Conduct of Foxhunting in Ireland

  • 27 November 2007
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In light of the media reports that a foxhunting club is under investigation it would be helpful to put in context the organisation of foxhunting in Ireland.
The conduct of foxhunting is carried out without any statutory input.  One of the main organisations that organises foxhunting, the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association, is a private organisation that has no statutory standing. The membership of this organisation is made up of affiliated packs of hounds who conduct themselves under a code of practice which has no legal standing.  

In effect, this code was drawn up in recent times to show that foxhunters were operating to a high standard of fox abuse and killing.

This code does not apply to foxhunting packs who are not affiliated to the three main foxhunting organisations: the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association, The Irish Foot Harriers Association and the Irish Masters of Harriers Association. There are many foxhunting packs operating in the Irish countryside without the umbrella of being affiliated to a national organisation.

Even though the foxhunting code of conduct is not worth the parchment it is typed on, it does not apply to non-affiliated foxhunting packs.  

It would be wise to be careful of a foxhunter defending this activity who says that foxhunting is conducted under a legal framework. It is not. If the foxhunting code of conduct is broken by an affiliated hunt then its only rules that are broken not law. Not forgetting the fact, the any transgression of the code is investigated by foxhunters and not an outside legal body.

Throwing live foxes to hounds is a strand of foxhunting. Because there is no government authority monitoring the conduct of foxhunting with hounds on the ground it cannot be stated with certainly even by hunting organisations that live fox throwing is no longer being carried out on the hunting field.

The hatred of foxes by foxhunters runs deep. No mercy is shown to this animal whose only crime was to be born into a country that allows foxhunting to entertain spectators through the suffering and death of an animal.