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Shine a spotlight on hunt kennels

The Irish hunting with hounds community is up in arms at the proposal of Environment Minister John Gormley to include hunt kennels under the remit of the Commercial Dog Breeding Establishments statutory instrument which he intends to sign into law shortly.

This statutory instrument allows for the regulation and control of puppy farming in Ireland. One can ask why is the hunt community so vexed at this proposal given that for years we have listened to hunting representatives saying that hunting with hounds has nothing to conceal from scrutiny. Surely they are not trying to create a no-go area for animal welfare inspections within the confines of a hunt kennel?

Hunt kennels are run as animal killing centres. Hounds are bred each year and those who fail to make the hunting grade are put to sleep without a backward glance. For hounds that have come to the end of their hunting career, a few years of loyal service is rewarded with the business end of a needle.

A hunt kennel cannot afford to carry any canine passengers. If a hound is not doing its job of catching and killing foxes it will not survive until its next feeding time.

Life is hard and unforgiving for hunting hounds. It is time hunt kennels and their employees were subject to more statutory control. Let the spotlight of animal welfare shine into the hunt kennels and let us see what goes on behind the horse-and-hound image of hunting.

John Tierney
Campaigns Director
Association of Hunt Saboteurs

Irish Independent