Health Service urged to end hare coursing project at Ballina centre

22 Jan

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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.

 ACTION ALERT 

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
https://www.change.org/p/stop-health-service-project-involving-people-with-intellectual-disabilities-in-hare-coursing

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.

https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2017-01-19a.630

ACTION ALERT 

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
https://www.change.org/p/stop-health-service-project-involving-people-with-intellectual-disabilities-in-hare-coursing

 

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.”

ACTION ALERT

Join 37,000 others in signing Hazel’s petition which urges the Irish Government to approve the medication
https://www.change.org/p/simon-harris-irish-minister-for-health-approve-life-saving-medication-for-cystic-fibrosis-patients-before-its-to-late

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
https://www.change.org/p/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.

ACTION ALERT

Please sign and share our petition, urging the government to stop the funding
https://www.change.org/p/taoiseach-enda-kenny-irish-government-stop-funding-cruel-greyhound-racing-industry

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:
https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to @creedcnw

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

Low level of interest in Ireland’s cruel greyhound industry

6 Dec

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Tesco Ireland has told the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that the greyhound racing Clubcard deal it scrapped last month had not been popular with customers.

In an email to ICABS, a Tesco spokersperson stated: “I can confirm that following consultation with the Irish Greyhound Board, this offer has concluded as a result of low levels of redemption since the beginning of 2016 and customer feedback.”

The decision to cancel the deal was announced after appeals from animal activists in Ireland and around the world who told Tesco about the appalling cruelty inherent in the greyhound industry, including dog injuries and deaths at tracks, the mutilation and dumping of dogs who aren’t quick enough to win, the blooding of dogs and the “disappearence” of thousands of greyhounds every year.

The revelation that the greyhound racing Clubcard deal had “low levels of redemption” is further evidence of the lack of interest in greyhound racing in Ireland. Greyhound industry statistics confirm this, with figures showing a 50 per cent drop in attendances at tracks in recent years and a massive 58 per cent fall in sponsorship.

It is clear that both the Irish public and Irish businesses are rejecting greyhound racing. It is time for the government to follow suit and stop propping up this cruel industry with millions of euros of taxpayers’ money (nearly a quarter of a billion euro to-date)

ACTION ALERT

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

https://www.change.org/p/taoiseach-enda-kenny-irish-government-stop-funding-cruel-greyhound-racing-industry

Tell the Irish Government to stop wasting precious public funds on this 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:
https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to @creedcnw

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

Don’t host “hare coursing awards”: Appeal to Charleville Park Hotel

1 Dec
Please join us in appealing to Charleville Park Hotel in County Cork to watch the latest videos of hare coursing cruelty and cancel plans to host the “coursing awards” next April.
At the sickening event, awards are given out for “coursing greyhound of the year” and “coursing bitch of the year”.
 
Latest video footage shows hares being terrorised, hit and severely mauled at coursing meetings around the country.
 
ACTION ALERT
Urge Charleville Park Hotel to show compassion for Irish wildlife and disassociate from cruel hare coursing.
 
Charleville Park Hotel,
Limerick Road,
Charleville, Co Cork.
 
Telephone +353 (0) 63 33700
 
Email info@charlevilleparkhotel.com
 
Leave a comment on Facebook
 
Tweet to @Charlevillepark
4-tiles
 

Welcome to Ireland – The land of a thousand cruelties

18 Nov
Letter to the Editor in the Irish Indpendent highlights Ireland’s animal cruelty crisis.
 
Welcome to Ireland – The land of a thousand cruelties
Irish Independent, 18th November 2016
 
The seizure of almost 100 puppies in the UK that had been illegally shipped from Ireland again focuses attention on the sickening trade in ‘designer dogs’.
 
Not that it surprises me in the least that Ireland has earned the reputation among animal welfare groups of being the puppy farming capital of Europe.
 
We have a serious credibility problem as a nation when it comes to humane treatment of animals.
 
Yes, we have an animal welfare act, but a badly drafted one that has proved inadequate in tackling a whole range of issues: puppy farming thrives, availing of gaping loopholes in the act; feral cats have virtually no legal protection; badgers are snared and killed openly despite their “protected” status; and the legislation specifically exempts hare coursing from prohibition.
 
Instead of protecting hares – gentle, inoffensive creatures – from a practice banned in many jurisdictions, it protects the “sporting interests” of coursing clubs.
 
Whether it’s subjecting innocent puppies to the misery of vile breeding establishments or having hares mauled, terrorised and tossed about like broken toys, we seem to excel at turning sentient beings into tortured, traumatised or dead ones in the name of fun and greed.
 
It’s a wonder we don’t have a special government department or semi-state agency selling our contempt for animal welfare as a tourist attraction.
 
The slogan could be: Welcome to Ireland – The land of a thousand cruelties.
 
John Fitzgerald
Callan, Co Kilkenny