Dáil Éireann - Volume 503 - 28 April, 1999

Written Answers. - Stag Hunting.

58. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans, if any, he has to end the practice of carted stag hunting under the Protection of Animals Act, 1911; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11009/99]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): As the Deputy will be aware from the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 443 of 20 April, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, who is responsible for the Wildlife Act, 1976, is examining all aspects of the issue of licences for carted stag hunting on foot of advice received recently from the Attorney General.

The Protection of Animals Act, 1911, and its amending Act of 1965, are the principal statutes governing cruelty to animals, and are enforced by the Garda Síochaná. If any person has reason to believe that there has been an act of cruelty against any animal, the matter should be reported [1621] to the gardaí for any action they consider appropriate. The penalties under the Acts were increased significantly by legislation of 1996 and are now as follows: a fine of up to £1,500 and-or six months imprisonment on summary conviction; a fine of up to £10,000 and-or two years imprisonment on conviction on indictment.

There is no provision in the Act which would facilitate a ministerial ban on stag hunting.