Farmers protest against fox-hunting


Farmers will be represented at a protest against foxhunting outside the Department of Agriculture today, where they will call upon the Government to introduce a total ban on the activity.

The Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass group said they wanted to voice their “continued objections to the destructive impact of this activity on the property and livelihoods of farmers nationwide”.

It said it supported Minister for the Environment John Gormley in his decision to ban stag hunting and it urged the Government to include a total ban on foxhunting in the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which is due before the Dáil shortly.

“We maintain that foxhunters seek to keep themselves in business...and someone else’s expense- namely the farmer,” the group said. “The hunts demand and expect that farmers should supply free of charge to them the most expensive part of their destructive pastime.”

It said the “so-called hunting fraternity” was composed of “vandals, law-breakers, and serial trespassers”.

“Foxhunters have no respect for farmers...for their land, crops, or livelihoods. They have trampled on our rights, land, and on the dignity of farmers, for decades.”

The organisation said if hunters obstructed a street or gateway in a city or a large town in pursuit of their pastime, they would be clamped or face fines. “Yet they break every law in the book across the length and breadth of rural Ireland.”

It said no farmer wished to have his land poached, his fences knocked down and destroyed, and barbed wire cut.

Hunting also resulted in crops being trampled, livestock “terrified and injured” and created the risk of a spread of disease. In addition, farmers were “ridiculed and abused” by members of hunts on farms and country roads.

It said the “vast majority” of farmers did not want hunts on their land. “We want our constitutional rights as landowners and farmers respected and implemented by law.”

The group said that if hunters switched to drag hunting, the farmers’ protest would end. Drag hunting avoided trespass on other farms and confined hunters to farms where they were allowed to hunt by written consent along a pre-determined route.