Source : Facebook

Calls for Seanad debate following Noteworthy cockfighting revelations

Senator Annie Hoey called for the debate just hours after Noteworthy revealed the banned bloodsport was taking place in underground matches across Ireland.

By Patricia Devlin

Noteworthy logo with two cocks fighting in the background.

SENATORS HAVE CALLED for an urgent debate on animal cruelty following revelations by Noteworthy that cruel cockfighting is taking place up and down the country.

Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Labour Senator Annie Hoey said evidence uncovered of the barbaric bird fights not only showed a disregard for animal welfare laws but a “disturbing tolerance for cruelty”.

“This is not just a remnant of a cruel past; it is a blatant act of violence that inflicts unnecessary suffering on defenceless creatures for mere entertainment and profit,” she said.

Asking the leader of the House to facilitate a “much-needed and overdue debate” on animal welfare and enforcement, the Labour Senator warned the State needed to “get real” on animal cruelty.

Citing the lack of a designated animal welfare unit and “underfunded” rescue centres, Hoey said “unfettered animal cruelty is going unpunished because our laws are not fit for purpose”.

Annie Hoey speaking in the Seanad during the Order of Business debate. Labour Senator Annie Hoey speaking in the Senad about Noteworthy cockfighting revelations yesterday.
Source: Oireachtas TV

Noteworthy, the crowdfunded community-led investigative platform from The Journal, supports independent and impactful public interest journalism.

Forced to fight to death

Referring to Noteworthy’s investigation, which revealed how illegal matches were happening across Ireland, Hoey said the suffering and stress caused to birds in the banned bouts is “inconceivable”.

“The animals are often drugged, equipped with sharp spurs and forced to fight to the death, resulting in horrific injuries and death,” she told the House.

“This resurgence signals not only a disregard for animal welfare laws but a disturbing tolerance for cruelty. We have to get real about animal welfare in Ireland.”

Hoey, who sits on the agricultural panel in the Upper House, pointed to numerous occasions this year she had raised issues of animal cruelty including pig farming conditions and dog breeding.

“In previous years I raised cruelty in the dairy industry, Dublin Zoo and multiple places and organisations we deem to be not only perfectly acceptable but bastions of Irish life.”

Her remarks were commended independent Senator Rónán Mullen who backed her call for a Senad debate.

“I think our education system is an area where more emphasis needs to be placed on respect for creation and the animal kingdom,” Senator Mullen said.

“We have made a lot of progress over the years in Ireland in this area. It would be terrible if we were to slip backwards.”

Two chickens squaring off with their beaks against each other. Two young chickens prepare to fight in a purpose-built cockpit.
Source: Facebook

Importing of aggressive chicken breeds

Acting Seanad leader Lorraine Clifford-Lee said she was unaware there was a revival in cockfighting. “I do not think I even want to seek out any information on it because it is just so vile.”

She added that a debate on animal cruelty would be fitting and suggested the House could look at a cross-party Private Members’ Bill.

Calls for the debate came just hours after publication of a Noteworthy investigation revealing how Ireland has seen an underground resurgence of the banned bloodsport.

A significant number of younger males appear to be involved in the organised bird fights, with Noteworthy obtaining footage showing brutal battles being held in backyards, as well as purpose built ‘cockpits’ where some birds fight until collapse.

Those involved in the sadistic sport range in ages and backgrounds, and include animal breeders, a member of the Irish Defence Forces and a foreign government official based in Ireland, the investigation revealed.

The illegal matches have become so competitive that punters – who gamble huge amounts of cash on the brutal bouts – are paying to import more aggressive breeds from as far away as Pakistan.

Read the full investigation here >> 


Noteworthy logo with fighting cock in the background.

By Patricia Devlin of Noteworthy

Noteworthy is the crowdfunded investigative journalism platform from The Journal. Our work to expose cockfighting was funded in its entirety by our investigative fund. Please consider contributing here:

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