CAMPAIGNERS IN FAVOUR of protecting rural sport held a rally last weekend at the Irish Game and Country Fair at Birr Castle.
Rural Ireland Says Enough (RISE) is seeking to have the repeal of the Ward Union Hunt ban honoured.
The campaigners also want firearms licensing addressed and stated that it is monitoring the progress of the animal welfare legislation going through both Houses of the Oireachtas.
The RISE website states that the organisation has been assured that the Animal Health and Welfare Bill will not affect hunting in Ireland but organisations like Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) are pushing for tougher laws to be introduced.
Members of RISE include the National Association of Regional Game Councils, Hunting Association Ireland and Countryside Alliance Ireland.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie David Wilkinson of the Hunting Association Ireland said:
What we are concerned about at the moment is the Animal Welfare Act that is coming down the line. Minister Simon Coveney has committed to us that there will not be any measures in the Act that will prevent hunting in Ireland.
However, the animal rights groups have picked up on this and are lugging hard to have certain activities banned under the act. The demonstration we held at the weekend had a huge turn out – so we are just reminding people that we are still here and will continue to campaign to ensure that the commitment given by government will be upheld.
He added that the amendment stopping the Ward Union hunt “still stands but we are continually looking for that repeal to be upheld”. Mr Wilkinson said:
I am involved in farming and rural development and even in this recession I can see that hunting has a real benefit to the real economy. It also provides a great outlet for young people – it stops them from hanging around and gets them involved in a group sport.