POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland?

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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.

Northern Ireland has voted to ban hare coursing, making it the last part of the UK to do so. Photograph: Jon Super/AP

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.

Hare coursing in Ireland. The events – when dogs are set upon a wild hare – were outlawed in the UK by the Hunting Act of 2004 Rex Features

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.

Ian MacNicol / Getty Images – The first day of the Co. Limerick Coursing Club J.P. McManus Irish Cup, an annual meeting where greyhounds course hares with a €80 first prize at stake on Limerick Racecourse at Greenmount, Patrickswell, on Feb. 22, in Limerick, Ireland.

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.”

Police in the north-east are urging rural communities to help them crack down on the illegal killing of hares. With harvest time fast approaching, police are expecting an increase in hare coursing – and are relying on locals to be their eyes and ears.

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.


We invite you to share your opinion, whether hare coursing should be banned in Ireland? Please vote and leave your comments below:

Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland?

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In the event that you voted to ban hare coursing in Ireland, please sign the petitions:

Stop Licensing Cruel Hare Coursing
Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland
Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

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Supertrooper

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John Fitzgerald

Eoin Dillon More garbage. I've seen hares being netted. I know exactly what it involves. Netting is the only the opening phase of the horror to which coursing gangs subject hares for "sport"…and denials are pointless…the footage is there in abundence to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that hare coursing is cruel from first to last…and the video evidence is backed by National Parks and Wildlife Service reports. Hares "well looked after" by coursing clubs? Recently members of a Co Limerick coursing club pleaded guilty in court to snatching hares from a nature reserve in Co Offaly…a huge… Read more »

Stephen Potter

yes ok mr fitzgerald we all know what crap you spout, ask the readers of your local avondue rag,you are the laughing stock of cork which is why you never get any replies to the rubbish you write, only i think you are the only person who believes what you write.

Eoin Dillon

Lurchers don't use muzzle hare coursing does

Eoin Dillon

Lurchers don't use muzzle hare coursing does

Eoin Dillon

Lurchers don't use muzzle hare coursing does

Eoin Dillon

John I invite you to go catching hares with me fail to do so and you must retract what you say 1 in a 100 hares might get caught by dogs and depending how fast people are in to save a hare increases its chances last time a hare broke a bone in my club in coursing was 3-4 yrs ago the hare always has the advantage

John Fitzgerald

Eoin Dillon Coursing clubs do not love hares. They use them as live bait. They set them up to be mauled, terrorised, injured, and to suffer a slow death from stress-related ailments. And they feed unfit hares to greyhounds to "blood" the dogs. I've listened with disgust to coursing fans singing the Irish national anthem before they indulge their sadistic love of animal cruelty at these baiting events. A more apt number would be the theme tune from Deliverence.

Lynda Howarth

Dam right it should there is no need for it

John Fitzgerald

Eoin Dillon

John Fitzgerald

Willie Furlong…coursing clubs do not conserve hares. They capture them for live baiting sessions. Also, they make it easier for poachers by letting them know where hares can be found…on so-called "preserves" that are virtual death traps for hares since everyone knows where they are. Coursing clubs and poachers are equally culpable in targeting the gentle Irish Hare.

John Fitzgerald

Ciaran Farquharson…"Fair treatment"? The hares are snatched from the countryside by marauding gangs, confined in unnatural captivity, they are mauled, their bones are broken, they are tossed about like rag dolls, and the ones that don't make the grade are used to blood the greyhounds while still alive. "Great family sport"??

John Fitzgerald

Wrong Stephen Potter. Muzzled greyhound inflict horrific injuries on hares at ALL coursing events (as video footage and State wildlife ranger reports prove) and UNMUZZLED greyhounds are in used in blooding sessions where the hares are fed LIVE to them to whet their appetite for blood. Blooding is an integral part of the coursing scene in Ireland.

Keil Selby

I dint thibk a drag would replicate the future and excitement to be fair. The unpredictability and individuality of each race would be lost. In my opinion.
No one wants animals to suffer or die, I don't think I've seen any deaths and very few cases where a dog got near a hare. In the rare circumstance where this may happen, are the healthy inoculated hares that are released back not better off for their medical treatment to continue to breed?

John Fitzgerald

Eoin Dillon…Becaus lurcher coursing is cruel doesn't make hare coursing any less cruel. Your argument falls flat. It is incorrect that 99% of hares in coursing are unharmed. Those not visibly injured or killed often die afterwards of stress-related ailments or broken bones. Or in "blooding" sessions that involve trainers feeding them LIVE to dogs. If anything, hare coursing clubs are WORSE than lurcher gangs.

John Fitzgerald

Mary Connolly…wrong. Far from being more healthy when (or if) released following a coursing event, the hares are traumatised and many of them die from a stress-related condition called Capture Myopathy. Those hares may even be the luckier ones. Hares deemed unfit for coursing are fed live to greyhounds in "blooding" sessions. Their legs are tied togother and the animals are then tossed to the dogs. The whole hare coursing business is cruel beyond measure, on a par with dog fighting and badger baiting.

John Fitzgerald

Keil Selby…being terrorised and mauled and pummelled, resulting in broken bones and an agonising death does not amount to fair treatment. Drag coursing, in which a mechanical lure is used, would replicate all the fun and excitement and avoid any suffering for the hares. Using animals as live bait is not sport.

John Fitzgerald

Jim Mellis…I've been to several coursing events and I've seen the horrific cruelty to which the hares subjected. I've listened to the child-like screams of the animals as the dogs mauled them or broke their bones, to a chorus of cheering and laughter from the well dressed fans who swigged whiskey or hot soup from their flasks. I've seen the "dispatchers" who finish off injured or dying hares with amateur karate chops. And I've seen the warning, printed in large block lettering inside the coursing field: "Unauthorised photography strictly prohibited". I've seen people who ventured in to take pictures of… Read more »

John Fitzgerald

"welfare of animals well catered for" in coursing Aiden Nicoll? So the hares enjoy being mauled, forcibly struck, pinned to the ground, and tossed into the air like broken toys…or being netted for baiting…or being fed live to greyhounds in "blooding" sessions. And you call the people who do this "animal lovers"…

John Fitzgerald

Pathetic Sid…coursing clubs don't want lurcher gangs to hunt hares. Why? Because they want to terrorise and torture those same hares themselves. They hardly deserve credit for that.

John Fitzgerald

A very weak defence of hare coursing Yvonne. Both hare coursing and lurcher coursing are cruel. The two sets of animal cruelty fans should occupy the same prison cell. They deserve each other.

Namrata Kumar

This is totally a mind of a sick person. Humans have lost it

Peter Farrell

Tara your entitles to your opinion that's fair enough. Denise please don't slander me by stating I'm an animal abuser, you know nothing about me or what I do…and Dawn, you seem quite a classy type, real mature.

Sandra Doyle

Yes !!!! of course it should be its a cruel and Redneck' act for these days pitting animal against animal Cop on Humans'' !!!! Ban It !!!

Denise Gerrard

You are typical of animal abusers think animals are there for you to abuse and torture for man's immusement and financial gain

Fiona Gammell

To think that it should not be banned is beyond belief, it should have been banned years ago, along with all the other so called 'sports' that terrorise innocent animals and destroy our countryside and our eco-system.

Dorothy Murray

I am Irish and I think this is disgusting get it stopped now.

BG Kreativ

Thats very cruelty!

Francelle Backstrom

I meant no to this so called sport!

Francelle Backstrom

Nooooooo

Dawn Wall Ne Speed

get a life you retard… your just using it as excuse to get off one.. bet you get a missive hard on dont you watchin them …

Dawn Wall Ne Speed

next step to being a physchopath…..

Dick Glasgow

Come on Ireland, drag yourselves out of the dark ages & ban this form of animal abuse.

Eoin Dillon

Tara do you know what happens to hares anyway in my club they get vaccinated for any illness nails are clipped to prevent them from breaking and causing infection and with regards all yr round we do the farmers keep the lurchers out and the vermin control down and because of the care we've giving them and looking after them we have once caught hares that we've caught 2-3 yrs before hand hares get better treatment off coursing clubs than trocaire give to ppl in Africa

Tara Ni Briain

Because fox hunting rules were changed perhaps? Coursing isn't some magical hide away keeping hares safe all year around.

Tara Ni Briain

Because fox hunting rules were changed perhaps? Coursing isn't some magical hide away keeping hares safe all year around.

Tara Ni Briain

I was told they don't run again, that's why they are tagged?

Tara Ni Briain

You mean foxes, not wild dogs? That's survival not entertainment.

Tara Ni Briain

That's not what happens in other countries. Ye don't look out for them all year around do ye?

Tara Ni Briain

Yes they should be banned too if animals are loosing their lives for entertainment purposes. Anyway, greyhounds and horses are domestic animals, hares are wild creatures who don't belong to anyone and shouldn't be in captivity. It's different, that's why other countries ban it.

Jackie Mary

Discusting vile and abhorrent cruelty inflicted on an innocent animal. What kind of image does this give out to the world of Ireland. Politicians do the right thing for once and ban this and stand up to the physopaths that think this is a sport. There is votes in animal welfare and it is time that people engaging in this type of sport know this. The laws will be changed in this country it is only a matter of time.

Florence Ticknor

Simon Tucker, that was my first thought also when i was reading this,

Joshua Dyson

Human sport and entertainment should not include the terror, suffering and endangerment of unwilling participants as an inherent feature. The Irish hare needs our protection. Human cruelty and bloodlust should be discouraged. Please say YES to banning Hare Coursing … and make life better for hares and humanity.

Joshua Dyson

Human sport and entertainment should not include the terror, suffering and endangerment of unwilling participants as an inherent feature. The Irish hare needs our protection. Human cruelty and bloodlust should be discouraged. Please say YES to banning Hare Coursing … and make life better for hares and humanity.

Julie Arsenault

IMMEDIATELY! Let humans run after each other! Stupid and cruel 🙁

Evert Wout Por

Only primitieve likes this, it's a shame for Ireland……

Maggie Attenborrow

The taking of life, animal or human is morally wrong, and I cannot support any institution, government or person who thinks otherwise.

Fifi LaRue

YES, it should be banned!

Caroline Duffy

It's unnessary and cruel

Rick Mohamed

Is Ireland the new middle east? Why in 2015 so called civilized people would want to engage in this barbarism. I guess Christianity is dead in that country because these people are in bed with the devil.

Lorraine Baxter

Animals feel fear just like we do and yet some people still think this is entertaining. I am ashamed of some of the human race…..wake up and stop being so selfish!