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Minister Coveney ‘refusing to act on abhorrent acts’

Despite acknowledging that the digging out of foxes and the use of terriers to attack them is “unacceptable“, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has so far refused to outlaw these most abhorrent acts.

What a pity that at this historic crossroads for Irish wildlife, such a minister is overseeing the so-called Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

Instead of doing the right thing and stopping the animal abusers, he is preparing to pave the way for their cruelty to continue.

The new bill shockingly retains a century-old exemption which betrays foxes and hares and protects foxhunting and coursing.

The minister is well aware of the terrible suffering caused by these activities, but his response is that “it is not appropriate to outlaw coursing and hunting when they are pursued according to the codes of conduct drawn up by clubs.”

The worthless codes he refers to mean nothing to the persecuted fox squealing as it’s dug out of the ground, or to the hare crying out as a greyhound smashes into it and breaks its bones.

Last month, Minister Coveney declared that “it is a judgement call whether one should ban such activities ... and it is my judgement that we should regulate rather than ban them.” For a minister with responsibility for Ireland’s animal welfare, it is the poorest possible judgement.

Philip Kiernan

Irish Council Against Blood Sports

PO Box 88


Co Westmeath


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