Fox hunters and hare coursers didn’t let the famine get in the way of their fun

16 Sep

Letter to the Editor in today’s Belfast Telegraph highlights shameful continuation of foxhunting and hare coursing, while the poor starved to death, during the Irish Famine…

Animals still suffering while wealthy have their sport, but once it was people who suffered as they played
Belfast Telegraph, 16/09/2016

AS the country – north and south – remembers those who died during the Famine, let us not forget that as this terrible tragedy unfolded, it was fun and games for some.

As documented in A Provocative Study of The Great Irish Famine in the City and County of Cork, fox hunting and hare coursing continued as if there was no famine at all.

While countless lay starving across the land, merciless hunters – their bellies bloated with food and wine – galloped by with about as much sympathy as they held for their doomed quarry.

The Cork Southern Reporter of March 13, 1847 best captured the shocking contrast: “The sound of the huntsman’s horn and the yelping pack mingle in terrible discordance with the groans of the dying parent and the cries of children perishing for lack of food.”

In A Complete History of the Westmeath Hunt, we are told that: “While the rich and wealthy lived in luxurious country mansions and could indulge in feasting, sport and leisure, their tenants lived in wretched poverty and in danger of starvation.”

The hunters’ shameful focus on fun, as the poor perished, is further highlighted in A History Of The Kildare Hunt from 1876: “There was misery everywhere. The Kildare Hunt huntsman once told me that his sufferings were great in Kilkenny during the famine years, when he saw starving people and yet had to feed the hounds.”

The coursers didn’t let the famine get in the way of their recreation, either. A January 1846 Cork Examiner report noted that there were numerous “country people” at a coursing meeting in Waterford and that “they all behaved in the most orderly manner, remained on the hill and showed the greatest delight in the day’s sport”. Among those cheering was a “Father O’Connor”, whose dog, Snowball, was one of the winners.

The bloodsport brigade’s lack of compassion and disregard for life continues, with greyhounds still unleashed to terrorise hares and packs of hounds let loose to chase and tear foxes apart.

The day will soon come when this, too, will be viewed as a regrettable part of our history.

PHILIP KIERNAN
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters/animals-still-suffering-while-wealthy-have-their-sport-but-once-it-was-people-who-suffered-as-they-played-35051531.html

“3-4 dogs are euthanised at each operational racing track every Saturday” in Ireland

16 Sep

3-4 injured greyhounds are destroyed at each greyhound racing track around Ireland every weekend. A shocking statistic which appears in a “Greyhound Industry” report from the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The January 2016 report makes reference to information presented by the Greyhound Rescue Assocation of Ireland, including

– In 2014, 717 injuries were reported arising from dogs skidding and crashing on the surface of inadequately maintained tracks.
– 3-4 dogs are euthanised at each operational racing track every Saturday
– The lifespan of a greyhound is 14 years on average, but the lifespan of a racing greyhound is 3 or 4

The full report can be viewed and downloaded below.

Download (pdf)

Hunters enjoyed themselves during Irish famine while the poor perished

13 Sep

starving-victims-and-foxhunt

Read a Drogheda Independent column focusing on the shameful continuation of hunting for sport during the Irish Famine (1845-1852) – www.scribd.com/doc/109813094/Hunting-during-Irish-Famine (copy below)

“It appears the Ward Union Staghounds were in fact in existence in November of 1846,” the column states. “This was at a time of the Great Irish Famine in Ireland and there are many references to the exploits of these hunts and the ‘enjoyment’ of the participating gentry, while thousands were laid wasted along the verges of the roads and streets of Ireland.”

Other hunting groups mentioned in the column are the Louth Hounds, Meath Hounds, Duleek Hounds, Gormanstown Harriers, Fingal Hounds and Trim Hounds.

The hunters’ focus on fun while the poor starved to death is also documented in several other publications, including…

“The sound of the huntsman’s horn and the yelping pack mingle in terrible discordance with the groans of the dying parent and the cries of children perishing for lack of food…” (Cork Southern Reporter, 13 March 1847)

“The Hunt was again fortunate in finding another Kildare man as Master. It is hardly necessary to recall the fact that the year of Mr O’Connor Henchy’s acceptance of that responsible position was that of the disastrous failure of the potato crop in Ireland, that time of famine which brought such misery on the country and had so profound an effect upon its fortunes. It is not surprising, I think, to find a dearth of information upon the sport of those dreadful years, years of starvation intensified by political trouble, by State trials and suspensions of Habeas Corpus Acts. It is a wonder indeed that fox-hunting was found possible at all, and there was at one moment a question of suspending it altogether. Certainly the difficulties of the Mastership must have been increased tenfold, and the Kildare Hunt owes a great debt of gratitude to Mr O’Connor Henchy for coming forward at such a time to keep the long tradition of Kildare sport unbroken. As a fact the famine was felt more severely in other parts of Ireland than in Kildare, though, of course, there was misery everywhere…[Kildare Hunt huntsman Stephen Goodall] once told me that his sufferings were great in Kilkenny during the famine years, when he saw starving people and yet had to feed the hounds.” from A History Of The Kildare Hunt

“We are well used to the images of poverty and starvation, evictions and destitution when we think of the Famine but we rarely realise that for many, life as they lived it with its hunting parties, dancing, gatherings, fashions, concerts and sumptuous dining continued as if there was no Famine.” from a report on the launch of Ed O’Riordan’s book ‘In Terrible Discordance – A Provocative Study of The Great Irish Famine in the City and County of Cork’. November 2011.

“During the Great Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, the contrast between the lives of the Anglo-Irish Protestant landed gentry and Gaelic Catholic tenant farmers was stark. While the rich and wealthy lived in luxurious country mansions and could indulge in feasting, sport and leisure, their tenants lived in wretched poverty and in danger of starvation. The deaths of a million of the Gaelic Irish during the disaster and the emigration of millions more in the latter half of the 19th century led to bitter resentment, violent subversion and land agitation against the landlord elite. Ladies and gentlemen on horseback pursuing foxes with their packs of hounds became a symbol of British oppression of the Irish peasantry in the eyes of many Irish nationalists.” from A Complete History Of The Westmeath Hunt From Its Foundation by Edward F. Dease, 1898.

“County of Waterford Coursing Club – The Club met on Wednesday. The 7th inst., at Blenthis, the property of Richard Charnley, Esq., to run for a plate of £10, but owing to the badness of the weather, there was rather a thin crowd. … Father O’Connor’s ‘Snowball’ beat Mr. Sparrow’s ‘Captain’’ Mr. Tallon’s ‘Star’ beat Mr. Cuffe Wall’s ‘Wellington’; Lord Huntingdon’s ‘Duchess’ and Mr. James Galway’s ‘Sham’ undecided. Hare killed. The hares were capital and abundant – the attendance of the country people very numerous. They all behaved in the most orderly manner, remained on the hill, and showed the greatest delight in the day’s sport.” (Cork Examiner, 14 Jan 1846)

 

 

famine hunting drogheda independent.jpg

 

“I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting”: Wexford Cllr

7 Sep

lisa mcdonald.jpg

Wexford County Councillor Cllr Lisa McDonald (Fianna Fail) is the latest politician to express support for a ban on Ireland’s cruel bloodsports. In an email to ICABS this week, Cllr McDonald stated: “I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting.”

A big thank you to Cllr Lisa McDonald for her support.

ICABS is renewing its appeal to the Fianna Fail party to support a ban on bloodsports.

See below to find out where other members of Wexford County Council stand on this issue.

Visit our political page to see the views of other politicians around Ireland – http://www.banbloodsports.com/views.htm

ACTION ALERT

Join us in urging politicians to push for a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing.
Find out their contact details at https://www.whoismytd.com/

Sign and share our Ban bloodsports in Ireland petition
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

Wexford County Council and Animal Cruelty Issues

Cllr Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fail, Wexford County Council)
Wexford County Councillor Malcolm Byrne has expressed opposition to coursing in Ireland, saying he would “support any legislation at national level that would ban hare coursing”. The Fianna Fail politician’s statement came in response to an ICABS email in which we highlighted the suffering caused to hares used as live lures in coursing. In September 2010, Cllr Byrne stated: “I am personally opposed to hare coursing, which I view as cruel.”

Cllr Tony Dempsey (Fianna Fail, Wexford County Council)
In 2005, foxes and mink were doomed to lives of misery on fur farms following the rejection by Dail Eireann of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004. The bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50. Tony Dempsey was among the TDs who voted AGAINST the bill.

Cllr Mary Farrell (Independent, Wexford County Council)
“YES [I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and fox hunting].” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr David Hynes (Independent, Wexford County Council)
“I certainly share many of your concerns…” from an email to ICABS, August 2014.

Cllr Robert Ireton (Labour Party, Wexford County Council)
“My views on hare coursing is that it should be banned. Any opportunity I get to voice my opinion on this, my reply is always the same and I have spoken about this on many occasions.” (From an email to ICABS, 5th November 2013)

Cllr Paddy Kavanagh (Fine Gael, Wexford County Council)
“Enniscorthy councillor Paddy Kavanagh has sprung to the defence of his fellow greyhound owners in the war of words about dogs soiling the streets of the town. The Fine Gael man is a well-known race dog enthusiast but does not resort to roads to exercise them as he has plenty of fields at his disposal. He counselled against any witch hunt singling out town dwelling dog walkers with greyhounds in any campaign to take the dirt off the streets at the expense of an activity that has an economic benefit for the area. He said he would not like to see life made impossible for such people, who manage up to four greyhounds at a time while out and about…The councillor pointed out that an urban dog owner from Enniscorthy recently captured one of coursing’s most prestigious prizes.” from “Don’t blame greyhound owners, says councillor” – Enniscorthy Guardian, 1st April 2013. On TV3’s Midweek programme in March 2012, Paddy Kavanagh revealed that his father used to be involved in hare coursing.

Cllr Lisa McDonald (Fianna Fail, Wexford County Council)
“I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting.” from an email to ICABS, August 2016.

Cllr John O’Rourke (Independent, Wexford County Council)
“I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Deirdre Wadding (People Before Profit, Wexford County Council)
“I vehemently oppose all blood sports and cannot understand something as cruel as coursing being allowed to continue in any so-called civilised society.” from an email to ICABS, August 2015.

“I join you in abhorring this cruel practice and will most certainly add my voice to those calling for it to be banned.” from an email to ICABS, June 2015.

“I am completely and utterly opposed to hare coursing and most emphatically support a ban.” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Wicklow Cllr in favour of “outright and immediate ban” on bloodsports

7 Sep

Michael O'Connor wicklow cllr.jpg

Another Wicklow County Councillor has come out in favour of a ban on Ireland’s cruel bloodsports.

In an email to ICABS this month, Sinn Fein’s Cllr Michael O’Connor stated: “I am certainly in favour of an outright and immediate ban on both hare coursing and fox hunting.”

A big thank you to Cllr Michael O’Connor for his support.

We are continuing to urge the Sinn Fein party to modernise its animal welfare policies to reflect majority support for a bloodsports ban.

See below to find out where other members of Wicklow County Council stand on this issue.

Visit our political page to see the views of other politicians around Ireland – http://www.banbloodsports.com/views.htm

ACTION ALERT

Join us in urging politicians to push for a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing.
Find out their contact details at https://www.whoismytd.com/

Sign and share our petition – “Ban bloodsports in Ireland”
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

Sign and share our petition – “Sinn Fein: Support a ban on cruel hare coursing”
https://www.change.org/p/sinn-fein-support-a-ban-on-cruel-hare-coursing

Urge Sinn Fein to back a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting, in line with the majority view that these cruel activities must be outlawed.

Email: admin@sinnfein.ie
Tel: (353) 1 8726100 / 8726932
OR 02890 347350
Leave a comment on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/sinnfein

Gerry Adams TD
Email: gerry.adams@oireachtas.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1 618 4442
Tweet to @GerryAdamsSF

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

Dear Sinn Fein,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing and foxhunting outlawed. I urge your party to modernise its outdated animal welfare policies to include support for a ban on this deplorable animal cruelty.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

Wicklow County Council and Animal Cruelty Issues

Cllr Joe Behan (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
As a TD in 2010, Joe Behan voted AGAINST the Bill which banned carted deer hunting.

Cllr Mary Kavanagh (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
“I would support a ban on hare coursing and fox hunting. I consider these activities cause unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals.” from an email to ICABS, September 2016.

Cllr Nicola Lawless (Sinn Fein, Wicklow County Council)
“Yes I would be in favour of a ban on cruel hare coursing and fox hunting. I am against animal cruelty.” from a tweet to ICABS, May 2014.

Cllr Steven Matthews (Green Party, Wicklow County Council)
“I’m against animal cruelty in any bloodsport form.” from a tweet to ICABS, December 4th 2014.

Cllr Grainne McLoughlin (Fine Gael, Wicklow County Council)
“I am opposed to blood sports. As someone who lives in the country and enjoys watching the annual drag hunting spectacle, there is no excuse for live fox hunting or hare coursing – it is simply disgusting and inhumane.” from an email to ICABS, July 2015.

Cllr Daire Nolan (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
“My position is that I am against wanton, malicious and deliberate cruelty against animals.” from an email to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Michael O’Connor (Sinn Fein, Wicklow County Council)
“I am certainly in favour of an outright and immediate ban on both hare coursing and fox hunting.” from an email to ICABS, September 2016.

Cllr Gerry O’Neill (Sinn Fein, Wicklow County Council)
“I am totally against both hare coursing and foxhunting. However foxhunting should not be confused with drag hunting which I have no problem with.” from an email to ICABS, July 2015.

Cllr John Ryan (Fine Gael, Wicklow County Council)
“I would like to clarify that I am against animal cruelty.” from an email to ICABS, April 2014.

Cllr Gerry Walsh (Fianna Fail, Wicklow County Council)
“I would not condone these types of activity [hare coursing and foxhunting].” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Jennifer Whitmore (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
“Short answer…Yes” – in reply to an ICABS email enquiry asking “Are you in favour of a ban on cruel hare coursing and foxhunting?” October 2014.

“I would support a ban on hare coursing and fox hunting”: Cllr Mary Kavanagh

7 Sep

mary-kavanagh-wicklow

Wicklow County Councillor Mary Kavanagh (Independent) is the latest politician to express support for a ban on Ireland’s cruel bloodsports. In an email to ICABS this week, Cllr Kavanagh stated: “I would support a ban on hare coursing and fox hunting. I consider these activities cause unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals.”

Mary Kavanagh was co-opted onto Wicklow County Council earlier this year as a replacement for her late sister, Cllr Pat Kavanagh (a founding member of Chance Animal Advocacy and a supporter of ICABS, Animal Rights Action Network and other animal groups).

A big thank you to Cllr Mary Kavanagh for her support.

See below to find out where other members of Wicklow County Council stand on this issue.

Visit our political page to see the views of other politicians around Ireland – http://www.banbloodsports.com/views.htm

ACTION ALERT

Join us in urging politicians to push for a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing.
Find out their contact details at https://www.whoismytd.com/

Sign and share our Ban bloodsports in Ireland petition
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

Wicklow County Council and Animal Cruelty Issues

Cllr Joe Behan (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
As a TD in 2010, Joe Behan voted AGAINST the Bill which banned carted deer hunting.

Cllr Mary Kavanagh (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
“I would support a ban on hare coursing and fox hunting. I consider these activities cause unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals.” from an email to ICABS, September 2016.

Cllr Nicola Lawless (Sinn Fein, Wicklow County Council)
“Yes I would be in favour of a ban on cruel hare coursing and fox hunting. I am against animal cruelty.” from a tweet to ICABS, May 2014.

Cllr Steven Matthews (Green Party, Wicklow County Council)
“I’m against animal cruelty in any bloodsport form.” from a tweet to ICABS, December 4th 2014.

Cllr Grainne McLoughlin (Fine Gael, Wicklow County Council)
“I am opposed to blood sports. As someone who lives in the country and enjoys watching the annual drag hunting spectacle, there is no excuse for live fox hunting or hare coursing – it is simply disgusting and inhumane.” from an email to ICABS, July 2015.

Cllr Daire Nolan (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
“My position is that I am against wanton, malicious and deliberate cruelty against animals.” from an email to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Gerry O’Neill (Sinn Fein, Wicklow County Council)
“I am totally against both hare coursing and foxhunting. However foxhunting should not be confused with drag hunting which I have no problem with.” from an email to ICABS, July 2015.

Cllr John Ryan (Fine Gael, Wicklow County Council)
“I would like to clarify that I am against animal cruelty.” from an email to ICABS, April 2014.

Cllr Gerry Walsh (Fianna Fail, Wicklow County Council)
“I would not condone these types of activity [hare coursing and foxhunting].” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Jennifer Whitmore (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
“Short answer…Yes” – in reply to an ICABS email enquiry asking “Are you in favour of a ban on cruel hare coursing and foxhunting?” October 2014.

Sligo Mayor expresses support for bloodsports ban

6 Sep

marie casserly.jpg

The Mayor of Sligo is the latest politician to express support for a ban on Ireland’s cruel bloodsports.

In an email to ICABS, Mayor Marie Casserly stated: “I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting.”

A big thank you to Mayor Casserly for her support.

See below to find out where other members of Sligo County Council stand on this issue.

Visit our political page to see the views of other politicians around Ireland http://www.banbloodsports.com/views.htm

Join us in urging politicians to push for a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing. Find out their contact details at https://www.whoismytd.com/

Sign and share our Ban bloodsports in Ireland petition
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

Sligo County Council and animal cruelty issues:

Cllr Martin Baker (Fianna Fail, Sligo County Council)
“I am not in favour of a ban [on hare coursing and fox hunting].” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Declan Bree (Independent, Sligo County Council)
“I am in favour of a ban on blood sports in Ireland. In a civilised society we should not authorise such cruel acts to occur and excuse it under a banner of ‘sport’, which it most certainly is not by any definition.” from an email to ICABS, February 2016.

Cllr Marie Casserly (Independent, Sligo County Council)
“I am in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting.” from an email to ICABS, August 2016.

Cllr Thomas Healy (Sinn Fein, Sligo County Council)
“I am against all forms of cruelty to animals.” from a tweet to ICABS, April 2014.

Cllr Tom MacSharry (Fianna Fail, Sligo County Council)
“I have to say that as someone who grew up surrounded by animals, I am totally against all forms of animal cruelty, including bloodsports” from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.