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Letters to the Editor: Pheasant shoots must cease due to bird flu

January 2nd, 2023 8:00 AM

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EDITOR – With confirmed outbreaks of bird flu in Ireland it’s vital that we down all driven pheasant shoots. These birds are reared in captivity and then released into the path of stationary guns to be blasted.

The so-called sport is extremely cruel. The hand-reared pheasants have become so tame by the day of a shoot that many of them waddle trustingly up to their killers, who can shoot them at virtually point blank range.

These harmless birds, widely admired for their grace and multi plumed grandeur, are riddled with lead shot and turned into blood-spattered carcasses just to amuse squads of rich thrill-seekers who see this crass behaviour as a test of marksmanship.

But the pheasants have as about much of a sporting chance against their opponents as farmyard hens would have against an M-60 machine gun.

If farmers are expected to lock up their poultry, it is inconceivable that the pheasant shoots should be allowed to continue.  There’s an obvious risk that birds already diseased could be released to infect others, domestic or wild, or that a few birds could easily spread the disease far and wide, devastating the entire rural economy.

Far too often the blood sport fraternity has been able to flex its political muscle to avoid the restrictions imposed on other sectors in disease control clampdowns. We saw this in 2019 when coursing clubs were able to pressure the government into lifting a ban on hare netting despite the presence of the deadly RHD2 virus that was killing hares across Ireland.

The restrictions imposed on poultry farming in response to bird flu will have little value or impact if the pheasant shoots are not forced to cease their cruel, reckless, and potentially catastrophic activities.

John Fitzgerald,

Callan,

Co Kilkenny.

Don’t ignore symptoms of breathlessness

EDITOR  – World COPD Day (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) recently took place. COPD is perhaps more well known to people as emphysema or bronchitis.

It is hard to believe but, of the 380,000 people estimated to have the disease in Ireland, more than two-thirds of these do not know that they have it.

It’s probably not surprising, then, that, according to the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System, between 2019 and 2021, COPD was a cause of 3,087 hospital admissions of people from Cork.

Because smoking is the major risk factor in causing COPD, people can sometimes rush to judge those who are diagnosed.But smoking is an addiction and we shouldn’t stigmatise people who also may not have had full information when they started smoking many years ago.

Equally, there are other risk factors for COPD which include exposure to second-hand smoke, inhalation of dusts, chemicals and fumes, living with an existing condition such as chronic asthma, and having a family history of certain lung-related illnesses.

At COPD Support Ireland, we are encouraging people to get to know the ABC of COPD.

A is for those Age 35 and over. B is for ongoing Breathlessness. And C is for a Cough that won’t go away, with or without phlegm.

So, if you have ongoing symptoms of breathlessness and cough, and are over 35 years, then I would urge you to see your GP for a spirometry breathing test.

To mark World COPD Day, COPD Support Ireland has launched a series of expert videos on various aspects of life with the condition. These videos, and details of your nearest COPD support group, can now be found at www.copd.ie

Remember, early detection of COPD is vital.

It could make all the difference for a life lived to the full.

Joan Johnston,

COPD Support Ireland,

Sandyford, Dublin 18.

Feet on street needed over the cost of living

EDITOR – Most people will be feeling the pinch due to the cost of living this Christmas.

The cost of living crisis has stretched these household budgets to the limits. This can force parents and others to look for short term loans which can be very expensive or even seek out loan sharks who charge up to 40% profit. These are options that can put people into a downward spiral of crippling debt.

Sinn Féin has been inundated with calls from people who are struggling to make ends meet, which is why we have cost of living protests throughout the country and future protests are planned for the future and we believe these gatherings will send a clear message to this government and bring a little hope to the people we represent and outline how we got into this mess and start a road map to recovery.

New prices on the tolls proposed for January is like an extra road tax along with the high cost of fuel and will cost the hauliers  an extra €30k a year and we need feet on the street to get our message heard.

Noel Harrington,

Kinsale.

Getting much harder to secure parking permits

EDITOR – Recently it was reported an applicant waited eight weeks for a Cork City Council parking permit.

It seems that some public servants responsible for issue of these permits are intent on making applications more and more difficult.

I recently heard from an applicant for a vehicle parking permit that,  having provided  a copy of their house insurance, they were then asked to provide a list of house contents insured.

What does a list of house contents have to do with a vehicle parking permit?

Michael A Moriarty,

Rochestown, Cork.

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