Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 01 July, 1999
Written Answers. - Animal Welfare.
Mr. Gregory Mr. Gregory
44. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food his response to reports of cruel practices at a fox hunt organised by a group (details supplied) in County Galway; and the action, if any, he is taking in the matter. [16562/99]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): While no specific complaint has been received by my Department or, I understand, the Hunting Association of Ireland, I am aware from media reports that allegations have been made against a Galway group and I understand inquiries are being made by the HAI, which encompasses the bodies to which the group belongs. The HAI has introduced rules and procedures which cover in particular fox-hunting practices such as digging out, bolting and earthstopping. Any person with evidence of breaches of the rules and procedures should communicate such evidence to the HAI.
The Protection of Animals Acts, 1911 and 1965, are the principal statutes governing cruelty to animals in this country. This legislation is  enforced by the Garda Síochána, and any person in possession of information on acts of cruelty should contact the gardaí in the matter. The penalties for cruelty under the 1911 Act were increased significantly by legislation in 1996.
The penalties now are 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.
This represented a major recasting of the penalties in that there had previously been no provision for conviction on indictment.
Dáil Éireann 507 Written Answers. Animal Welfare.