradication programme for some years, has been developed in response to research which has demonstrated that the eradication of the disease in cattle is not a practicable proposition until the reservoir of infection in badgers, with which it has also been found they share localised TB strains, is addressed. This is based on a number of studies which showed that badger removal had a significant beneficial impact on the risk of future breakdowns, with areas where badgers were not removed being some 14 times at greater risk than in areas where badgers were removed.

It is also notable that there has been a significant improvement in the disease situation in Ireland both in the cattle and badger populations since the badger removal programme was put on a more structured footing in 2004. The incidence of TB in cattle has fallen by almost 40% since 2008 and is currently at record low levels. It is particularly interesting that the incidence of TB in Northern Ireland, where badger removal is not prioritised, is approximately twice as high as on this side of the Border.

The study referred to by the Deputy is ongoing and is designed to find out how exactly the disease transmission between badgers and cattle takes place with a view to building up a comprehensive picture of badger movements and helping to design a viable vaccination programme for badgers, which is my Department’s preferred way of addressing the issue, if we can make it work. The fact that badgers tend to avoid buildings does not mean that they do not transmit disease to cattle. The position is that badgers can and do transmit TB to cattle via faeces, urine or latrines, and strain-typing has shown that badgers and cattle share the same strain of TB which is prevalent in the locality. Apart from this, research has shown that, as I have stated above, the removal of badgers from a locality has resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of TB in cattle.

My Department endeavours to ensure that the badger culling programme takes place as humanely as possible. The restraints used in the capture of badgers are approved under section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976 and research conducted within UCD has shown that damage or injury to captured badgers is minimal and is lower than with other capture methodologies. The badger removal programme is based on research, is conducted humanely and only to the extent where it has been found to assist in reducing disease levels and, through the evidence of the sustained reductions in disease levels, both in cattle and badgers, has demonstrated its effectiveness. I am confident it can be replaced by a badger vaccination programme in due course and, as far as I am concerned, the sooner the better but I need to do it on the basis of science.

Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan: I suggest there could be other reasons for the improvement in the reduction in the levels of bovine TB apart from the cull of the badgers. There is no doubt that everybody wants a cattle herd free of bovine TB. It was interesting to read this report which was carried out by the Minister’s Department, Trinity College and the National Parks and Wildlife Service over four years. What it discovered was that badgers actively avoid areas where there are cattle, whether in a yard or out in the wild. They have been observed on their nightly wanderings and if they come into a field where there are cattle they divert somewhere else. In the meantime, 80% of the badgers being culled are perfectly healthy animals. We are aware that even though there are licences to shoot them, they are culled in most horrific circumstances. We have seen badgers caught in the trap where they are shot. Poison has been laid. Slurry has been left in some of the traps in order to further intensify the cruelty. This is being carried out under licences issued by the Department.

There is a need for a more holistic approach to bovine TB rather than blaming the badger for everything. I hope the Minister will look at the report which provides interesting findings and see the impetus for the vaccine.

Deputy Simon Coveney: We will look at the report. It would be dishonest of me to say that I do not think that the badger targeted cull programme is being done in as humane a way as we can do it. If there are other suggestions as to how we can do it better, we would happily take them on board but to suggest it is not working would be wrong. This has been a hugely successful programme where we have virtually halved bovine TB in Ireland. We have less bovine TB in Ireland now than at any time since 1954 when records began. The UK has not had success in reducing the incidence of bovine TB. I suggest this is partly because it has not been able to take the same approach towards a targeted culling programme where it is aware of a localised bovine TB problem and outbreak.

I want to move to a vaccination programme where we vaccinate badgers against TB.

We will do that when we feel we can do it and maintain the approach that we have at the moment, which is driving down TB numbers. I do not think we can do that purely on animal welfare grounds without having negative consequences for the spread of TB. However, as soon as we feel we can do that, we will do it. I will happily look at the report to which the Deputy referred. If she knows of instances where badgers were trapped inappropriately, I would like to hear about it. We have an approach which insists that traps are set in the most humane way possible. However, the idea that badgers actively avoid cattle because they are shy animals, which they are, and therefore there is no connection between the two does not stack up when one looks at how TB is actually spread, through urine, faeces and so forth.

Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan: There must be other reasons for the reduction in the levels of bovine TB. This cull of badgers has been called slaughter masquerading as science.

Deputy Simon Coveney: It is not slaughter.

Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan: A farmer who gave a presentation recently before the Committee of Public Accounts acknowledged that he had been responsible, along with an official from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, for inhumanely slaughtering 4,000 pigs. This is the type of thing that is going on. We had lots of discussion on the Animal Health and Welfare Bill and there was so much expected of that legislation, which has gone a long way but it is disappointing that inhumane treatment continues.

Deputy Simon Coveney: It is also inhumane that we have to slaughter cattle because they have TB when we know that we can get the incidence of TB down. That is no more humane than the badger cull. What is humane for me is to get TB out of the herd, which is what we are trying to do, and out of the badger population too. In that way, we will not have to target cattle and badgers. We have other questions with regard to deer in Wicklow, for example. Are they spreading TB and if they are, how can we manage that in a practical way? Can we have a targeted, humane cull to try to deal with killing off a disease that has bedevilled Irish agriculture for more than 50 years? We want to stop killing animals because they are carrying or spreading TB. The way to do that is to eradicate TB, which is what we are trying to do. That is in the welfare interests of animals as well as the interests of farming.

action alert

Sign our petition – Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/irish-agriculture-minister-simon-coveney-stop-badger-snaring-cruelty-now

Get in touch with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to demand an end to his Department’s cruel badger cull. Tell the Minister that he must take on board new research findings which have shown that badgers actively avoid cattle fields and yards of cattle.

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: minister@agriculture.gov.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Please write to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Remind them that the Wildlife Act, for which they are responsible, lists the badger as a protected species. Demand that they stop licensing the snaring and killing of thousands of badgers as part of a cruel and discredited TB eradication scheme.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Email: ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie
Tel: (01) 631 3804
Fax: (01) 661 1201

Director, Licensing Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Email: nature.conservation@environ.ie
Tel: 01-888 3214

Donedeal urged to reject adverts for real fur

13 May

FUR X 8

Classified ads website, Donedeal, is continuing to accept ads for real fur. Adverts on the site have included garments containing the fur of foxes, seals, rabbits, minks, squirrels, chinchillas, muskrats and raccoons.

The company’s policy on fur is that it does not accept ads for new fur but will accept ads for second-hand fur as “we believe that it is preferable to purchase a second hand or vintage item of this nature rather than purchase new.”

However, in an appeal to the company, ICABS pointed out that second-hand fur was once new fur and that all fur is based on cruelly confining and killing animals. We also stated that the buying and selling of second-hand fur stimulates the fur trade.

Animals in the fur industry suffer a life of misery in cages before being gassed to death or anally electrocuted.

To its shame, Ireland continues to be a part of the global fur industry with an estimated 200,000 mink killed on fur farms here every year. The animals are pulled from the filthy cages after six months of permanent captivity, thrown into a box and poisoned to death with carbon monoxide gas. Mink are semi-aquatic and highly evolved physiologically to hold their breath. They are able to detect a lack of oxygen in their blood and are prone to hypoxia, which means that they can suffer particularly during gassing.

Witness the cruelty of fur farming in Ireland

action alert

Appeal to Donedeal to prohibit all ads for items containing real fur. Email “Donedeal – Please reject adverts for real fur” to hello@donedeal.ie

Sign anti-fur petitions

Ban fur farming in Ireland
https://www.change.org/p/ban-fur-farming-in-ireland-please-sign-and-share-our-petition

EU: ban fur farming in the European Union
https://www.change.org/p/eu-ban-fur-farming-in-the-european-union

In 2005, Simon Coveney, Enda Kenny and Joan Burton voted in favour of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill. The bill was narrowly defeated by 67 votes to 50 but now – 10 years and over a million animal deaths later – the trio of Agriculture Minister, Taoiseach and Tanaiste are in the perfect positions to put in place a ban.

Please contact them now and tell them that “The time has come to ban fur farming in Ireland”
Email: simon.coveney@oireachtas.ie,enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie,joan.burton@oireachtas.ie

Urge Order of Malta to disassociate from cruel hare coursing

8 May

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Voluntary first-aid medical services organisation, Order of Malta, is being urged to show compassion for Irish wildlife and end its association with the national hare coursing meeting in Clonmel.

The Order of Malta’s Clonmel Facebook page reveals that the group was present at the “first day of the national coursing meet in Clonmel” this year. A posting from a previous year shows the Order of Malta First Aid Station at the Powerstown Park venue and the message “Good week of duty over in Clonmel, with coursing and races”.

The Order of Malta says it has nearly 4,000 members “volunteering their time to provide first-aid medical services at community and large national events”.

“Our overriding mission is to help the sick, the needy and the most disadvantaged in society,” it states.

In an email to the Order of Malta’s Dublin headquarters, ICABS praised the organisation’s valuable work across the country but pointed out that volunteering at an animal cruelty event at which defenceless animals are forced to run for their lives is surely contrary to the Order of Malta’s ethos of compassion and alleviating suffering.

“The coursing meeting in Clonmel is the culmination of a season of animal cruelty,” we stated in our letter. “Photographs taken at the first day of this year’s event show hares desperately running for their lives in front of greyhounds.”

“Every coursing season, hares are hit and mauled, resulting in painful injuries and deaths,” we added. “Injuries include bruises, broken bones and dislocated hips. This is not the type of activity the Order of Malta should be associating with.”

ACTION ALERT

Urge the Order of Malta to stop providing volunteers to the national hare coursing meeting in Clonmel.

Order of Malta Ireland,
St John’s House,
32 Clyde Road,
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Tel: 01-6430000
Email: info@orderofmalta.ie,chancellery@orderofmalta.ie

Video: Hare terrorised at Clonmel coursing cruelty festival

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