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Gaping omission in animal welfare legislation

Gina Hetherington of PAWS was privileged to get an invitation to Minister Coveney’s animal welfare conference held recently in Dublin Castle (Letters, May 29)

Many of us campaigning against barbaric cruelty to animals, such as bloodsports, were excluded from the conference and were outside the gates of Dublin Castle protesting, while bloodsports enthusiasts received invitations from the minister, such as foxhunters and the spade and terrier brigade.

Certainly there are provisions in the act to be welcomed — the banning of the barbaric practice of docking dogs’ tails, increased powers for authorised officers to investigate complaints of animal cruelty, and stricter penalties on convictions.

However, there is a gaping omission in that while the law against baiting of animals and dog fighting is strengthened, the use of live hares as lures for greyhounds in coursing is explicitly allowed, as is the hounding of foxes with packs of dogs and the digging out of foxes gone to ground, using terriers to flush them out — all perfectly legal as per this new 2014 legislation, replacing the old 1911 legislation, which we inherited from the UK, and which also exempted these barbaric practices. Fox hunting has since been outlawed in England, Scotland and Wales, while hare coursing is also banned in these jurisdictions and in Northern Ireland.

Hopefully we will not have to wait another century for an end to the persecution of our wildlife.

Aideen Yourell

Irish Council Against Blood Sports

Mullingar

Co Westmeath

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