Cruel Fox Hunting: “No plans to change the existing legislation”

26 Nov

“My Department has no plans to change the existing legislation” – Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue dismissing the latest call for cruel foxhunting to be banned in Ireland. 

The Minister was responding to a 4 November Dail Question from Joan Collins TD (Dublin South Central, Independents 4 Change) who asked him “if foxhunting with hounds and all related activities have been stopped during level 5 restrictions and if a ban will be introduced due to the cruelty to foxes and the public health concerns associated with large groups of hunters gathering and traversing the countryside.”

Minister McConalogue confirmed that foxhunting is not permitted during Level 5 restrictions, stating: “The Government has issued a list which is available on which sets out, among others things, guidance/direction as to purposes for essential travel (beyond 5Km), essential retail outlets, essential services, essential wholesale and retail trade and support activities. Fox hunting with hounds does not appear on this list.”

In relation to the call for an outright ban on the bloodsport – which 77% of Irish citizens want banned – he referred to the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and noted that the Dail “voted overwhelmingly to allow the continuation of fox hunting in accordance with an appropriate Code of Conduct”. Minister McConalogue was among the TDs who shamefully voted against a proposed amendment to the Act which sought to ban foxhunting and its related digging-out and terrierwork.

By explicitly giving an exemption to foxhunting, the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 effectively acknowledges that foxhunting is cruel.

The exemption – included in Act by then Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney (who admitted to participating in foxhunting himself) – allows foxhunters to carry out their animal cruelty without fear of prosecution, fines or prison.

Section 12 of the Act, headed “Prohibition on animal cruelty” states: “A person shall not (a) do, or fail to do, anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes unnecessary suffering to, or endanger the health or welfare of, an animal (b) neglect, or be reckless, regarding the health or welfare of an animal.”

It make it clear that “a person who contravenes this section commits an offence” but goes on to emphasise that “Nothing in this section applies in relation to anything which occurs in the ordinary course of lawfully hunting an animal…or lawfully coursing a hare…”

The “voluntary codes of practice” mentioned by Minister McConalogue are worthless guidelines that do not eliminate cruelty from foxhunting.

The only thing that will achieve that is a complete ban. Foxhunting, already long outlawed in England, Scotland and Wales – is inherently CRUEL. Foxes are disturbed from their habitats and chased across the countryside by hunters and their packs of hounds. When exhaustion slows the foxes down, the hounds catch them, knock them off their feet, bite into their flesh, disembowel them and rip them apart. Foxes who attempt to find refuge underground in a drain or earth are mercilessly dug out and killed – often after being cornered and attacked by hunt terriers.

This recreational animal cruelty is totally unacceptable in modern Ireland. It is time for our legislators to show compassion for wildlife and join other civilised countries in finally banning fox hunting.

Thank you to Joan Collins TD for raising this issue. Please join us in demanding a ban on foxhunting by responding to the urgent action alert below. Read the full Dail question and reply at


A RED C opinion poll, commissioned by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, shows that a 77% majority agree that the Irish Government should ban foxhunting. The poll found that just 12 per cent disagree with a ban. Tell politicians to respect the wishes of the majority and ban foxhunting.

Contact the leaders of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Sinn Fein, Labour Party and the Green Party to tell them that you want fox hunting and all bloodsports banned.

Micheál Martin
Leader, Fianna Fail
Phone: +353 (0)1–618 4350 or +353 (0)21-432 0088

Leo Varadkar
Leader, Fine Gael
Telephone: +353 (0)1-640 3133
Tweet to:

Eamon Ryan
Leader, Green Party
Tel: 01 618 3894

Mary Lou McDonald TD
Leader, Sinn Fein
Tel: (01) 727 7102

Alan Kelly TD
Leader, Labour Party
Tel: 067 34190

Contact all your local TDs and urge them to push for a ban on foxhunting. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses

Keep hunters off your land

If you are a landowner, make your land off-limits to hunters. Find out more about how to do this on our Farmers/Landowners Page –

Sign and share our “Ban Blood Sports in Ireland” petition

Witness the cruelty of foxhunting at

In March 2013, a vote was taken on a proposed amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw fox hunting, terrierwork, digging out, ferreting, badger culling and the use of animals in circus performances. Find out how TDs voted…

The 13 TDs who voted in support of the amendment:

Boyd Barrett, Richard.
Broughan, Thomas P..
Collins, Joan.
Daly, Clare.
Donnelly, Stephen S..
Grealish, Noel.
Higgins, Joe.
McGrath, Finian.
Murphy, Catherine.
Nulty, Patrick.
O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Shortall, Róisín.
Wallace, Mick.

The 108 TDs who voted against the amendment.

Bannon, James.
Barry, Tom.
Breen, Pat.
Bruton, Richard.
Burton, Joan.
Butler, Ray.
Buttimer, Jerry.
Byrne, Catherine.
Byrne, Eric.
Calleary, Dara.
Carey, Joe.
Colreavy, Michael.
Conaghan, Michael.
Conlan, Seán.
Connaughton, Paul J..
Coonan, Noel.
Costello, Joe.
Coveney, Simon.
Creighton, Lucinda.
Crowe, Seán.
Daly, Jim.
Deenihan, Jimmy.
Deering, Pat.
Doherty, Pearse.
Doherty, Regina.
Donohoe, Paschal.
Dowds, Robert.
Doyle, Andrew.
Durkan, Bernard J..
Ellis, Dessie.
Farrell, Alan.
Feighan, Frank.
Ferris, Anne.
Ferris, Martin.
Fitzgerald, Frances.
Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Flanagan, Terence.
Griffin, Brendan.
Harrington, Noel.
Harris, Simon.
Hayes, Tom.
Healy, Seamus.
Healy-Rae, Michael.
Heydon, Martin.
Hogan, Phil.
Howlin, Brendan.
Humphreys, Heather.
Humphreys, Kevin.
Kehoe, Paul.
Kelly, Alan.
Kenny, Enda.
Kenny, Seán.
Kitt, Michael P..
Kyne, Seán.
Lawlor, Anthony.
Lowry, Michael.
Lynch, Ciarán.
Lynch, Kathleen.
Lyons, John.
Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
Maloney, Eamonn.
McConalogue, Charlie.
McDonald, Mary Lou.
McGinley, Dinny.
McGrath, Mattie.
McGrath, Michael.
McGuinness, John.
McLellan, Sandra.
McLoughlin, Tony.
McNamara, Michael.
Mitchell, Olivia.
Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Mulherin, Michelle.
Murphy, Dara.
Nash, Gerald.
Neville, Dan.
Nolan, Derek.
Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
O’Brien, Jonathan.
O’Donnell, Kieran.
O’Donovan, Patrick.
O’Dowd, Fergus.
O’Mahony, John.
O’Reilly, Joe.
O’Sullivan, Jan.
Perry, John.
Phelan, Ann.
Phelan, John Paul.
Pringle, Thomas.
Rabbitte, Pat.
Reilly, James.
Ring, Michael.
Ryan, Brendan.
Spring, Arthur.
Stagg, Emmet.
Stanley, Brian.
Stanton, David.
Timmins, Billy.
Twomey, Liam.
Varadkar, Leo.
Wall, Jack.
Walsh, Brian.
White, Alex.

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