Belfast Telegraph

Barbaric bloodsport in Northern Ireland - horrific pictures show pets with their faces ripped off after hunting foxes

Warning: Article contains images some readers may find distressing

By Patricia Devlin

These are the shameful pictures that show the cruel reality of fox hunting in Northern Ireland.

The shocking images, collated by pressure group League Against Cruel Sports, show pets with their faces ripped off, wild animals being barricaded into their dens and foxes being tore apart by packs of dogs.

One horrifying snap shows a fatally injured springer spaniel with his nose ripped off, while another dog is missing most of her mouth. One had to be put down, while the other died a number of months later.

In another image, four dogs are snapped ripping apart one fox and feeding on its insides.

Disturbingly, all the pictures were taken in Northern Ireland.

And although distressing, those behind the pictures aren’t doing anything illegal.

Janice Watt, public affairs officer with the League Against Cruel Sports, who handed the pictures over to Sunday Life, said: “These sickening and barbaric images show exactly why hunting in Northern Ireland must be banned.

“It is not acceptable in the modern age for any animal to be chased to exhaustion, and then ripped apart whilst still alive.

“The League Against Cruel Sports have made outlawing hunting with dogs for sport our priority campaign in Northern Ireland.

“The public were outraged at the leniency shown to dog fighters convicted last year by courts — but what is the difference between setting dogs on a domestic pet, and setting dogs on a beautiful fox or majestic stag? The answer is none.

“All animals feel the same fear, terror and pain, and we have a responsibility to stop this ruthless persecution of wildlife. Our campaign aims to show that the majority of people support a ban, and to put the issue in front of the politicians who can bring about the legislation.”

Last month Sunday Life revealed how a whippet belonging to ‘Pink Lady Hunter’ Charlene Rafferty tore apart a defenceless fox earlier this year.

Rafferty was not doing anything illegal but provoked outrage when she posted a picture of the frenzied attack savaging a fox on Facebook — along with the words “that’s my girl”.

The blurry mobile phone snap, believed to have been posted earlier this year and now shared by animal rights groups on Facebook, shows her dog Buffy attacking the bloodied creature as it tries to escape.

Ms Watt says the League Against Cruel Sports group is calling on the Assembly to stop the use of dogs to fight, trap or flush out wild mammals from below ground.

Said Janice: “We believe this could easily be achieved by amending the Welfare of Animals Act NI 2011 to expressly prohibit the use of dogs below ground, or by introducing legislation to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland.”

She added: “Together we can help consign this brutal activity to the history books where it belongs, and give wildlife in Northern Ireland a fighting chance.”

For more information on the league’s work in Northern Ireland, see its website:

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