I agree with those who say that the presidential election is a scandalous waste of money, given that the position of president is largely ceremonial and of little consequence. However as a campaigner against blood sports I’m delighted with Gavin Duffy’s involvement because his candidacy has helped to shine a light on these so-called “rural pursuits”.
Mr Duffy is entitled is entitled to his view that “field sports”, the euphemism for fox hunting, stag hunting, and hare coursing, are healthy forms of outdoor entertainment, but anyone who takes a closer and objective look at them would have to concede that they involve immense and unacceptable suffering for the animals that find themselves on the receiving end of the “sport”.
Even the nastiest and meanest jibes that have been tossed about during the presidential election campaign seem puny beside the spectacle of a cornered stag, collapsed from exhaustion, its tongue steaming, blood pouring from wounds inflicted in the course of a lengthy chase... and the hounds closing in.
Or the penultimate scene of a fox-hunt: When this wild dog has the skin ripped from its bones in a frenzy of bloodlust, prior to the severing of its brush (tail) to serve as a trophy.
Or the pain endured by a hare that is mauled or forcibly struck, or tossed into the air, on a mud-spattered coursing field.
Thanks to Gavin Duffy’s presidential bid, these activities are being subjected to the full glare of public attention. So well done to Gavin. He may, however unwittingly, have brought closer the day when Ireland can say goodbye and good riddance to these barbaric practises.