Archive for Northern Ireland

Parliamentary Briefing – March 2010

Our monthly Parliamentary Briefing has been published today, and send to all MPs, Peers, and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

Download the Parliamentary Briefing – March 2010.

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Northern Ireland Committee votes to ban snares

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Environment Committee has this morning voted for a complete ban on the use of snares in Northern Ireland. The forthcoming Wildlife & Natural Environment (NI) Bill will include legislation to put this ban into force.

The results of a new poll, released today by the League Against Cruel Sports, show massive support for a total ban on snares in Northern Ireland.

An overwhelming 82 per cent of those polled, by Ipsos MORI, think the use of snares should be illegal, while only 11 per cent are in favour of their use.

The results also show people in both rural and urban areas want to see an end to the use of snares with 84 per cent of people supporting a ban in rural parts of Northern Ireland and 81 per cent in urban areas.

So barbaric are snares that only 17 per cent are aware that they are still legal and it was commonly assumed they had been banned.

Snares are thin wire traps used mainly on sporting estates to protect game birds being reared for shooting. The League is campaigning for an end to snaring on the grounds they are cruel, indiscriminate and cause unnecessary suffering to animals.

The League’s Northern Ireland Campaigner Mary Friel said: “These figures come as absolutely no surprise as we are well aware of the strength of feeling on this issue in Northern Ireland, and we are delighted that the Committee has taken the decision to base their policy on clear public opinion. The fact that more than eight out of every ten people support a ban should send a clear message to politicians that snaring must be consigned to the history books.

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Spring Conference season continues

Last weekend we were at the Conservative Party Spring Forum, and this weekend we’ve got a presence at two party conferences.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat Spring Conference takes place in Perth, and we have two staff there. They’ll be focusing on our work to end the use of snares in Scotland, as part of our joint campaign with Advocates for Animals.

And we have two staff at the Sinn Féin Ard Fhies in Dublin, focusing on our demands for permanent protection of the Irish Hare from hare coursers in Northern Ireland, and on snaring.

Coming up we have the main Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Birmingham, and the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow. We then begin the detailed planning stages for the main party conferences in September and October. They are an expensive but very useful and necessary forum.

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Hare coursing not a conservation method

The League Against Cruel Sports has criticised new research published by Queen’s University for failing to adequately consider vital issues of concern in regards to the ‘conservation’ supposedly offered by hare coursing.

The Irish hare can suffer from injuries and fatality at all stages of the coursing process including capture, handling, transportation captivity, during the coursing event and also after release.

Of particular concern is the impact of a stress based syndrome ‘capture myopathy’. The syndrome leads to a compromise in the immune system and consequently death to hares which have appeared to initially survived a coursing event. This syndrome is thought to vastly increase the number of mortalities by the ‘sport’ and its effects on the local population are unknown.

A key report made to the EU Commission (2008), which rated the conservation status of the Irish hare as POOR also highlighted concern on the effects coursing has on the ‘the impact on local population demographics of hare removal and return.

Northern Ireland Campaigner, Mary Friel said: “Coursing is not a conservation measure, when the numbers of Irish hare fell, Northern Ireland coursing clubs had great difficulty finding hares, even in the areas where their ‘conservation efforts’ were being made. The negative impact coursing has on the welfare of hares far outweighs any perceived benefits to conservation.”

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Parliamentary Briefing – February

Our monthly Parliamentary Briefing for February has been published. Topics include:
  • A new look for the League
  • Keep Cruelty History campaign
  • Debunking the hunters’ arguments
  • Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations
  • Majority of MLAs back a ban on snares
  • Scottish Parliament considers snaring petition
  • “Rock solid” support for Hunting Act as it reaches fifth anniversary

The Briefing is sent to all MPs, Peers, PPCs, AMs, MLAs and MSPs.

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NI environment officials urged to use new Bill to protect animals

The League is urging the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment to use the new Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill to upgrade the protection status of the Irish hare and to make the manufacture, sale and use of snares illegal.

Responding to a consultation on the Bill the League has outlined the threat facing the Irish hare if it is not afforded full permanent protection which is possible within the scope of the new legislation. It has also put forward evidence arguing that the negative impact of snaring on the welfare of animals far outweighs any justification for their continued use.

NI Campaigner Mary Friel said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Bill process and to work with the Department on these issues. We hope our concerns will be given serious consideration and the Department will use the new Bill to implement legislation to prevent animal suffering and improve conservation”.

Download our Consultation Response from our website.

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A positive day in Northern Ireland

Yesterday, the League’s Chief Executive, Douglas Batchelor, led a party from the League Against Cruel Sports to the Stormont assembly to give evidence to a committee there on why the manufacture, sale and use of snares should be ended.

Douglas reports back that the mood was upbeat and, whilst it’s clear that we are a long way from a straight victory, Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly are clearly open – as MSPs have been in Scotland – to exploring ways in which needless animal suffering in snares can be brought to an end.

We will keep supporters updated of developments. In the meantime, you can watch some of the news coverage here, here and here.

Whilst Douglas and team were in Belfast, other staff were busy in Westminster yesterday. We met with seven MPs, all committed to keeping the Hunting Act on the statute book and doing all they can to ensure we Keep Cruelty History. From that meeting we went to another meeting, this time with government officials, working equally hard to uphold and enforce the Hunting Act, which approaches its fifth birthday later this month.

A productive and promising day, all around.

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Image of the Day – 82

Today’s image is of a very lucky cat. How, you may ask, is it lucky, when it’s obviously been caught in a snare. The answer’s simple: it has been discovered in the snare, alive, and so it will survive. The reality for tens of thousands of other animals is far from the same.

Our Chief Executive is today addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont, putting forward our clear case for the manufacture, sale and use of these horrific devices to be made illegal. The UK is one of only five countries in the EU to still permit this barbaric practice.

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New figures show political will to end snaring in Northern Ireland

The League Against Cruel Sports has today released new figures showing overwhelming support among Northern Irish politicians to make the use of animal snares illegal. The research carried out by Stratagem in conjunction with ComRes found that 83 per cent of MLAs questioned thought animal snares should not be a legal form of trapping.

The research was carried out in November and December last year as part of a panel survey and found that across all five main parties the majority of members would support a ban.

Of those questioned, all Alliance Party members agreed that the manufacture, use and sale of animal snares should be illegal. In Sinn Fein and SDLP the figures stood at 91 and 95 per cent respectively while 76 per cent of DUP and 62 per cent of UUP members agreed with an end to the use of snaring.

The new figures are released on the same day the League Against Cruel Sports will give a presentation to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee arguing the case for an end to snaring in Northern Ireland. The League’s Chief Executive Douglas Batchelor will give evidence to the committee tomorrow showing the extent of animal suffering due to the inherently cruel and indiscriminate nature of a snare.

Mr Batchelor said: “In drafting the new animal welfare legislation Northern Ireland has a unique opportunity not only to end the use of snaring but to set an example to the rest of the UK and Ireland that snares have no place in modern society. The figures released today show the political will is there to make these cruel traps illegal and we hope those with the legislative power will make the right decision on this issue.

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Snaring update from Scotland and Northern Ireland

Our staff in Scotland and Northern Ireland have had an exceptionally good week.

North of the border, our campaigns have focused for quite some time on a ban on snaring. Together with Advocates for Animals, we put a petition to the Scottish Parliament almost two years ago and this week, the Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP was called before the Committee to answer questions.

You can watch her performance on the Holyrood TV service. Sadly her answers were less than convincing, and in the face of some determined questioning, she failed to explain the Scottish Government’s reasons for not pursuing a ban. Our campaign continues.

Over in Northern Ireland, we have been delighted by some ComRes polling results which show massive – over 80% – support amongst Members of the NI Assembly for a ban on snares. The Ulster Unionist Party said that “unnecessary suffering must be prevented” following the second stage of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill at Stormont.

The snaring campaign in Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue apace. Perhaps one of these countries will lead the rest of the UK by grasping the opportunity for an enormous step forward for animal welfare. We hope so.

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