While our wildlife was struggling to survive in recent Siberian conditions, it was "sport" as usual for the country's foxhunts whose terrorization and killing continued.
The activities of one was outlined in a disturbing Farmers' Journal hunting report. Sixteen mounted followers of the Westmeath hunt, along with 29 hounds, found a fox that was caught and "chopped."
Later on, another fox was "overhauled before he managed to put any distance between himself and them."
Both "chopped" and "overhauled," in hunting terminology, mean that the fox was caught by the hounds and brutally killed.
One can only imagine the gruesome scenes of suffering as these foxes were attacked, torn apart and disemboweled by the pack.
The fox which was chopped was, no doubt, a disappointment to the hunters as it was immediately caught on sight and failed to give the followers a run for their money.
Hunters claim that it's the thrill of the chase, and not the kill, that excites them.
But then they should switch to drag hunting which sees the hounds following an artificial scent laid down along a designated route. This guarantees constant movement for the riders and eliminates the element of cruelty.
The majority of Irish people, including country dwellers, value our wildlife and are opposed to the hunting of animals with dogs. We cannot call ourselves a civilized and compassionate nation as long as such barbarity is permitted.
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Co. Westmeath, Ireland
Secrets of ancient Irish charms and spells