Petition update

Hen party hunters had “beaming smiles” as foxes ran for their lives

Irish Council Against Blood Sports ICABS
Ireland, Ireland

Apr 25, 2019 — 

Members of a visiting hen party from the UK with “beaming smiles” on their faces were among those at a shameful hunt in Westmeath during which a fox was chased for more than 40 minutes by a pack of 29 dogs.

According to a report in the Irish Field (8 February 2019), “It was a case of the hens following the foxes at this [Westmeath Foxhounds] meet, as a large hen party from the Belvoir and the Exmoor Hounds in the UK, celebrated the impending marriage of Ursula Moore to Jonathan Bryars.”

The hunt took place across Westmeath countryside described as “well foxed”, with followers “both adults and children that know and appreciate old-style foxhunting”.

Several foxes were terrorised during the hunt, the report outlined.

The pack of hounds first found two foxes in a field of kale before “settling on one” and pursuing him. Another fox was chased and “marked” in a bog “after a nice crisp run of over 40 minutes”.

In hunting terminology, “marked” refers to the pack of hounds catching up with the fox and baying loudly at the entrance to an earth or drain where the cowering creature is trying to find refuge. Surrounded by the hunters and hounds, this is a desperate situation for the fox. It often means death - foxes are flushed out with terriers or dug out by hunt terriermen before being killed.

Another fox was chased towards the Streamstown Road where he “ran parallel to the road with the pack screaming not far behind”.

Later, hounds pressed a fox “over real old turf country with trappy stone walls and old fashioned drain country”. The sickening report adds that “this customer [the fox] decided to run through it swinging left-handed and they marked him to ground in a rock pile near the Ballinagore road”.

The members of the hen party were said to have had “beaming smiles” on their faces as their horses “had carried them safely across country”.

How obscene that in 2019, Irish wildlife has to suffer such appalling persecution. A ban on foxhunting and all bloodsports is long overdue in Ireland. Please respond to the action alert below and demand a ban.


Contact the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and appeal to him to ban fox hunting in Ireland.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @leovaradkar

Contact the Minister for Agriculture and demand the removal of an exemption for foxhunting from the Animal Health and Welfare Act. Section 12 of the Act, which deals with “Prohibition on animal cruelty” states: “Nothing in this section applies in relation to anything which occurs in the ordinary course of...lawfully hunting an animal, unless the animal is released in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition”

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to ban foxhunting. Contact all your local TDs and urge them to push for a ban on this blood sport. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses

Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889. Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

Keep hunters off your land

If you are a landowner, make your land off-limits to hunters. Find out more about how to do this on our Farmers/Landowners Page - Encourage all land-owning friends and family members in the countryside to show compassion and make their land a haven for wildlife. If hunters are denied access to land, the wildlife will be spared the suffering of cubhunting and foxhunting.

Westmeath Foxhunt cruelty:

A 2011 Farmers' Journal hunting report told of how sixteen mounted followers of the Westmeath hunt, along with 29 hounds, found a fox that was caught and "chopped." Later on, another fox was "overhauled before he managed to put any distance between himself and them." Both "chopped" and "overhauled," in hunting terminology, mean that the fox was caught by the hounds and brutally killed.

In 2007, there was a probe into allegations that a rope was tied to the leg of a fox and that it was pulled out of a burrow and fed alive to the dogs - See Irish Independent report

A 2008 Irish Field report revealed that the Westmeath Hunt's hounds chased a fox into the freezing water of the Royal canal and along its banks - the fox and the pack swam across the canal and continued along the banks to the Mullingar/Ballynacargy Road...the fox, with four and a half couple (9 hounds) in pursuit, then swam the canal again before retracing their steps back to Newman's Bog." Following complaints, Waterways Ireland moved to contact the hunt and tell them to keep away from the Royal Canal.

The Irish Field of December 1991 documented the obscene ritual of cutting off the tails and tongues of foxes - "Terriers were some time in coming as car followers were the wrong side of the wind for hearing. A quick dig followed and two foxes were dispatched. Eamon had a brush for Clarissa and a fox's tongue which he intends pickling in vinegar to cure warts and draw thorns." (Westmeath Foxhounds, Hunt Report).

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