Animal Health and Welfare Bill must remove exemptions for cruel blood sports.

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Animal Welfare

TD’s Maureen O’ Sullivan and Clare Daly will today table amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill. The two TD’s are asking for exemptions on the banning of fox hunting and hare coursing to be removed.

The bill proposes to update primary legislation dating from 1911 and does include a number of important provisions designed to eradicate the practice of dogfighting and animal baiting. However, in its current form the bill will provide exemptions to the practice of fox hunting and hare coursing.

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has called on TD’s of all backgrounds to lend their support for Deputies Daly and O’ Sullivan’s amendments. In a recent press release the IWT argued that the issue “need not be the rural versus urban debate that many supporters of ‘blood sports’ want us to believe – rather it is about respecting our natural environment and building a future we can all be proud of”.

Fox hunting and hare coursing involve the pursuit of foxes and hares for human recreation and enjoyment. In many cases the animals are pursued by hounds that have been specifically trained for this purpose. These “sports” routinely involve the injuring and killing of foxes and hares for little more than pleasure. Given the nature of these “sports” it is particularly striking that a bill in relation to animal health and welfare does nothing to tackle such practices.

The final stages of the bill will be discussed this evening in the Dail.