The Green Party’s proposed Animal Health and Welfare Bill has been in the spotlight, specifically the proposal to ban stag hunting, which John Gormley says will be enacted in the near future.
Stag hunting is done purely for human enjoyment. The aim is not to kill the stag say the pro-hunting lobby. However, in fleeing the hunters and the dogs, it becomes exhausted and terrified. Often they are injured during the process, sometimes they die from heart failure before they are captured. Occasionally they cause danger to people by running in front of cars. In one instance, in 2007, a stag ran into a schoolyard in Co. Meath.
Fox hunting is an even more barbaric practice. Ostensibly for the purpose of keeping the numbers of foxes low, the hunters use dogs bred for endurance, not speed, so that the pursuit will last longer. It is a game, not a solution. If fox populations need to be controlled, surely there are more humane ways to do so. When the chase inevitably ends, the fox is simply torn to pieces by the dogs.
One of the arguments put forward in defence of hunting is that it is acceptable because it is a traditional rural pastime.
But defending tradition for tradition’s sake does not progress society. In the past, badger baiting and cockfighting were legal but these practices would now evoke disgust in most people.
In March, a sizeable pro-hunting protest took place at the Green Party conference in Waterford – the arguments of the pro-hunting lobby are bogus and their stance cannot be justified in any respect. In fact, Gormley’s proposed bill doesn’t go far enough. There is no excuse for harming or killing animals in the name of sport in any instance. Socialist Youth says – ban all blood sports now!