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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 4 November 2020

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Questions (161)

Joan Collins


161. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if foxhunting with hounds and all related activities have been stopped during level 5 restrictions; and if a ban will be introduced due to the cruelty to foxes and the public health concerns associated with large groups of hunters gathering and traversing the countryside. [34036/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Government has issued a list which is available on which sets out, among others things, guidance/direction as to purposes for essential travel (beyond 5Km), essential retail outlets, essential services, essential wholesale and retail trade and support activities which is available here: Fox hunting with hounds does not appear on this list.

On the general matter of hunting, the Deputy will be aware that detailed debate was held around the issue during the passage of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the Dail voted overwhelmingly to allow the continuation of fox hunting in accordance with an appropriate Code of Conduct. The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 specifically prohibits the hunting of animals which have been released in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition.

The Act also allows for the establishment of codes of practice and for the adoption of codes published by other persons for the purposes of providing practical guidance relating to any aspect of the Act, including fox hunting. Voluntary codes of practice have been established by The Hunting Association of Ireland which detail the conduct to be adhered to in respect of the hunting of foxes and the treatment of the animal during the hunt. The Code prohibits the hunting of foxes where the animal is injured and advocates the humane disposal of a fox when captured. The code also takes into account local concerns and the concerns of the landowner(s) on whose land hunting takes place.

My Department has no plans to change the existing legislation.