The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on the Minister for Arts & Heritage, Heather Humphreys, to reject a licence application for a 2015-16 hare coursing season.
A decision on whether or not to grant the licence is expected in the coming days.
Minister Humphreys has been made aware of the ongoing injuries and deaths of hares in the bloodsport as well as numerous instances of licence breaches last season.
Our “Coursing Cruelty Catalogue” report, submitted to the Minister in May, reveals sickening cruelty – some hares were killed outright by the greyhounds while others later died of their injuries. For example:
At a meeting in Thurles, a hare was suffering a “large injury to the shoulder and front of one of the legs”. At Borrisoleigh, hares died in the paddock before the meeting started and four more died during the meeting.
At the Doon and District meeting, hares were not in good condition with many having sores on their feet. At Nenagh, among the captured hares were two young hares and two heavily pregnant hares.
At Mallow, three hares were struck by greyhounds, one of which was mauled and had to be carried off the field.
Last month, ICABS submitted another report to Minister Humphreys. This detailed breaches of the conditions attached to last year’s licence and comes following an earlier statement from the Minister that further licence breaches would not be tolerated.
In a letter to Minister Humphreys, we outlined that “the 2014-15 breaches include the capture of hares outside the period specified in the licences, failure to cooperate with NPWS personnel, failure to provide particulars of hare captures, the release of hares outside daylight hours, the presentation of inaccurate or incomplete veterinary reports, the failure to carry out post mortems on hares that were killed, etc.
There are also additional suspected breaches relating to the presence of injured and pregnant hares in coursing compounds.”
“Minister, you have previously stated that breaches of licence conditions will not be tolerated,” we stated. “We therefore expect you and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to take the identified licence breaches very seriously by initiating prosecutions against the relevant clubs and excluding them from any further coursing licences.
Given the routine licence breaches, the unenforceability of licence conditions and the ongoing suffering, injury and death caused to hares, we implore you to reject the current licence application for a 2015-16 coursing season.
This would be greatly welcomed by the majority of Irish people who are in favour of a ban on hare coursing.”
The Republic of Ireland is one of the last countries in the world to allow the use of hares as live bait for greyhounds in coursing. It is already illegal in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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