West Cork badgers snared for illegal and cruel ‘sport’

Posted on: 9th February, 2015

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

When Peg the beagle uncharacteristically went missing near Clonakilty last month, her owner knew something was amiss, as it was dinnertime. Calling local vets and animal shelters, Peg’s owner went through all the possible reasons for her disappearance, including being hit by a car and dogknappers; what she hadn’t dreamed could be the culprit was an illegal badger snare – a very real but very hidden danger in West Cork.

Thankfully, after six hours of searching nearby fields by torchlight, Peg was found in a snare, freezing cold and very distressed but with only superficial injuries. This type of snare is designed to not kill the badger but to trap it.

When traps are legally laid under licence from the Department of Agriculture, where there is a known TB infection in a cattle herd, they should be checked daily and the badgers then humanely killed.

However the trap that Peg was caught in — one of six found the next day in the immediate area — seems to have not been placed by the Department, and more worryingly, the landowner had no knowledge of its existence. The suspicion now is that the traps had in fact been laid to catch badgers for use in ‘Badger Baiting’, a sickeningly cruel and illegal ‘sport’ where badgers and dogs fight for ‘entertainment’.

When attacked, badgers become extremely defensive; their sharp claws and dangerous bite are capable of severely injuring the dogs that are pitted against them by humans. The fact that the badger is a strong animal with the stamina to keep fighting for its life is an ‘exciting gamble’ for the people involved in this cruel practice.

Usually before the fight, the badger has been harmed one way or another. His jaw or legs may be broken with a shovel or his tail staked to the ground to limit his ability to escape. He is forced into a pit or baiting arena where one or more dogs are released and continuously harass the badger. The fight ends when the badger can no longer fight back — which can be hours — and is then killed. The fight between the dogs and badger is vicious and both suffer from injuries. The injured dogs cannot be taken to a vet, who would report the owners to the Gardai, and so they are left to suffer in horrendous pain. Although they may lose their dog, badger baiters can make good money off people who are willing to make a bet on the outcome.

Like the owner of the fields where Peg was found, many farmers in West Cork have no idea that snares are being laid on their land. As well as potentially causing damage to the legs and hoofs of livestock, badgers caught without a farmer’s knowledge can actually leave the farm open to a TB infection.

When a badger is sick, other badgers in its sett drive it out. The sick animal then looks for a new home. When healthy animals are removed from farmland by these snares, the land is then left open for an infected animal to move in.

What can farmers do to help hinder this practice? Check your land for snares, particularly areas that are not in use at present. Made from 5mm galvanised wire, held in place by a stake driven deep into the ground, these snares are usually laid in hedgerows and scrub, with the noose propped up by a forked stick or a branch of gorse. It is quite easy at this time of year to spot them with the lack of leaf growth. When you find one, activate the snare with a sturdy stick before pulling up the stake and removing the snare. Keep checking the area, as there are likely to be more than one.

Laying these snares is a breach of Section 44 of the Wildlife Act, which makes it an offence for any person who is not the owner or occupier of land to carry onto that land, without permission, any instrument or device capable of being used for hunting a wild animal. Notify your local Garda Station and the Department of Agriculture with the details of where you found them.

It is unlikely that the snares will be laid again once the perpetrators realise that an area is being watched. By reducing the opportunity to lay snares you can contribute in a small way to helping the fight by Gardai and the ISPCA against this inhuman activity.

And remember, if your pet goes missing, check the locality for snares. Peg would not have survived the bitterly cold night if she had not been found in time.

West Cork People would like to thank to An Garda Siochana, the Department of Agriculture and local vets for information for this article.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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