Since 2005 Hare coursing, Fox hunting and Carted Deer Hunting have been banned in the UK. Following this the Green Party Northern Ireland Assembly member Brian Wilson said,
'legislation banning the hunting of wild mammals with dogs already exists in England, Scotland and Wales, so it should be the legislation in Northern Ireland to keep in line with the rest of the UK'.
This was meet with resistance by 5'000 angry sportsmen and woman, who turned out in Waterford to demonstrate against the ban.
And there lies my anger as an activist. A large number of the population are not bothered by these blood sports, they want to keep the sport legal and have no interest in stopping it. There are actually several websites and hotels advertising the sport.
So I'm going to write in detail exactly what these sports entail and maybe by visually imaging the pain and horror bestowed upon these creatures, I may be able to change a small percentage of the populations views.
My account is not entirely biased, I do take into account the practises of farmers and others throughout the country. In saying ban blood sports, for example, fox hunting, we would have to address the subject of pest control on farms. Traps, burning them out, poison and other ways of keeping the numbers of pests down are just as inhumane. Research has shown that traps cause just as much pain as chasing. This is one of the reasons 5,000 people protested in Waterford. They're worried if it is banned, what will be next on the list.
If fox hunting is banned would farmers snaring and other methods increase? Research shows this is not the case. The number killed by hunting is not enough to have any effect on the farming community.
The reason behind the public reluctance to support the ban on hunting stems from the fear of wondering where the protests will end? If this is banned, what next? Will there eventually be a ban on mouse traps? On some farms chickens are killed by being placed in killing cones, where they are turned upside down, their throats are slit and they are left to bleed to death. Some rural butchers still use this method for sheep and pigs. The list of inhumane killing techniques is endless.
The next step after achieving the ban on blood sports will be promoting organic living. Appealing to the government to make this option of living less expensive. Find a more humane way for pest control and the butchering of livestock.
The media in Ireland does not address the subject of blood sports very often. Actually the only time I've seen the issue raised recently was on Frontline RTE. The main sources of information comes from independent organisations, who have set up websites. As for the methods of killing livestock, the media never shows the extent of the suffering some animals will go through. Meat is a huge market, the government would not want to put people off buying it.
In Ireland, we are actually quite fortunate, in that government officials or Garda have not intervened with the public voice as of yet. Not like places, for example, the Anti G8 protests in Genoa, where police destroyed all digital footage and documentation of police brutality at a peaceful march. Our mainstream media may be controlled but so far we have the freedom of speech on Internet links etc. But this is not enough. Many do not have access to these means, so they rely solely on mainstream media to give them all the information they need. This results in most of the public only ever seeing what the government wants them to see.
You could say that it is the reluctance of the public themselves to change their ways, or get involved. Ireland is still trying to keep up and alot of the older generation do not like change.
So this is were I'm appealing to all generations to start voicing their concerns and fighting for what they believe in.
To witness to barbarity of blood sports in Ireland click on the following link.
Witness for yourselves the abusive treatment of foxes, hares and deer in the collection of video footage. But also have a look at the humane alternatives that could be put in place.
A Day on the Hunt
Let me paint a picture of a day on the hunt. The horses are all geared up, the hunters are ready to go and the chase begins. A horse falls at high speed and is injured, it is lead back to the stables to be put down, (a horses broken leg can never be fixed). One hound is shrieking in pain because he jumped onto a barbed wire fence and can't get off. When hounds chase their prey they forget everything else so nine times out of ten they end up injured, it has been known for a hound to go off the edge of a cliff and fall to his death.
Hundreds of hounds have been killed by trains or cars. In England before the ban, eleven hounds were killed by the one train. If the dog is so injured they cannot continue the hunt, the hunters will just shoot them rather than have a vet rehabilitate them.
The hunt continues on, (livestock can sometimes be killed or pet cats and dogs). At this stage the fox is becoming tired. Imagine running for hours with a pack of hungry dogs chasing you. The fox is looking for a hole to escape but the hunters had been out the night before to fill any holes they could find. Even if the fox does out run the hounds, it will probably be too tired to find food. Even if a fox escapes its health will be severally damaged.
The hounds catch up with the fox and each take a bite, tearing into its body and yanking the fox till it rips apart. The process takes longer the less dogs that are on the hunt. Most die from having their guts ripped out.
The hounds cower and whimper at the sight of the whip, so its safe to say that most are whipped in their training. When they are passed six or seven some will be put down and if they are not born with all the attributes of a hunts dog they will be put down. Some huntsmen have admitted putting a dog down due to its colour.
A fox manages to escape down a hole so the huntsmen send a terrier down, this could go on for hours. When the fox is dragged out it is shot or killed with a blow by a spade. There is sometimes a fight in the hole between the fox and the terrier or it has been known for a terrier to get trapped under the earth and people cannot get him out.
So basically I'm looking for support to bring in a legislation banning blood sports.
I will be hosting meetings, putting up posters, interviewing locals for an overall perspective, gathering signatures for petitions, sending out mobile alerts, setting up web pages, putting together advertisements and campaigns and holding demonstrations.
I need you to submit their opinions to media outlets and government officials. I need you to tell all your friends, work colleagues, neighbours and family members to support this action against Blood Sports.
Please also on behalf of banbloodsports.com send a message to Minister John Gormley stating
'I support the ban on the Ward Union' to firstname.lastname@example.org
Juris, J. (2008) 'The New Digital Media and Activist Networking within Anti-Corporate Globalisation Movements' in The Anthropology of Globalisation: 352-370.