Farmers show opposition to fox and stag hunting
Farmers in County Down attended a meeting to discuss cases of hunt havoc
12:05 Tuesday 12 April 2016
A number of local farmers have attended a meeting in Rathfriland to show their opposition to hunts taking place on their land.
A total of 68 farmers attended the meeting, held by the League Against Cruel Sports on Friday, to discuss cases of hunts affecting land and livestock.
The meeting comes just a few months after Rathfriland farmer Alan Sloane was forced to shoot dead three dogs belonging to a hunt when they threatened his pregnant ewes.
According to the League Against Cruel Sports, a group of farmers organised the meeting to protest at the damage to their land caused by hunts.
The League also said a number of other groups, including those representing farmers, either failed or refused to attend.
These included the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the Countryside Alliance Ireland, NI Master of Hounds and the Department of Agriculture and Rural
Development, all of whom allegedly received invitations before Easter.
Janice Watt from the League Against Cruel Sports said: “It’s clear from the meeting today that many farmers are frustrated by the way the hunts are acting. The majority do not give permission for hunting to take place on their land, yet trespass and damage by huntsmen are all too common.
“Some farmers have told us that after they banned hunts from their land they were threatened and intimidated, which is completely unacceptable.
“21st century farms have no need for fox hunting, as has been made clear today. Claiming that farmers need their assistance was the last argument available to hunters, but today’s conference has proven that it is not true. It is time this barbaric, unnecessary blood-sport was banned in Northern Ireland.”
“Political representatives from most parties attended, including Sean Rodgers (SDLP), Jim Wells (DUP), Patrick Brown (Alliance), Henry Reilly (TUV), Robert Burgess (UUP). The meeting was also attended by the PSNI who provided invaluable advice to everyone who attended.
“Hunting with dogs remains legal in N. Ireland, despite a recent poll showing that only one in five people believe it should be. As part of their Election Manifesto, the League have asked all electoral candidates to pledge to support introducing legislation to ban fox and stag hunting in N. Ireland, which has already be banned in England Scotland and Wales for over 11 years.