Petition calls for stag hunting ban


A petition of more than 20,000 signatures calling for a ban on stag hunting was presented by anti-blood sports campaigners to the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht yesterday. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports and the Campaign for the Abolition off Cruel Sports called on Mr Higgins to refuse a hunting licence to the Ward Union, the only stag hunt in the State. They also said the Garda should monitor the hunt to ensure that held a licensed event.

Based in Duashaughlin, Co Meath, the Ward Union last held a hunt on St Stephen's Day It has since applied for a licence to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, which has warned that any hunt held would be in breach of the 1976 Wildlife Act. The Secretary of the Ward Union, Mr Oliver Russell, refused to indicate whether the next stag hunt, planned for January 14th, would go ahead.

Due to the state of the ground, from the recent cold spell, the union was unable to hold a hunt scheduled to take place yesterday. A Department spokesman was unable to indicate when a decision on the matter of a licence would be made.