Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Time to end barbaric hunts once and for all

In this Christian and supposedly civilised country, there will be widespread cruelty inflicted on wild animals over the Christmas holiday season. This reaches a peak on St Stephen's Day, which is a traditional time for hunts and hare coursing.

On this day, there will be an increased countrywide organised assault on our already hard-pressed wildlife by a minority of the population.

No Christmas respite is given to wildlife by bloodsports followers.

The actions of the Irish hare coursing community have been well-documented.

Many hares will end their lives for the Christmas entertainment of people who are strangers to compassion and respect for life.

The hunting with hounds community use St Stephen's Day hunt meets as a public relations exercise.

The general public is shown the Christmas card image of fox hunting - red-coated riders throwing back glasses of hot port surrounded by packs of big lovable hounds.

What is kept hidden is the sole reason for this gathering which is to hunt down, terrorise and kill a harmless wild animal.

Hunting with hounds is organised, premeditated animal cruelty. There is no justification for it; be it on moral, economic or cultural grounds.

It is now time for our legislators to act to outlaw bloodsports. Their existence in society is a disgrace and they have no role in what purports to be an enlightened and environmentally friendly society.

Our wildlife is part of our precious heritage. We keep it in trust for future generations.

No one group pleading 'tradition' and 'culture' for their barbaric practices should be allowed to inflict terror and death on wild animals for their own perverse pleasure.

JOHN TIERNEY

Campaigns director, Association of Hunt Saboteurs, Dublin

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