GOOD NEWS: RNLI rejects hunting money

The lifeboat charity RNLI has shown its integrity after it rejected money from a fox hunting fundraiser.

Ireland’s Dungarvan Foxhounds’ annual Christmas charity event was due to raise funds for the Helvic and Dungarvan RNLI. The Foxhounds’ supporters club had also stated that the hunt’s New Year’s Eve meet would raise funds for the charity, too. RNLI members were initially due to hold a bucket collection, boosted by cap donations at the meet.

But the Irish Council Against Blood Sports successfully appealed to the charity. It pointed out that the Dungarvan Foxhounds terrorises foxes. The RNLI responded by saying:

“No donation for this event has been received by the charity and members of the fundraising branch will not be holding a bucket collection at the event. The RNLI reserves the right to decline donations that are not in keeping with the purpose and the values of the institution. We will not be accepting any donations from this activity or related activities, now or in the future.
“We are grateful for the continued support we receive from the communities that surround and depend on our lifeboat service.”
In response, Dungarvan Foxhounds stated:
“Regrettably the RNLI HQ have declined our fundraising efforts on New Year’s Eve. So, new plan to be decided in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, the Countryside Alliance’s Gary McCartney moaned that ‘rural’ people are being alienated by the charity:
“It is disappointing that a charity which provides such an important service would turn down donations raised by the rural community taking part in an entirely lawful activity. We sincerely hope the RNLI reconsiders their position, and work with rural people going forward, rather than alienating them”.
Week in, week out, the Countryside Alliance likes to paint a picture that the ‘rural way of life’ is being targeted; that getting sick kicks from tearing up foxes is just a twee countryside hobby. Thankfully, the RNLI – and the vast majority of us – thinks otherwise.

Charities taking a stance

Ban Bloodsports, which campaigns for an end to blood sports in Ireland, pointed out that the RNLI is following in the footsteps of other charities in Ireland. It said:

“The RNLI is the latest charity to say NO to foxhunt fundraisers. Previously, Pieta House [a charity which helps people in suicidal distress] was thanked for rejecting a 2016 “Hunt for Light” hunt fundraiser in Tipperary. A spokesperson commented at the time: “We cannot be seen to have an association with or endorsement of bloodsports, and so we feel it would be inappropriate for us to benefit from or to be associated with a hunt. People across Ireland are so incredibly supportive of Pieta House, but in some cases – such as this one – the manner of the fundraiser is incompatible.”

Ban Bloodsports continued:

“The Hope Foundation also responded positively to an ICABS appeal and said no to a fundraiser organised by a hunt in Cork. The charity which works to help street and slum children in India told ICABS that it had contacted the organisers of the fundraiser to say “we do not wish to have this fundraiser carried out in the name of HOPE.””

Image BanBloodsports

Setting an example

It would have been ironic if the RNLI had accepted money raised from murdering foxes, while using that same money to save human lives at sea. Indeed, wildlife personality Chris Packham said on social media:

.“Top work by the RNLI, a charity dedicated to saving lives – not wasting them. Maybe offer your blood money to the weapons industry?”

It takes integrity to turn down much-needed funds, and it takes guts to stand up to the hunting industry and its bullying supporters. The RNLI is setting a much-needed example to others who might be tempted to accept donations from blood sports organisations.

  • Fox hunting is, devastatingly, still legal in Ireland. But as big-name charities such as the RNLI, and big-name individuals such as Chris Packham, make their positions clear, this will inevitably force Ireland into a debate on the legalities of hunting with dogs.