Disturbing video footage from Ireland’s largest fur farm

22 Feb

Sickening scenes at Ireland’s largest fur farm in Stradbally, County Laois show why Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, must act NOW to ban this cruel industry.

In the disturbing footage filmed recently by ICABS, rows of agitated minks can be seen constantly moving back and forth and jumping against the sides of the cages that permanently confine them.

It is to Ireland’s shame that it continues to be a part of the fur trade and allows these hellholes to exist. An estimated 200,000 mink are killed on Irish fur farms every year. The animals endure a life of misery in captivity until, at six months of age, they are pulled from the cages, thrown into a box and poisoned to death with carbon monoxide gas before the fur is pulled from their bodies.

Mink are semi-aquatic and 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 their suffering can continue during gassing.

After watching these disgusting scenes from Stradbally, please join us in contacting the government and demanding a ban on fur farming in Ireland.


Sign and share our petition – Ban fur farming in Ireland

Demand a ban on fur farming in Ireland. Email Minister Michael Creed and Taoiseach Enda Kenny now.
Email “Ban Fur Farming NOW” to michael.creed@oir.ie, minister@agriculture.gov.ie, taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, AnimalHealthAndWelfareAct@agriculture.gov.ie

Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.

Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd

Tweet “Ban fur farming NOW” to: @creedcnw

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.


Dear Minister Michael Creed / Taoiseach Enda Kenny,

I support a total ban on fur farming and an immediate closure of Ireland’s fur farms.

In these hellholes, animals suffer a horrendous life of misery before being cruelly gassed to death. There is absolutely no justification for allowing this cruelty to continue.

Please ban fur farming now.

Yours sincerely,


Columnist Martina Devlin highlights cruelty of hare coursing

22 Feb

If it’s the risk of a hare’s death that makes coursing a spectacle, how can it be a sport?

Irish Independent, 4th February 2017
by Martina Devlin

It is outlawed in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales – but in Ireland, people pack flasks and sandwiches and turn up to watch live hare coursing as entertainment.

Wild hares are netted by coursing clubs and held in pens for up to six weeks before a coursing fixture. Then, for the crowd’s enjoyment and with the bookies offering odds, the hares are forced to run from greyhounds in fear of their lives.

Some hares – not many but some – die as a result. Coursing is regulated, the greyhounds are muzzled and vets are present, but death and injury are part of this so-called sport.
Mountain hares are a protected species under Irish law. Yet an exemption allows them to be trapped under licence for the coursing season, currently running until the end of February.

While 99pc of hares are returned to the wild after spectators have had their fun, a number are killed or mauled and must be put down. Twenty-nine hares died during the 2015-2016 season. Twenty-nine examples of a species listed as internationally important. And it happens in the name of sport, cultural heritage and the Irish way of life.

In all, 5,644 hares were captured for coursing last year, according to the Irish Coursing Club (ICC), which held its national meeting over three days in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, last weekend. Around 28,500 people attended, including from overseas – a boost for the local hospitality industry.

But that economic surge comes at a cost. Cruelty to animals is the price tag.

Supporters speak of their conservationist role, and warn that banning it will drive coursing underground. However, if you look at coursing footage – and there is plenty online – the conclusion becomes inescapable: this is a brutal spectacle.

A terrorised hare zigzags, pursued by a pair of greyhounds. Usually, the hare escapes injury because the dogs are muzzled – but occasionally you see hares tossed into the air, or cornered and attacked before handlers run to the creature’s rescue.

No animal deserves to be forced to run for its life from predators, so that onlookers can cheer and lay bets. It happens naturally in the wild, but it is uncivilised to turn it into entertainment.

What’s even less acceptable is for the Government to be party to this barbarity, via licences for hare trapping and regulation of the industry. Just three EU countries permit live hare coursing and Ireland is one of them. The others are Portugal and Spain, where bullfighting sets the bar low in relation to animal welfare.

Some 202 of these gentle, timid creatures were used in the Clonmel fixtures. In fairness, only two were injured. But for what? So that live lures would ramp up the excitement?

It is, of course, an industry – at least 30 bookies were doing business in Clonmel. In addition, spectators are charged an admission fee and greyhound owners pay to enter their dogs.

The ICC, which manages and regulates 89 clubs nationwide, insists it takes care and conservation seriously. Hares can be chased twice provided it happens on consecutive days. Afterwards, they are tagged and released, and cannot be trapped again for coursing. It says: “Without the efforts of our sport, the hare population would be without the significant layer of protection it presently enjoys from the hare husbandry initiatives afforded by coursing clubs on a 12-month basis.”

These points, while valid, ignore the overriding question of how it can possibly be humane to trap hares in the first instance and impose the stress of captivity – never mind the outright terror that follows?

Coursing clubs do play an important role in reporting to the gardaí about gangs of men with packs of unmuzzled dogs chasing hares. Unless guards catch these groups at the kill it is very hard to secure convictions, however. We can safely assume that more hares are killed in this way than by regulated coursing. But any kind of coursing, whether regulated or unregulated, contains inbuilt cruelty.

And so to Rathdowney Coursing Club in Laois, investigated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) following the mysterious disappearance of 40 hares held in a pen last November, prior to a fixture.

In the Dáil, TD Clare Daly said dogs had penetrated the enclosure and killed the hares. The club rejected this, saying they escaped through a hole in the wire.

An NPWS report found no evidence of dogs being responsible – although a site visit did not happen until some days later – but raised questions about the hares’ fate. It pointed to a “lack of urgency” on the club’s part to retrieve the missing hares, with an investigator saying “one would be forgiven for concluding that the club knew the hares were not there”.

Clare Meade from the club told the Irish Independent that reports about what happened to the hares were wrong, but declined to set the record straight.

The ICC said the club was sanctioned. Its directive requires clubs to “take particular care” with hare stocks and clearly a failure took place. Rathdowney had its licence to net hares and hold coursing events rescinded until the close of the current season.

Overall, it is an odd episode, and raises questions about negligence towards hares captured for coursing, for all the conservation talk.

Irish politicians had an opportunity to ban coursing last June, when Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan took a Private Member’s Bill. But the party whip was applied and the bill fell, with Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour all voting en masse for hare coursing.

To their credit, ministers Shane Ross and Finian McGrath consulted their consciences and supported the bill.

However, Fine Gael’s Heather Humphreys, minister responsible for issuing licences, advanced the view that coursing was an integral part of the rural community. Independent Mattie McGrath waxed lyrical about how “arts and heritage come together” at meetings and the interest is passed from father to son. Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny put forward the justification about a ban pushing it underground. Shame on every TD who ignored their conscience to follow the party line.

Compromise solutions to live coursing are available. For example, greyhound speed and dexterity can be demonstrated with drag coursing, with no live hares used as bait.

Unless it is the defenceless hare’s fear and flight which lends a frisson to the spectacle? Which returns us to the issue of what’s civilised behaviour – and what’s not.

Irish Independent

Comments can be posted on the Irish Independent website

Letters to Editor highlight hare coursing cruelty

22 Feb

Two letters to the editor in the Irish Examiner highlight the cruelty of hare coursing and challenge the media’s coverage of the bloodsport…

Blatant promotion of animal abuse
Irish Examiner, 2nd February 2017

RTÉ 1’s coverage of live hare coursing at the ICC Clonmel Finals on January 29 was blatant promotion of a sick animal abuse.

Conflicting reports said there were 202 courses with no hares killed, not killed but terrorised, confined, injected, ear-tagged and chased for their lives.

It later said one didn’t get away, this means the animal was injured, hit on the head with a lump of wood , a ‘priest’ as it’s called. Killed by coursing staff.

As the ICC said, the coursing was immune to any downturns, the sport of the psychotic animal abusers was seen to most normal people as being akin to paedophilia.

This biased reporting left out the kill of course as is normal when bloodsports are aired. In the footage, one of the greyhounds muzzled for the chase in an effort to sanitise the sport, landed roughly with a possible neck injury.

As the dogs cannot in most cases catch the hare due to the muzzle, they regularly sustain injuries also. Muzzles come off sometimes due to the tumbles of the two greyhounds chasing and the hares are killed or pulled in a tug of war by the two dogs.

Please highlight this injustice and animal violation that is kept alive by the majority of our indifferent politicians.

Bernie Wright
Association of Hunt Saboteurs
Alliance for Animal Rights [AFAR]
Dublin, PO Box 4734
Coursing is no Olympics
Irish Examiner, 2nd February 2017

Coursing fans regard the three-day National Meeting in Clonmel as the “Olympics” of their sport.

I beg to differ. Animal baiting has no place in the real Olympics.

Sport is about fair competition. Subjecting a hare to the terror possibly agonising injury of a contrive chase is not sport; any more than pitting Katie Taylor against a punch-bag would amount to an equal contest.

When hare coursing is eventually banned in Ireland, as it has been in many other countries, people will wonder 1) why it took so long to protect the inoffensive Irish Hare from this form of animal cruelty and 2) how some newspapers could see fit cover it in their sports pages and journalists could lower themselves to writing colour-pieces about one of the vilest blood sports on earth.

We don’t see sporting coverage of cock fighting, dog fighting, or badger baiting, partly because they are illegal, but also because pitting animals against each other to fight or inflict injury or death does not deserve such coverage or the kind of eulogising accorded this week to hare coursing.

Google “hare coursing” under news and see what comes up… page after page of damning reports from jurisdictions where it is a criminal offence, with a handful of glowing reports from Ireland, where the practice still constitutes an insult to the name of sport and a monument to lazy journalism.

Mary B Hayes
Lismore Lawns


Health Service urged to end hare coursing project at Ballina centre

22 Jan


ICABS is calling on the HSE to end a hare coursing project at its Ballina Training Centre for people with disabilities. In the “Mayo Mental Health News” newsletter, the cruel bloodsport was described as “the interesting new pastime offered by the Centre”.

Ballina Councillor Gerry Ginty has spoken out against the HSE centre’s facilitation of coursing, saying “it’s regrettable that this would be considered an appropriate past-time for service users” and expressing support for a ban on the activity. See below for reports from Daily Mail and MidWest Radio…

HSE under fire in hare coursing row
Irish Daily Mail, 16 January 2017

by Darragh McDonagh

A HSE-run centre for people with disabilities has caused outrage by involving vulnerable service users in the controversial sport of hare coursing.

The controversial activity has been facilitated by Ballina Training Centre, which provides therapeutic programmes and services for people with intellectual disabilities in Co Mayo.

It has emerged that staff and service users have been involved in training greyhounds for hare coursing and have even attended coursing events.

The HSE, which funds and runs Ballina Training Centre, has confirmed that the service has been supporting the activity for clients but added that this support did not constitute an endorsement or approval of hare coursing.

Minister for Health Simon Harris will face questions about the matter in the Dáil this week from Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan, who said that she was “appalled” that public resources were being used to expose vulnerable individuals to the controversial activity.

She added: “The coursing events they attended are the very places where independent documentary evidence of cruelty has been collected. It is absolutely outrageous.”

A recent issue of an internal publication called Mayo Mental Health News contained an article outlining the involvement of staff and service users of Ballina Training Centre in hare coursing.

The article stated that two greyhounds had been purchased and were being trained for coursing by staff and service users. It also referred to hare coursing as “the interesting new pastime offered by the Centre” and provided details of two “outings” to coursing meetings last year in Liscannor, Co Clare and Loughrea, Co Galway.

A spokesperson for the Irish Council Against Blood Sports called for the project to cease immediately, adding: “The idea of bringing vulnerable people to hare-coursing meetings to watch hares being used as live bait for greyhounds is outrageous. It is a totally inappropriate project for the HSE to be involved in.”

The HSE initially denied that the activity was being facilitated at the Centre and claimed that it “does not and has never run a hare coursing activity for its service users”.

However, when evidence of the Centre’s involvement in the activity was presented, a HSE spokesperson confirmed the described activity was supported by the service.

The spokesman said: “The activities described were identified and developed solely by service users…The nature of such community-based activities are the prerogative of the individual(s) and is supported by the service only in the context of fostering recovery and promoting mental health.

“The support of clients by staff in their wellbeing and recovery does not constitute an endorsement or approval of any such activity.”

Ballina Councillor says it’s regrettable that hare-coursing is being facilitated at a centre for people with disabilities
Midwest Radio, 17 January 2017

A Ballina councillor says it’s regrettable that hare-coursing is being facilitated at a centre for people with disabilities.

It emerged yesterday that staff and service users at the HSE-run Ballina Training Centre have been involved in training greyhounds for hare-coursing, and have attended coursing events.

The HSE confirmed that the service has been supporting the activity for clients, but added that this support does not constitute an endorsement or approval of hare coursing.

Ballina Independent Councillor Gerry Ginty, who’s involved with the horse and donkey sanctuary in north Mayo, says it’s unfortunate that hare-coursing is still legal in this country, as it’s illegal in many other countries including England, Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland.

Councillor Ginty said it’s regrettable that this would be considered an appropriate past-time for service users at the Ballina Training Centre, and said he’s totally opposed to the controversial sport.


Join us in contacting the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE to demand an immediate end to the Ballina Training Centre’s involvement with cruel hare coursing.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris
Department of Health
Hawkins House
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 635 4000 or 01 618 3805
Email: ministersoffice@health.gov.ie, simon.harris@oireachtas.ie
Comment on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeputySimonHarris
Tweet to @SimonHarrisTD

Tony O’Brien, HSE Director General
Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 635 2000
Email: info@hse.ie, hselive@hse.ie
Tweet to: @hselive @dghealthservice
Comment on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hselive
Callsave: 1850 24 1850

Ballina Training Centre (096) 71976

Please sign and share the petition

Dail question over HSE centre’s connection to cruel coursing

22 Jan

A HSE-funded training centre’s connection to cruel hare coursing has been raised in Dail Eireann, with ICABS President Maureen O’Sullivan TD asking if the Health Minister thinks hare coursing is a suitable leisure activity for those attending the centre.

Dail Q&A – Thursday, 19 January 2017

Maureen O’Sullivan TD (Dublin Central, Independent): To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a day care centre run by the HSE for persons with a disability (details supplied) which is involved in training of greyhounds for hare coursing; if it is HSE funding that is being used for this and to bring the centre’s attendees to hare coursing meetings; and his views on whether hare coursing is a suitable leisure activity to be funded in this way for the persons that use the centre. [2475/17]

Finian McGrath TD (Dublin Bay North, Independent): The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy’s question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.



Join us in contacting the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE to demand an immediate end to the Ballina Training Centre’s involvement with cruel hare coursing.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris
Department of Health
Hawkins House
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 635 4000 or 01 618 3805
Email: ministersoffice@health.gov.ie, simon.harris@oireachtas.ie
Comment on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeputySimonHarris
Tweet to @SimonHarrisTD

Tony O’Brien, HSE Director General
Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 635 2000
Email: info@hse.ie, hselive@hse.ie
Tweet to: @hselive @dghealthservice
Comment on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hselive
Callsave: 1850 24 1850

Ballina Training Centre (096) 71976

Please sign and share the petition


Fund life-saving medication instead of greyhound racing

20 Dec

A mother desperately trying to get the government to provide life-saving Cystic Fibrosis medication for her daughter has hit out at a massive €80 million grant handed over this week to the horse and greyhound racing industries.

Speaking from her daughter’s bedside in Crumlin Childrens’ Hospital, Hazel Robinson asked “Is a greyhound more important than children’s lives?”

She told the Topic newspaper that her daughter is fighting for her life, despite the availability of a drug that can help her. “When a drug becomes available that can help, they should be getting it the minute it hits the shelves.”

The Orkambi drug (which improves lung function and reduces hospitalisation for cystic fibrosis patients) would cost the health service €160,000 per patient per year, or €400 million over five years.

€400,000 million over five years, or €80 million per year, matches the amount the government is happy to hand over to gambling industries.

Minister for Health Simon Harris (who was one of the 105 TDs who this week voted to approve the latest grants to horse and greyhound racing) said in relation to Orkambi that he would not be “bullied or extorted” by a drug company seeking an excessive payment, nor would he allow the taxpayer to be extorted.

“€80 million has been pumped into the greyhound and horse racing industries this year alone,” Hazel Robinson commented. “But when it comes to giving our children life-saving medication, we have to fight tooth and nail for it. What does that say about our country. Parents shouldn’t have to go begging on the streets and I shouldn’t have to go on social media and cry my heart out to the nation, begging for my child’s life.”


Join 37,000 others in signing Hazel’s petition which urges the Irish Government to approve the medication

Contact your TDs and urge them to stop using scarce public money to fund gambling industries.  Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=32&disp=mem Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 (0)1-618 3000 or 1890 337 889. Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

Please sign and share the petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry


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Doping of dogs in Ireland’s cruel greyhound industry

13 Dec

Exposed: The doping of dogs in Ireland’s cruel greyhound racing industry. The latest in a series of reports on RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime highlights the use of drugs to make greyhounds run faster or run slower and the inability of the industry to stop it.

“The Irish Greyhound Board says just 1 per cent of greyhound samples were positive for doping last year and so far this year, the figure is almost exactly the same,” reporter Barry Lenihan outlined. However, he explained that “all the phamacacology experts and vets I’ve stpoken to say  these figures should be treated with a large degree of scepticism.”

“Several reports have identified inefficiencies in Ireland’s anti-doping laws and the capacity of the national greyhound laboratory to detect some of the more common banned substances,” he continued. “The most recent of these – the Morris report commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Board itself – hightlights significant deficiencies in Irish anti-doping and medication control policies…It found the national greyhound laboratory doesn’t have the facilities to detect important mediations and doping agents at the levels required for effective anti-doping and mediation control.”

A representative of a greyhound breeders association pointed to the lack of deterrents to those doping dogs, saying “you can be caught with [prohibited substances, including cocaine] and you get a slap on the wrist and a mediocre fine which is ridiculous.”

Also highlighted during the report was the widespread concern about the export of Irish greyhounds to China and Spain. But appalling cruelty is common here in Ireland with injuries, deaths and mutilation of dogs and an estimated 10,000 going disappearing each year.

Cited was an €800 fine for a man after six greyhound wers found shot dead in a quarry (“he received no formal sanction from the greyhound industry”).

Also featured was a represantative of the Greyhound Rescue Association who focused on the suffering of dogs in the industry. One dog rescued from the midlands was emaciated, had mange, worms, fleas and “numerous scars and scrapes all over her body” while another was found with a broken leg  “She had a broken leg that had never received veterinary attention. At some point, maybe when she was training for the track or when she was being used for hunting or coursing, she broke her leg and nobody took her to a vet.

Barry Lenihan’s series of reports on the “serious concerns around the greyhound industry” (including doping, animal welfare problems, export of greyhounds to China, etc) continues tomorrow Friday on Drivetime. Listen live at https://www.rte.ie/radio1/

Shame on Minister Michael Creed and Minister Michael Noonan for continuing to pump millions of euros of Irish taxpayers’ money into this cruel industry despite being aware of the cruelty to animals involved.


Please sign and share our petition, urging the government to stop the funding

Tell the Irish Government to stop wasting millions of euros of taxpayers’ money on this cruel and dying industry.

Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance
Email: michael.noonan@oireachtas.ie, taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, michael.creed@oir.ie, andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6764735

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie
Tweet to @EndaKennyTD

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: michael.creed@oir.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to @creedcnw

Andrew Doyle TD
Minister of State, Dept of Agriculture
Email: andrew.doyle@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to @ADoyleTD