Bloodbath at the GPO
On Wednesday, a colourful novelty protest calling for a ban on blood sports will be staged in front of the GPO in O'Connell Street, Dublin.
A glamorous young woman dressed in red white and black hunting outfit will bathe publicly in a large tub filled with “blood”. The protest commences at 1.15 pm on Wednesday July 25th and continues for an hour.
It will be organised by the Association of Hunt Saboteurs and the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports.
This eye-catching and thought-provoking spectacle will symbolise the savage cruelty and bloodletting of the hunting season, during which foxes, stags, and hares are hounded for sport in the countryside.
Members of animal groups will form a backdrop to the main theme, holding provocative banners and placards.
The timing of this protest is significant: Traditionally, the license permitting one of these horrific blood sports is granted before the end of this month (July) to Ireland's only carted stag hunt, the Ward Union Hunt in County Meath.
We are appealing to the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, NOT to grant the stag hunt license this year.
We believe we have a strong case for so demanding: There is widespread belief in legal circles that carted stag hunting may contravene existing animal welfare laws. Professor William Binchy of Trinity expressed that view on an RTE Primetime programme.
The stags hunted by the Ward Union club are farmed and domesticated animals.
Our cruelty laws prohibit the hunting of domestic or farmed animals, and the Wildlife Act, under which licenses to hunt stags are granted, permits only the hunting of WILD deer.
Stag hunting is extremely cruel. The deer are goaded out of horseboxes and then forced to run across country from packs of hounds. A stag hunt continues until the animal collapses from exhaustion. It sustains severe injuries during the chase, getting caught up in barbed wire and thorn bushes along the way.
The practise has also proven a major public nuisance. Last season, hounds in pursuit of a fleeing stag rampaged through a schoolyard in County Meath, spreading alarm and terror among the children. The sight of the exhausted frightened stag traumatised some kids as it panted, bleeding heavily, and with its tongue hanging out as the baying dogs closed in.
The bloodbath protest on Wednesday may strike some people as being in bad taste, but we feel it is necessary to remind the Minister that Ireland's wildlife is at the mercy of hunts and coursing clubs that are free to abuse animals for the craic.
Though listed as an endangered species, the hare can still be coursed and hunted.
We want to see the Wildlife Act amended to include a ban on stag hunting and hare coursing, and the fox, currently classified as “vermin”, upgraded to the status of a protected species.