In defence of Ireland’s rarest native mammal

25 Aug

In defence of the pine marten
Letter to the Editor, Sunday Independent, 21st August 2016

Sir — Maura Hogan (Letters, Sunday Independent, August 14) accused the pine marten of venturing out of a local forest to engage in multiple cat killings. This conviction was based, not on witnessing any attack taking place, but purely on spotting a pine marten at her shed.

There is actually no evidence to suggest that pine martens kill cats (or, as was claimed, target lambs) and it is highly unlikely that the pine marten was the culprit in this case. Their diet typically consists of fruit, berries, birds, rodents, rabbits, frogs and insects. It is unfortunate that pine martens are being unfairly demonised as it risks sparking further illegal persecution which, along with habitat loss, has driven the species to extinction in many parts of the country.

The pine marten (whose name in Irish translates as ‘tree cat’) is highly protected under national and European legislation. As Ireland’s rarest native mammal, this beautiful bushy-tailed creature should be cherished.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against
Blood Sports




“I’m not in favour of a ban”: Kerry Cllr John Francis Flynn

25 Aug

John Francis Flynn.jpg

Another member of Kerry County Council has shamefully indicated support for cruel bloodsports.

Responding to an enquiry from ICABS today in which we asked if he was in favour of a ban on fox hunting and hare coursing, Fianna Fail Councillor, John Francis Flynn stated: “I’m not in favour of a ban.”

Councillor Flynn is sadly not the first Kerry Councillor to express support for coursing:

– Last year, Sinn Fein Councillors Robert Beasley and Dianne Nolan placed an advert in a hare coursing booklet, wishing “Best of luck to Listowel Coursing Club”.

– As a TD in 2007, Cllr Tom McEllistrim (Fianna Fail) who represents Tralee welcomed the licensing of hare coursing and incredibly described the bloodsport as “thoroughly humane”. Responding, ICABS stated: “Deputy McEllistrim clearly doesn’t comprehend the meaning of the word humane.”

– In February 2014, Cllr Jimmy Moloney (Fianna Fail) tweeted “hard luck” to the Irish Coursing Club and the owner of a dog beaten in the Irish Cup hare coursing event.

– Fine Gael Councillor Mike Kennelly follows Listowel hare coursing club on Twitter.

Only one member of Kerry County Council has so far had the decency to speak out against bloodsports. In a text message to ICABS in November 2014, Sam Locke (Independent) stated: “I am totally against this form of so-called sport [hare coursing and fox hunting]”

Kerry TDs who have revealed their support for coursing are Fianna Fail’s John Brassil (he called for a hare coursing licence to be issued “at the earliest opportunity”) and Sinn Fein’s Martin Ferris (said he was supportive of ‘traditional rural’ pursuits such as hare coursing).

Find out where politicians from all around Ireland stand on bloodsports:


if you are in the Kerry constituency, urge Cllr John Francis Flynn to reconsider his stance on this animal cruelty issue.

Tel: 087 711 1512

Join us in urging politicians to push for a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing. Find out their contact details at

Mexican state Coahuila prohibits bullfighting

23 Aug

The Mexican state of Coahuila has prohibited bullfighting and becomes the third state in Mexico with a ban. The voting took place in the Congress of Coahuila, with 16 votes in favour and 5 against the prohibition.

The bill was an initiative of governor Rubén Moreira Valdéz (PRI) who said that the initiative was a response to the request made by the United Nations to Mexico to keep children away from the violence of bullfighting.

More and more municipalities and states are deciding to abolish bullfighting. In Mexico. Sonora and Guerrero have already prohibited bullfighting and there are also 7 municipalities against bullfighting. Worldwide, 132 municipalities have declared pronounced anti-bullfighting.

Source: CAS International


Disgust at continuation of bloodsport blessings

23 Aug

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is disgusted to note that the practice of priests blessing foxhunts is continuing.

A photo has surfaced which shows an unidentified priest holding a bible and sprinkling holy water over a pack of hounds. The sickening image was taken during the 2015-16 hunting season at a meeting of the West Wexford Harriers foxhunt.

This is the same hunt which this month posted photos on its Facebook page of a terrorised fox desperately trying to jump across a river in a bid to escape the hounds. The animal leaped from the river bank and fell into the water before clambering up the opposite bank. It is unclear if he managed to escape or was later caught and torn apart by the pursuing dogs.

ICABS has brought the photograph to the attention of the Irish Bishops Conference who have in the past said that the bishops “would not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts”.

According to the Catholic Catechism, “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly…Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence, they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St Francis of Assisi or St Philip Neri treated animals.”


Urge the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference to act to finally stop hunt blessings.

Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
President, Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Ara Coeli, Armagh BT61 7QY
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Tel: 048-3752 2045 (from the Republic)

Send a tweet to Eamon Martin and Pope Francis
@ArchbishopEamon @CatholicBishops @Pontifex Foxhunting is cruel. Please act to stop hunt blessings in Ireland.


Fears that badgers could be extinct by 2020

23 Aug

Irish Times columnist Michael Viney has highlighted the ongoing assault on Ireland’s badger population by the Department of Agriculture.

“The Government’s culling programme in areas of TB outbreak has so far killed about 100,000 badgers,” he wrote in his March 26th column.

Also reported were fears that the badger could become extinct in Ireland in the near future – “Scientific estimates of their total national population have fallen successively: 148,000 in 1995, 84,000 in 2009, to 60,000 in 2012 – a trend that could suggest extinction by 2020.”

Read the full article at

Sign our petition – Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW


Migrant centre reveals forced labour in circuses

19 Aug


Elephants, tigers and camels aren’t the only animals enslaved in circuses – humans are too, it has emerged.

Speaking on the Lunchtime programme on Newstalk Radio today (19th August), the director of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Edel McGinley, said circuses are among the “at-risk sectors” when it comes to human trafficking for forced labour.

Listing these sectors as “fisheries, car washes, domestic work, restuarants, circuses, entertainment and agriculture” she told listeners that “we have cases of forced labour in all of those areas.”

“It is quite a prevalent issue in the country,” she said, adding that those affected are “often in traumatic situations”.

Find out more about the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland at

Blood sports sully Ireland’s reputation

18 Aug
Letter to the Editor in today’s Irish Examiner…
Blood sports sully our reputation
Irish Examiner, 18th August 2016
Fianna Fáil Deputy Timmy Dooley was on his high horse on the airwaves this week, pontificating about what he perceives is the minister for sport’s heel dragging on the Olympic ticket affair. He was concerned about Ireland’s image internationally, saying our reputation was being tarnished and sullied by the events, adding that it could damage our tourism product.
However, Deputy Timmy Dooley, along with 113 other TDs in Dáil Eireann, put all their concerns about sullying and tarnishing Ireland’s reputation aside when they trooped through the Níl lobby on June 30 last to vote down Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan’s Private Member’s Bill to ban live hare coursing. The minister for sport, Shane Ross, to his great credit, was one of those 20 humane politicians who voted to outlaw this barbaric activity.
Sadly, the bill to ban hare coursing hardly made a blip media-wise, and so those 114 politicians, confident that nobody in the country would notice, voted for the snatching of thousands of timid hares from the wild to be used as live lures before greyhounds at coursing matches.
They ignored the evidence of hares being terrorised and mauled by the muzzled dogs, sustaining severe injuries and dying or having to be put down. They ignored the fact that coursing is banned in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If ever there was an activity to sully and tarnish our country internationally, it has to be the fact that our government sees fit to permit cruel blood sports such as live hare coursing and foxhunting.
Aideen Yourell
IrIsh Council Against Blood Sports
PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

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