Cruel Hunting 'Blood Sports' Make Animals' Lives 'Hell on Earth" in Ireland

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Ireland’s animal welfare laws are finally being updated and  John Fitzgerald of the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports believes there is a chance to end “a number of extremely cruel practices that make life a living hell on earth for animals in Ireland.”

Three of the most brutal legal “ blood sports” that subject animals to extreme cruelty are: (1) Fox hunting, (2) Live Hare (Rabbit) Coursing; and (3) "Dig Outs"--the use of half-starved terriers and cross-bred dogs in “unearthing” foxes that seek refuge underground from pursuing hounds and hunt followers.

The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports is asking animal lovers all over the world to make their voices heard by the Irish government on behalf of the animals.

 John Fitzgerald states that anyone who wants to end these brutal and atavistic practices can help by just submitting a brief e-mail directly to the Parliamentary Committee  (listed below), which is currently deciding which amendments to include in the revised Animal Welfare Bill. Please ask the Committee simply to ensure that fox hunting, digging out of foxes, and hare coursing are banned once and for all under the new law,


The practice known as the “dig-out” is by far the worst of the cruel practices that comprise these legal “blood sports” on which hunters gamble as to which animal can survive the longest—or, rather, which can kill the fastest!.

A “dig out” involves hunters using terriers and pointed shovels (called a “spade”) to “dig out” foxes that escape underground during a hunt. The spademen dig deep into the earth and drop a terrier down to attack the fox. John Fitzgerald describes, “The fox and dog savage each other, with the fox usually coming off worse, though the terrier also suffers horrific injuries. The terrier is then pulled back up, usually with its teeth sunk into the still-live fox.”

The fox is then thrown to the pack of hounds. If a hunt cannot retrieve a fox even after sending a terrier down, a pole wrapped with barbed wire is lowered into the hole and used to drag the distressed animal to the surface. This is immensely cruel in itself but it does not end there. The live fox is then fed to the waiting hounds to be torn to pieces.

Here is a brief video clip of a "dig out": (WARNING: This material is graphic.)


And here is a series of slides exposing what happens during a "dig-out:"

The Government Minister who will push through the Animal Welfare Bill has already indicated that, although he does not wish to ban foxhunting in its entirety, he is repulsed by the “dig-out” practice and MAY ban it.

Fox hunting is a “blood sport,” masked as an elite activity. Introduced in the 16th Century in the U.K., fox hunting is still popular in Ireland.  Fox hunting involves the tracking, chasing and killing of a helpless, terrorized fox .hounded for hours until exhaustion delivers it to the waiting dogs, to be killed in a frenzy of biting and savagery. 


Live hare coursing can, and should, also be banned under the Animal Welfare Bill, This gruesome practice involves setting greyhounds after live hares in wired enclosures and results in thousands of these gentle creatures being horribly mauled every year by the dogs for “sport”. And of course many dogs also are injured or die in the process.


The Coalition for the Abolition of Cruel Sports is merely asking us to send a message (however brief) to the Parliamentary Committee asking that fox hunting, digging out of foxes, and hare coursing are banned once and for all under the new law.

You can send your message to the entire committee by emailing the members as a group: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

John Fitzgerald says, "Wherever you are in the world, you will be helping to ensure that one, or hopefully, all of these revolting cruelties are outlawed under Ireland’s new Animal Welfare Act.



John Fitzgerald | Facebook

 Read More:

'Make Hunting a Thing of the Past,' Film Exposes Cruelty of Fox Hunting

Blood Sport; Live Hare Coursing Using Rabbits and Dogs Must End End