Letter: Campaigning on behalf of animals

11 Jul

We will, in time, make further progress in our efforts to make the world a less cruel place for animals – Read John Fitzgerald’s Letter to the Editor in the Sunday Independent…

Campaigning on behalf of animals
Letter to the Editor, Sunday Independent July 8th 2018

Fiona O’ Connell’s column is always a pleasure to read, with her breezy undemanding style and a passion for the natural world that calls to mind the poet Wordsworth. Her latest article (Sunday Independent, July 1) was a timely reminder of how campaigners for the welfare of animals can be misunderstood and characterised as “unbalanced” or “fanatics”.

I know from personal experience that taking up the cause of our dumb friends can be a thankless task, one that can make life difficult…sometimes almost unbearable. Seeing how animals suffer is distressing, in itself; but when you encounter powerful and seemingly invincible opposition to one’s efforts to ease their plight you wonder sometimes if it’s worth the bother. Campaigners, being only human, often throw up their hands and say: “Nobody cares” or “The politicians will never listen”.

But on calmer reflection we know this is not true. I have been involved in various animal welfare campaigns since the early 1980s. Success never comes easily or quickly, but there have been victories. In 1990, the long campaign for the abolition of otter hunting ended when the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat government took heed of mounting opposition to the hounding of those aquatic creatures in the waterways and along our riverbanks. The license permitting the cruel sport was withdrawn and has not been re-issued since. In 2010, the Fianna Fail/Green coalition banned stag hunting, meaning that these majestic animals would no longer be chased by hunts people and packs of hounds until they collapsed from exhaustion, their bodies ripped and bleeding. The same government was set to ban fur farming but fell before the law could be enacted. Earlier this year, the use of wild animals in circuses was banned by the present government.

So, despite misunderstandings and the unfair stereotyping of campaigners, we have been vindicated repeatedly in our stance and will, in time, make further progress in our efforts to make the world a less cruel place for animals. Hare coursing and fox hunting remain, stains on Ireland’s reputation that await consignment to the same page in our statute book reserved for “field sports” like otter-hunting, badger baiting, stag hunting and dog fighting. We will continue to advocate for the protection of sentient beings, domestic, agricultural and wildlife.

John Fitzgerald,
Callan, C. Kilkenny


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: