Blindfolded Irish horse killed after suffering horrific injuries

14 Jul


A blindfolded Irish horse has suffered horrific fatal injuries after running loose at a race in Brighton.

The horse, named Just Marion, was blindfolded while being loaded into the starting stalls at Brighton Racecourse on Monday (12th June) and was seen leaving the stalls riderless and with the blindfold still covering her head.

“As she ran blind, chasing on the heels of the other runners, she collided with the running rails,” Animal Aid has reported. “As the group turned the bend towards the finish, she continued in a straight trajectory crashing through the stand side rails. This resulted in her receiving horrendous injuries – comprising multiple fractures. She could not be saved and was destroyed at Arundel Equine Hospital.”

According to, “She was loaded into the starting gate with a blindfold, which apprentice jockey Louis Steward was supposed to remove at the start of the race. Instead, Just Marion stumbled leaving the gates, unseating Steward, and ran loose around the course while unable to see. The filly suffered numerous fractures and had to be euthanized as a result of her injuries.”

While the Racing Post referred to the incident as “added drama for racegoers”, trainer Clare Ellam described it as “horrific”. “It was like she had been involved in a car crash,” she was later quoted as saying. “She had run into concrete fencing and had multiple fractures to her head and lacerations. There was nothing they could do to save her. I was absolutely dedicated to her…She was the loveliest mare to have around and will never get the chance to show everyone how good she was.”

5-year-old Just Marion is the 47th Irish horse to die on British racecourses since the beginning of this year. And the deaths are continuing. The day after Just Marion was killed, another two Irish horses died. Palomas Prince (Pulled Up – Fatally Injured) and Insight (Fell – Injured – Destroyed) lost their lives during races at Southwell on Tuesday.

On its Race Horse Death Watch website, Animal Aid has documented over 1,550 deaths at UK tracks in the past decade. These are on-course fatality figures and do not include the horses killed due to training injuries or the horses destroyed when they are “judged to be no longer financially viable”. Last year, 76 Irish horses died or were destroyed at UK tracks.


Another GAA fundraiser at greyhound track

13 Jul


Sad to see another GAA club disregarding the cruelty of the greyhound industry and fundraising at a track.

Kildare News is reporting that Eadestown GAA is to hold a fundraiser at Newbridge greyhound track this month – “Funds raised on the night will be used for the future development of the club’s facilities.”

ICABS has drawn the club’s attention to the recent RTE Prime Time report on which Limerick Animal Welfare’s Marion Fitzgibbon conveyed some of the industry’s horrors. “We believe there are probably 10,000 greyhounds put to sleep every year,” she stated. “They can be killed in all sorts of fashions. We’ve had so many instances of finding them shot, ears cut off, drowned.”

These greyhounds are killed when they are unable to win races and make money for unscrupulous owners. Other dogs are injured, mutilated and abandoned.

While we understand the importance of fund-raising to sports clubs, we are asking Eadestown GAA to consider the plight of thousands of dogs used and abused in the greyhound industry and choose an alternative method of raising funds that does not involve animal exploitation. Fundraisers at greyhound tracks are helping to keep this cruel industry alive, because the track takes a significant commission and also profits from food and drink sales on the day.

We encourage all sports clubs to join us in lobbying the government to stop giving millions of euros of taxpayers’ money to the greyhound industry. This year, government funding for sports clubs was cut, while funding to the greyhound industry was increased to €16 million. Since 2001, it has received a quarter of a billion euros of public funds.


Urge Eadestown GAA club to show compassion for the dogs and choose an alternative fundraiser.

Tweet to: @eadestowngaa
Tel: 087 2998712

Political Focus: Declan Breathnach TD

11 Jul

Declan Breathnach td.jpg

POLITICAL FOCUS – Declan Breathnach, TD (Fianna Fail, Louth):

On 12 April 2017, Declan Breathnach TD sent out a tweet encouraging people to support the cruel greyhound industry – “The Greyhound industry in Ireland is under serious pressure, why not support it this Friday”

In June 2016, he was among the 114 TDs who shamefully voted against Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan’s bill which sought to ban cruel hare coursing.

In December 2016, he voted in favour of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations 2016 which granted €80 million of taxpayers’ money to the horse and greyhound racing industries.


Contact Declan Breathnach, TD about his stance on animal cruelty issues.

Tel: 042 93 52446
Mobile: 087 269 7638
Leave a comment on Facebook
Tweet to @BreathnachLouth

€500 ‘fine’ for causing unnecessary suffering to colt

6 Jul

€500 ‘fine’ for causing unnecessary suffering to colt
Sligo Today, 20th June 2017

A Sligo man has been ordered to pay €500 to an animal welfare charity or face jail after a young horse was found abandoned with severe injuries.

Charles Ward with an address at Elm Gardens, Ballytivnan admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the seven-month-old colt and failing to ensure its welfare.

The case related to the foal found with with horrific neck injuries and abandoned on waste-ground in Sligo town in January 2015.

ISPCA Inspector Karen Lyons responded to a call from a concerned member of the public at that time and found the young animal in a great deal of pain.

Both sides of his neck had suffered massive puncture wounds which were badly infected and he was clearly in an extremely weakened state.

The foal, named Chance, to be taken into the care of the local equine sanctuary, Sathya Sai in Castlebaldwin where he received intensive veterinary treatment.

Not micro-chipped

“The wounds on both sides of the neck, which it is thought were over a week old, were only centimetres from the vertebrae in his neck and there was a risk of infection spreading to the spine,” the ISPCA said.

Although Chance was not micro-chipped further inquires by Garda Claire O’Brien revealed the owner and a Garda prosecution was initiated.

Despite his horrific injuries, after some treatment Chance was in good spirits and his wounds quickly improved.

ISPCA Inspector Lyons said thanked gardaí for their investigation.

“When I arrived on the scene he [Chance] was just standing there lifeless on his own in the middle of the car park. He must have been in an awful lot of pain and didn’t have the energy to move,” she said.

He had been attacked by a stallion and has since, with extensive treatment, fully recovered and rehoused in Coolaney.

Judge Kevin Kilrane in passing sentence ruled that Ward should pay €500 to the Sathya Sai sanctuary. The case was adjourned until 20 July to allow the defendant the time requested to raise the amount levied.

Members of the public should continue to report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report cruelty online in confidence on

Bloodsports should be consigned to history

6 Jul

Bullfighting, hare coursing and fox hunting should be consigned to the blood-stained pages of history – Read John Fitzgerald’s Letter to the Editor in the Irish Daily Mail…

Ban Bullfighting
Irish Daily Mail
June 22 2017

The death of Spanish bullfighter Ivan Fandino after being gored by a bull must serve as yet another reminder of the extreme danger and gross inhumanity implicit in this so-called “sport”.

The tragedy has sparked renewed calls worldwide for its abolition

It is dangerous for the human participants, who risk death or serious injury and indefensibly cruel to the animals that always end up dead after prolonged torture.

Behind the popular image of a swashbuckling man using a cape to tease and evade the bull is the shocking reality: Before the matador even faces the bull, it has been weakened by having Vaseline rubbed into its eyes to impair vision, and beaten over the kidneys. Then it is stabbed with razor sharp lances.

The fighter performs his traditional routine against the bull as blood streams from numerous wounds inflicted by the picadors. By the time he plunges his sword between his opponent’s shoulder blades, the animal is ready to collapse from exhaustion.

Such a practice is an affront to human decency and should be banned. But then, so should hare coursing and fox hunting that the Irish government still allows despite claiming to have the best animal welfare legislation in Europe.

Such activities in the 21st century are fine as subjects of oil paintings or as design themes for table mats or elaborate tapestries. But as sports they should be consigned to the blood-stained pages of history.

John Fitzgerald,
Callan, Co Kilkenny

Letter to a Fox

6 Jul

A letter to a fox by John Fitzgerald, Callan, County Kilkenny. Published in the Sunday Independent, 25th June 2017

Dear Fox,

The letter I wish I’d sent? I’d certainly like to have sent one to you, though I know you’d never have understood my language, there being an eternal barrier between your species and mine.

I remember when I first saw you. Or heard you rather. What was that noise, I wondered? I pulled the curtain across, wary of a intruder. Instead I saw you foraging in the bin. In the semi darkness I didn’t recognise you as a fox. My first impression was of a large cat. When I opened the door you quickly disappeared.

I left out a bowl of water and scraps from the Sunday dinner and switched on the outside light. It gladdened my heart to see you return a few minutes later to enjoy a snack; to see you in all your russet furred glory, with that white underbelly, those triangular ears, that distinctive snout and your bushy tail.

I had only once before seen a fox in real life and that was far off from a bus window. I did some reading and was fascinated by your cleverness. I discovered that you really are intelligent creatures.

For the next four nights you re-reappeared, at almost exactly the same time, for those few bits and pieces. I didn’t venture outside, because I know you’re wild and suspicious of humans. I understand. Humans are suspicious of humans too.

When you didn’t turn up the following night I was disappointed, but respected your decision to go elsewhere. I was just a little offended. Foolishly, as I’m sure you had your own reasons for trying your luck in someone else’s garden or front lawn.

It was on that final visit that I noticed that one of your ears was missing its upper end, as if something had sliced it off. It had a peculiar square shape. The wound seemed to have healed though, so I presumed it wasn’t bothering you too much.

I found it jarring, because otherwise you were perfectly formed. I was struck by those luminous brown eyes when you glanced up at the window. I hope I didn’t frighten you if you happened to see me, and that this wasn’t what prompted your abandonment of that friendly space on the lawn.

What a contrast.between that furtive nocturnal vista and our next encounter, seven weeks later.

I’ll not forget that morning. It was a scene straight out of an old fashioned Christmas card. The snow capped village houses stood in weak but radiant sunlight. Trees heaved under the weight of the white carpets that were dissolving slowly and sprinkling the heavily foot-printed streets underneath.

There wasn’t much traffic on the narrow road so the sound of a beeper in the distance surprised me. That was until it increased in volume and I recognized the shrill undulating cadence of a hunting horn. In a field parallel to the narrow country road a cavalcade of human, horse and dog flesh materialized.

The hounds arrived first, charging past me with tails up and noses sniffing furiously. I watched over a snow ornamented ditch as the riders raced by on their steaming mounts, some blowing bugles, others emitting indistinct cries of triumph.

I gave it no further thought. At that time of year the hunt was a familiar feature of the landscape, almost as common as a robin redbreast bobbing along in a garden, Christmas decorations, or festive carol singing.

If only I hadn’t opted for a longer walk that day. But on I trudged, until I saw what I took to be a discarded sack of rubbish sprawled across the road. I cursed the recklessness of fly tippers. They’d do anything to avoid paying for disposal.

But then, drawing nearer, it became evident to me that this wasn’t an instance of illegal dumping. It was a fox, its lovely russet coat all ripped and pock marked. Thin streaks of vapour, fanned by a breeze, rose into the chill winter air from a tangle of bloody entrails that were streaming unto the road.

A feeling of sadness came over me. While I accepted that nature was red in tooth and claw, as the saying goes, this creature’s pitiful end unnerved me. Determined not to let the gory spectacle ruin my day, I steeled myself to resume my daily walk.

But as I nimbly set about sidestepping the animal I caught sight of something that froze me to the spot: The upper part of the fox’s left ear was neatly spliced. It was you.

If only you could understand me, my language, my species, I would apologize on behalf of the many humans who do not inflict suffering on you for pleasure. And I would try to explain why politicians refuse to enact a law to protect you from the humans who do enjoy hunting you to death.

You see, they forget that you; like them, experience pain and terror; that you are sentient beings as they are. Because you can’t vote, you don’t count. No politician depends on a number one or a second preference from a fox. So that makes you irrelevant.

But you’re not irrelevant to some of us. Because of you, I joined a campaign to ban fox hunting. I’ll never stop campaigning until you receive the protection you deserve. Some day; what happened to you will become a crime in Ireland.

I don’t know if there’s a heaven for foxes. If there is, I hope you’re sipping water and munching away up there like you did on my lawn for those four nights in a row. And I like to think, or fantasize, that when our national parliament passes a law in your favour, you’ll somehow get to hear about it, and rejoice.



Tipperary politician speaks out against sulky racing

6 Jul

“A crazy situation of cruelty”: Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath speaks out against sulky racing and criticises the Gardai for “insisting that a sick horse be returned to the people who abused him”.

While we welcome Mattie McGrath’s condemnation of cruelty and acknowledgement that “the abuse of animals…in Tipperary is appalling”, it should be noted that this is the same TD who is a vocal supporter of one of Tipperary’s worst acts of animal abuse, i.e. hare coursing. He has attended the coursing crueltyfest in Clonmel and is on record as saying “I am totally supportive of the practice of coursing”. Last year, he voted against a proposed ban on hare coursing and voted in favour of a €80 million euro government grant to the horse and greyhound industries.

Watch video footage of a hare being severely mauled during coursing in Clonmel


Thank Mattie McGrath for raising the issue of horse abuse. Ask him to extend his concern for animals to the thousands of hares snatched from the wild and used as live lures for dogs to terrorise at coursing meetings.

Tel: 01-6184062
Mobile: 086-8184307
Comment on Facebook
Tweet to @mattiemcgrathtd


Dáil debates
Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) In 2016 alone the total amount of horses that were seized, reclaimed, re-homed or indeed euthanised in the State was an astonishing 1,741. There were 129 horses seized in Tipperary and 122 of them had to be put down. I have it from one constituent who works in animal rescue – and have many cases of this – who had to pay €1,000 to treat a horse after being seized. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is now insisting that the horse be returned to the owner because he has produced a [horse] passport. The issue of sulky racing and the abuse of animals and horses in Tipperary, and other areas, is appalling. Last Sunday alone the county was overrun with gangs. The gardaí were trying to keep up with them on roads that are unsafe—–

Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle) To which promised legislation is the Deputy referring?

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) The Horse and Greyhound Racing Act. This is a crazy situation of cruelty and the frightening intimidation of people. When animal rescuers are trying to do voluntary work they are not being supported. The Department won’t stand up to these gangs. Imagine insisting to let a sick horse be returned to the people who abused him.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle) Will there be any amendments to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act?

Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael) I am advised that there are no amendments proposed to that legislation.


Statement by Mattie McGrath TD
28th June 2017

“In just four years 599 out of the 765 horses seized in Tipperary had to be put down,” Mattie McGrath
June 29, 2017 Mattie McGrath Local Issues, Press 0

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to immediately investigate why the total number of horses seized in the state from 2013-2016 reached an extraordinary 14, 454 with 12,088 of the animals having to be euthanised due to severe ill-treatment. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Department of Agriculture made available statistics on the numbers of horses seized county by county during four year period:

“I raised this matter with the Taoiseach today principally due to the clear animal welfare violations that are occurring in Tipperary with regard to sulky racing and the maltreatment of horses by irresponsible owners.

I was shocked to see that of the 129 horses seized in Tipperary in 2016 alone, only 3 were reclaimed by their owners while just 4 were re-homed. The other 122 horses were put down by the department.

It is obvious to anyone who cares to see that the problem is particularly challenging and that it is not being adequately addressed.

Of the 31 Local Authorities surveyed, Tipperary had the fifth highest number of euthanised horses in 2016, exceeded only by Dublin, Kildare and Limerick.

In fact, only 277 of the 2125 horses that were seized by all Local Authorities last year were re-homed.

The fact however that almost 15 thousand horses had to be seized by local Authorities in such a short space of time clearly points to an almost industrial scale problem.

That situation is not being helped by the willingness of the department to return distressed and injured horses to their owners once an animal passport is produced.

The Minister must explain what he is going to do to tackle this very specific problem and in particular how he is going to address the apparent immunity that some groups have when it comes to issues of animal welfare,” concluded Deputy McGrath.