Sunday 21 April 2019

Stag hunting was never our culture

Stag hunting fans claimed at their indoor rally earlier this week that their sport was fair and humane and an essential part of Irish tradition; and they asked why the only hunt in Ireland that didn't aim to kill its quarry was being singled out for abolition.

I can't think of anything less sporting than setting a pack of hounds after a stag and forcing it to run for miles in terror and desperation. The very obvious fear in its bulging eyes after the end of a hunt, its stressful condition, and the blood seeping from its numerous wounds inflicted by brambles, thorns, and strands of barbed wire along the route, surely underline the decidedly unsporting nature of stag hunting.

And carted stag hunting is hardly an integral part of Irish culture given that it only took off about 150 years ago in Ireland.

Perhaps the stag hunters would not feel so hard done by if their pals in the fox and hare hunts, and the coursing clubs, also faced abolition? Personally, I would welcome such a blanket ban on recreational cruelty to animals dressed up as sport.

John Fitzgerald

Irish Independent

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