Stag hunt pledge criticised


RURAL ACTIVITIES:FINE GAEL’S pledge to reverse the ban on stag hunting has been sharply criticised by the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports.

The pledge is contained in the section “rural activities” in the party’s election manifesto published yesterday.

The group said it had learned with “deep shock and revulsion” that Fine Gael planned to reverse the ban on the “horrific practice of carted stag hunting”.

The ban had been introduced on animal welfare and human safety grounds, it added.

It appealed to voters to make their voices heard before and after the election to ensure the pledge was not implemented.

“Opinion polls reveal that a majority of Irish people support the ban on carted stag hunting,” the campaign said.

The “sport”, it said, involved hounding a farmed or semi-tame deer for miles across country until it fell from exhaustion.

“Many of the stags used were severely injured in the process,” the group added.

“By the end of the chase, a stag would be found bleeding from wounds inflicted along the route, from entanglement in brambles and barbed wire, its tongue hanging out from exhaustion.” There was a high risk to road users and a number of accidents had been caused by stag hunting.

The outgoing Government’s Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, outlawing the hunting of carted red deer, was passed by the Dáil in July of last year. It was opposed by Fine Gael and Labour at the time.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore later said his party would not overturn the ban if it was elected.