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Animal Defenders of Westchester
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Stop Hunting

Why are priests hunting?

From: "Irish Council Against Blood Sports" [email protected]  

SOURCE: Animal Voice: January 2005

Another hunting priest is exposed

Yet another priest has been exposed as being involved in blood sports.

According to the Irish Field newspaper dated 25th December 2004, a  priest in Co Wexford mounts a horse and goes hunting with the Killinick  Harriers twice every week. Harrier hunting involves chasing and killing  foxes and hares; when the unfortunate animals are caught, the hunt's  pack of hounds tear them apart.

The report had the following to say about the hunting priest. "Fr David  Murphy of Cahoreigh Parish deliberated before take-off, casting his eyes  up to the sky, presumably looking for divine inspiration. He only  started hunting seven years ago. Consequently there are no ceremonies on  Mondays or Thursdays, the days the Killinicks hunt."

Outlining the day's hunting (which was also attended by Wexford  footballer, Redmond Barry), particular reference is made to the chasing  of a fox which was sent running for its life from a covert: "hounds  found a fox that ran on by Dermot Days, running on to Jim Powers of  Thornville, [then] ran on to Mattie O'Briens and through Pat Esmonds,  where he turned again at Ringaheen, as if to retrace his steps back to  Silversprings. Whips were spread out as hounds split and were hunting hard."

This is the latest in a long line of members of the clergy who defend or  are involved in blood sport cruelty. In recent years, ICABS has   highlighted:

- A Catholic bishop in Co Galway who allowed the Galway Blazers foxhunt  access to his 70-acre farm.

- An Anglican bishop in Limerick who claimed that "not much suffering is  involved" in bullfighting.

- A priest in Meath who plugged the controversial Ward Union carted  deer hunt on national television.

- Priests in Limerick, Waterford, Kilkenny, etc blessing packs of foxhounds before the start of hunts. This involves reading prayers from  a bible and shaking holy water over the dogs.

- Priests around the country participating in hunting and coursing

- A priest in County Clare acting as chaplain to the County Clare Foxhounds.

- A Cork-based priest whose greyhound won in the national coursing   finals in Clonmel and who described his involvement in coursing as being  "well intentioned".

Although acknowledging that most members of the clergy are compassionate  and would condemn cruelty, ICABS will be expressing its disgust once  again to the Catholic Communications Office that any priest would find  it appropriate to take pleasure in terrorising and killing wildlife.  Please join us by following the action items below.


Please contact the Catholic Communications Office and request a   clarification of the Catholic Church's policy regarding members of the  clergy partaking in blood sport activities in Ireland. Ask why priests  are being permitted to act contrary to the Catholic Catechism by  involving themselves with coursing and hunt clubs. The Director,  Catholic Communications Office, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co  Kildare. Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3000 Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6413 Email: [email protected]  

Sample Letter

(If possible, please write your own original letter. Be assertive, but  polite, in all correspondence).

Dear Sir,

According to paragraph 2418 of the new Catholic Catechism: "It is   contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly."

With this in mind, I wish to express my disappointment that members of  the Catholic clergy in Ireland are continuing to partake in blood sport  activities like foxhunting and hare coursing. Reports in recent months  have confirmed that priests are still hunting with foxhunts and  attending hare coursing meetings.

Such priests ought to be setting a good example to their parishioners  and not giving their approval to acts of animal abuse.

I call on the  Catholic Church to address this issue immediately and to compel all  members of the clergy in Ireland to disassociate themselves from hunting  and coursing.

Thank you. I would be grateful if you would acknowledge my correspondence and I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours faithfully,



Please contact the following and ask why a member of the local clergy is  being allowed to take part in an activity which involves the   terrorisation and killing of wildlife. Appeal to them to ensure that a  respect for all living creatures is promoted.

Most Rev Éamonn Walsh DD
Apostolic Administrator
Bishop's House
Tel: 053-22177
Fax 053-23436

Fr John Carroll
Diocesan Secretary
Tel: +353 (0)53-24368
Fax: +353 (0)53-23436
Email: [email protected]  

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