Ireland is clearly identified as a tourist destination where now, at heart, national heritage, animal welfare, Irish traditions and culture can all have a price. We are a welcoming nation but we cannot approve of entertaining this callous and cruel disregard of our endangered living heritage.
Additional commentary: Lauren Ruddell, PhD.(1) Professor Emeritus, University of Utah, USA. Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.
The goal of taking a trophy is to collect the very best specimen that money can buy.
Trophy hunters target the largest and most impressive individuals from a species, which exerts unnatural selection on populations (2) (3). Selectively hunting these individuals can result in reduced body size, earlier sexual maturity, altered dispersal patterns, and changes in physical traits or behaviour (2) (3) (4). Reduction in sexually selected traits can alter mate choice and result in changes in the gene pool and lower quality offspring. Old Irish Goats have a very low birthrate to start with and kid mortality in the first few days of life is high. Hunting pressure can also negatively alter reproduction and life history patterns (5) (6) (7).
Trophy hunting can affect genetic structures and increase the rates of inbreeding, with potentially catastrophic long-term effects on population viability (2) (4) (7) (8). From Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: The European Union’s role in global trophy hunting Import and Export of CITES listed species between 2014 and 2018 (9).
(1) Professor Emeritus, University of Utah, USA. — Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. (2) Allendorf & Hard, 2009. (3) Mysterud, 2011. (4) Allendorf et al.. 2008. (5) Balme et al., 2009. (6) Bischof et al…2018. (7) Frank et al.2020. (8) Naude et al., 2020 (9) From Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: The European Union’s role in global trophy hunting – Import and Export of CITES listed species between 2014 and 2018.
The dead freshly bloodied trophy heads we see pictured with the petition remain hauntingly regal and convey the enormous and irretrievable loss of Irish living heritage by this abject hunter trophy enterprise.
A Goat’s Lament
A poem by Catherine McGeachy
I groaned a gutted gasp As I heaved my last Breath In bloodied solitude Downed in secret hills For mindless pleasure
Stripped of all that is noble Of heritage, history and home I hang In gaunt indignity A once honoured Presence Now ornamental commodity
Yet I, of storied ancestry Who roamed sacred glens Once served My Community With life-preserving Nourishment Preventing death
Where are the heroes of Éireann, Its Guardians of Soul and Soil? Protectors Of Ancient treasures? Rise Up and Rout the Robber Of the Old Irish Goat.
After extensive renovations to the old garda barracks in Mulranny, the Old Irish Goat Society had its official opening with Michael Ring TD. The interpretive Centre and gift shop are now open to the public 7 days a week from 11am to 5 pm.
Further good news was received on Sept 7th when a grant was awarded for the construction of a “Gift of Hands” workshop and showroom for the community-based women who make items for the gift shop out of recycled materials from the Foxford Woollen mills. The current sales area will be available for the Mulranny Environmental group to have educational displays on the rich Biodiversity of the Mulranny area.
Old Irish Goats Return to Howth Head after Century Long Wait
The Old Irish Goat Society has commenced a conservation grazing project, with Old Irish goats, at Howth, in the Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The scheme, which will last for 3 years, is a partnership project with Fingal County Council.
A group of 25 Old Irish Goats, originating from the national herd in Mulranny, Co Mayo, have arrived on Howth Head as the first phase of the project gets underway. The project will utilise traditional methods of management with Mellisa Jeuken, the goat herder. It will also trial, for the first time in Ireland, the Norwegian “No-fence” system which employs GPS tracking.
Up until the 1940s, Howth Head was traditionally grazed by livestock and goats in particular. However, with the decline of traditional grazing, wildfires became more frequent, Gorse and Bracken growth expanded and the diversity and quality of the heathland declined.
This critically endangered, native breed of goat makes its return to the heathlands of Howth Head, after a hiatus of nearly a century. These goats will play an important role in managing growth to reduce fire risk to homes, while also enhancing the biodiversity of the priority heathland habitats. The Old Irish goat has the ability to control the accumulation of gorse, especially after fires and due to their grazing behaviour and efficient digestive systems, adapt to feeding on harsher environments with low nutritive quality heathlands. They effectively offer a more economical and sustainable solution to managing the landscape.
The Craft Shop and visitors centre is open from 11 am to 5 pm daily. Fourteen local contributors and artists have their fine craftwork and art for sale. There is a selection of fibre, textiles, wood, glass and pottery along with prints and cards, all beautifully done.
In the Interpretive Centre you can view a short film on the story of the goats and how the Old Irish Goat Society was able to prove that this goat is indeed a unique indigenous goat breed of Ireland.
The front garden is being prepared to receive a few of this year’s goat kids and the Goat Sanctuary nearby will be open to the public in the summer of 2021.
The shop closes mid-December and opens again in March.