Animal Voice - Stop Hare Coursing Edition
Campaign newsletter of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports

In This Issue:

01. Cancelled: protest against coursing
02. Keep coursing out of sports coverage: Appeal to RTE
03. Success: Failte Ireland removes blood sports content
04. No more coursing licences: Join our appeal to Minister John Gormley
05. Irish Coursing Club's future in doubt
06. Ask your local TD to back ban on coursing
07. Seven arrested over hare coursing
08. Kilkenny People connected to hare coursing event
09. Boylesports sponsoring coursing
10. Greyhound suffers broken bone at coursing meeting
11. Letters to Editors
12. Encourage N.I. Minister to permanently protect NI hares
13. ICABS responds to columnist's pro-hunt remarks
14. Petitions
15. Keep coursers off your land

01. Cancelled: protest against coursing

Due to poor weather conditions, the protest against coursing in Clonmel has been cancelled. Please keep an eye on the ICABS website and newsletter for details of a future protest against coursing. Thank you to everyone who was so supportive of the protest; we look forward to seeing you at our next event.

We still need your help in our campaign against this cruel blood sport. Please respond to all of the action alerts below and make your voice heard in the growing calls for coursing to be banned in Ireland.

02. Keep coursing out of sports coverage: Appeal to RTE

On 6th February 2008, RTE Radio included a report from the national coursing finals in its sports coverage. Please join our appeal to the station to keep animal cruelty out of its sports reports in 2009.


RTE Radio
Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Tel: Radio Sports 01-2082204, TV Sports 01-2082008, RTE Front Desk 01-208 3111. Fax: 01 208 3080.

Dear RTE,

I am one of the majority of Irish people who are opposed to the cruel blood sport of hare coursing. Last February 6th, RTE Radio included a report on this cruelty in its sports coverage. I find this totally unacceptable. Coursing should never be classified as a sport by your station - it is one of Ireland's worst forms of animal cruelty, causing horrific injuries and death to the Irish Hare.

RTE - Please keep cruelty out of your sports reports and instead produce an expose of the suffering caused to the Irish Hare by coursers!

Thank you. Yours faithfully,


03. Success: Failte Ireland removes blood sports content

Further to an appeal from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, Failte Ireland has removed references to foxhunting and hare coursing from its Discover Ireland website.

In an email from Failte Ireland, CEO Shaun Quinn stated: "I note your concerns about those aspects of our website content relating to field sports and I'm grateful that you have brought them to my attention. Failte Ireland's stated position is that it will not actively promote field sports and in this instance it transpires that there was a lack of familiarity with this position amongst some of our new regionally based website content editors. Failte Ireland has now moved to make the relevant staff aware of its corporate stance on this matter and has asked that the relevant content is removed immediately."

ICABS is grateful to Failte Ireland for its positive response to our appeal and for maintaining its stance on activities involving cruelty to animals. Thank you to everyone who joined us in our appeal to Failte Ireland.

If you are planning a home holiday in Ireland or travelling to Ireland from abroad, please visit Failte Ireland's websites at:, and

Please become a supporter of ICABS

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports relies entirely on your generosity to continue our campaigning for an end to blood sport cruelty. Please become a supporter of ICABS today. Annual rates are just 15 Euro (Individual), 20 Euro (Family) and 8 Euro (Unwaged).

Download a subscription form at and send a cheque (made payable to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports) to ICABS, PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. You can also become a supporter or make a donation by using your paypal account or credit card. Please visit and click on the "Shop" button. Thank you.

04. No more coursing licences: Join our appeal to Minister John Gormley

As the 2008-09 coursing season enters its final weeks, it leaves behind a long trail of suffering and death. In just the first three weeks of the season, at least 22 hares were confirmed dead. There has undoubtedly been many more casualties, not to mention the injuries sustained by hares and the life-threatening stress endured during their capture and their time in captivity (up to three months or more).

This coursing season has been made possible thanks to a licence granted by Minister John Gormley (Green Party) who greenlighted another season of cruelty despite impassioned pleas from ICABS and you, our loyal supporters.

The licence was given at a time when fears for the future of the hare were confirmed in a report launched by Minister Gormley himself.

It was granted at a time when the Northern Irish Environment Minister had extended a ban on the activity in that jurisdiction.

The licence dismisses the humane alternative of drag coursing which is perfectly viable in Ireland, given its success in Australia, USA and the UK. It is also contrary to the Green Party's anti-blood sports policy and pre-election promise that blood sports would be stopped here.

Finally, the licence totally disregards the majority view in Ireland that coursing is a cruel form of animal cruelty that must be banned.

Many of you have already contacted Minister Gormley on this issue (and on his licensing of the Ward Union, badger snaring, his declaration of an open shooting season on the muntjac deer, the deplorable use of lamping to kill deer by his NPWS department, etc) but we ask you to please contact his office again this week. Please use the sample letter below, compose your own letter or simply send "Minister Gormley - No more coursing licences" to

Email a copy of your letter to:;;;;;;;
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.


Dear Minister Gormley,

The 2008-09 coursing season which you licensed is entering its final weeks with a trail of animal suffering in its wake. I wish to register my total opposition to your licensing of this animal cruelty and implore you to refuse any further licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

I understand that you have also granted a season extension to the coursers which allows them to carry out their cruelty on March 1st. I ask you to please revoke this extension and save the Irish Hare from this additional suffering.

Minister, please act in accordance with the Green Party's anti-blood sports policy and on its pre-election promise to end blood sports.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive action for the Irish Hare.

Yours sincerely,


05. Irish Coursing Club's future in doubt

The future of the Irish Coursing Club is in doubt, according to a report in the Irish Examiner on January 31st.

The paper reported that a court ruled that the ICC must pay damages to a developer.

"Greenband Investments sued the ICC to compel it to complete the sale of part of the laneway, stating its Euro 31m retail development would otherwise be in jeopardy. It claimed it made a written agreement with the ICC trustees in March 2008 to buy the lands at Davis Road for a sum of Euro 100,000 and had paid a deposit of Euro10,000," the Examiner outlined. "Greenband claimed the ICC had been aware at all times that the purchase of the lands was part of a larger scheme of development by Greenband."

Quoted in the report, an industry insider claimed the ICC was already in financial difficulty and that if the awarded damages are substantial, "it will have a major effect on the club."

ICABS will be keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure that no taxpayers' money directly or indirectly finds it way to the Irish Coursing Club

You can read the full report on the Irish Examiner's website

06. Ask your local TD to back ban on coursing

Please educate your local TD about the cruelty of coursing and make it known that his or her stance on this issue will affect your future voting decisions.

Please email a link to our coursing video - - to your TD along with the message "I am one of the majority of Irish people who want coursing banned - I urge you to support calls for a coursing ban to be included in the new Animal Health & Welfare Bill.

For the names and contact details of politicians, please visit the Irish Government Website at:

07. Seven arrested over hare coursing

[Sadly, this report relates not to Ireland but to England where hare coursing has already been banned]

The Herts and Essex Observer newspaper has highlighted how seven people have been arrested for alleged hare coursing.

"Three off-road police vehicles and the force helicopter were called into action at 12.24pm yesterday (Tuesday, February 3) following an alert that people were trespassing and illegally poaching on fields near the village," the report detailed. "When officers from Herts Constabulary arrived at the scene the suspects and their four dogs made off towards Thistly Woods before being pursued across the fields. The police chopper was able to locate the men as they attempted to hide in the undergrowth and was able to follow them as all seven raced off on a quad bike. They were eventually captured hiding in an outbuilding."

The Observer quoted Sgt Chris Hunt as followst "Hare coursing has an extremely negative impact on rural communities, damaging private land, ruining livelihoods and ultimately affecting the quality of life for residents. It is important we take action against those responsible and I would ask if anyone knows anything about hare coursing or other illegal poaching then please come forward and let us know."

Our congratulations go to the officers from Herts Constabulary for successfully apprehending those involved in this incident of alleged coursing. They are asking anyone with information about illegal coursing in the Herts area to contact them on 01992 533116 or 0845 33 00 222, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

ICABS urges anyone with information about illegal coursing in Ireland to please contact their local Garda station and urge them to investigate.

We have brought this to the attention of Minister Gormley as part of our appeal to him to banish coursing from Ireland. You can read the full article at

08. Kilkenny People connected to hare coursing event

At the Johnstown/Urlingford coursing meeting in November 2008, one of the events was the Bergin Supermarket Oaks trial stake and Kilkenny People Cup (involving 32 greyhounds chasing hares). Please join our appeal to the Kilkenny People to disassociate from this blood sport. Send the message "Kilkenny People - Disassociate from cruel coursing" to or phone/fax editor Brian Keyes at Tel : 056-7791046, Fax : 056-7723533.

09. Boylesports sponsoring coursing

ICABS was disgusted to learn that Boylesports Bookmakers are continuing to sponsor hare coursing.

Boylesports is just one of a small handful of companies in Ireland who shamelessly sponsor coursing. The "2009 Derby" is one of the events currently listed on the Irish Coursing Club website. ICABS has written to Boylesports saying that "it is regrettable that your company deems it appropriate to help keep this blood sport alive through financial support". Please respond to our action alert below.

(If possible, please modify this letter or write a different one)

Finnabair Industrial Park
Dundalk, Louth
Tel: +353 42 939 3000
Fax: +353 42 939 3167

To whom it concerns:

I wish to express my disgust and disappointment at the sponsorship by Boylesports of live hare coursing.

It is shameful that you are helping to keep a form of animal cruelty alive, particularly as a majority of Irish people want it made illegal.

I hope that you can reconsider your stance on this issue and stop sponsoring coursing.

Yours sincerely,


10. Greyhound suffers broken bone at coursing meeting

It's not just the hares that suffer during coursing meetings. Over the years, ICABS has highlighted how greyhounds also sustain broken bones and other injuries.

The latest victim is revealed in today's Irish Independent (February 04 2009) which reports that "the new favourite for the Derby then was the Pa Fitzgerald and Patsy Byrne-owned Coolcastle Point ... However it was confirmed later in the evening that he had sustained a serious injury and will not be a runner today ... Fitzgerald reported that Coolcastle had broken a metatarsal bone in a hind leg."

11. Letters to Editors

End savagery of hare coursing
Irish Independent - January 27 2009
by John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny

Next week's so-called National Coursing Meeting will again, as in previous years, showcase one of the world's most cruel and indefensible blood sports.

It will not, of course, show hare coursing at its worst -- part of the objective of this marathon festival of cruelty being to display the alleged 'sporting' merits of the practice.

But the truth about hare coursing should not be forgotten or brushed aside amid the fanfare of excitement, gambling, and much-trumpeted 'winter tourism' generated by this event. The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) promotes the ludicrous notion that the 'sport' is natural, in perfect harmony with the laws of nature. Yet from the moment the hare is captured, all respect for the natural order in the countryside is cast aside.

It is completely unnatural for this wild animal to be confined in a paddock with other hares in preparation for a baiting event, even more so given that it is a solitary creature.

Many hares die in coursing compounds from a condition known as stress myopathy.

It is utterly against a hare's nature to run in a human-induced panic in a confined space (the coursing venue).

Despite muzzling, hares continue to be mauled and injured.

Heedless of the barbarism that is hare coursing, our Government still supports this deliberate cruelty to animals, exempting it from animal protection laws.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen is one of its most enthusiastic backers. And Fianna Fail prevents the Green Party from implementing its pre-election pledge to ban hare coursing.

The poet William Blake wrote: "Each outcry of a wounded hare/a fibre from the brain does tear."

I wonder what he would have thought of our 'National Coursing Meeting'. I suspect he would have been at one with the late Tony Gregory in denouncing it from the rooftops.

It will be a great day for animal protection when the ghoulish coursing clubs are taken out of the equation and the humble Irish hare is allowed to run free in our countryside. Meanwhile, the savagery continues.

12. Encourage N.I. Minister to permanently protect NI hares

(Source: The Irish Hare Initiative)

Temporary protection orders for the Irish Hare in Northern Ireland have been in place since 2002, effectively providing crucial year-round protection. The current order is in place until the end of March 2009 and although Irish hares in Northern Ireland are protected until September 2009, beyond that their future is uncertain.

Permanent protection in legislation would save money as well as hares. Every year it costs the taxpayer around 33,000 to renew the Temporary Protection Order - about 231,000 so far. The cost of annual surveys and other research to establish the Irish hare's status now totals 426,000. The total bill now exceeds 850,000 and the continuing cost is expected to be at least around 63,000 per annum.

Email "Please give permanent legal protection to the Irish Hare" to Northern Ireland's Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson -

13. ICABS responds to columnist's pro-hunt remarks

In a letter to the editor published in the Irish Independent this week, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has responded to a columnist who remarked that he would be "lucky to die as swiftly as the fox that is caught by hounds". In our response, we stressed that the demise of foxes terrorised by foxhunters is far from swift.

Please read the full text of the letter below...

Foxhunting is indefensible
Irish Independent - February 02 2009

Columnist Kevin Myers clearly has no comprehension of the suffering endured by foxes when he remarks that "I would be lucky to die as swiftly as the fox that is caught by hounds" (Irish Independent, January 30).

The demise of foxes terrorised by Ireland's cruel foxhunters is far from swift. After being disturbed from their habitat, the animals are chased for as long as it takes to drain their energy and slow them down enough for the pack to pounce.

Hunters claim that the victim is killed by a quick nip to the back of the neck, but the gruesome killing actually involves the frenzied ripping of flesh and the chewing of entrails out onto blood-soaked grass.

Reports in hunting publications boast about the duration of the preceding chase, with one telling of a Galway fox pursued for one hour and 20 minutes and a Limerick fox for three hours and 10 minutes.

Hounds at another hunt "pushed a fox for 50 minutes in terrible driving rain before catching it", while a fox in Westmeath was forced to swim across the freezing water of a canal twice in a bid to escape.

Studies from America confirm that the physiological effects of such a gruelling fight for life include haemorrhage of the heart and lungs, congestion of the kidneys and a breakdown of muscle tissue, often followed by brain damage and death.

Kevin Myers, or anyone else who found themselves suffering this, would feel decidedly unlucky. As they would if they found themselves with a hunt terrier sinking its teeth into their body and tugging them out of a hiding hole in the ground -- as commonly occurs during foxhunts.

Kevin Myers acknowledges that badger baiters are "depraved, sick and disgusting perverts" and that hare coursers are "no less horrible", but even if he fails to recognise it, the foxhunters he defends are equally shameful and condemnable.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

14. Petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

We say NO to Northern Ireland Badger Cull

15. Keep coursers off your land

Make it known publicly that your land is off-limits to coursers. Download, print and display a copy of our "Hare Sanctuary" poster from (Click on Farmers)

You may also wish to place a preservation notice in your local newspaper now. Below is a sample preservation notice which you may wish to use. "Take notice that all my lands at [Insert address(es) of land] are private and preserved day and night. All forms of hare coursing and netting, hunting and shooting are strictly prohibited. Trespassers will be prosecuted. Signed [Insert name of landowner]"

Note: Regardless of whether or not you publish a preservation notice, hunters or coursers have no right to enter privately-owned lands without permission. It is unacceptable for them to claim that they didn't know that your lands are private and preserved. However, many landowners choose to publish a preservation notice to make it abundantly clear to hunters that they are not allowed to enter the land. For more information about how you can keep hunters out, please click on "Farmers" at

Farmers affected by hunt trespass may also wish to contact the Farmers Against Foxhunting and Trespass organisation which offers advice to landowners. Chairman, Philip Lynch, can be reached at 056-7725309. Visit the FAFT website at:

Let's be friends on Bebo, MySpace, Youtube

Help highlight the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' campaign against hunting and coursing cruelty. Please add us as a top friend on your MySpace, Bebo and Youtube pages and repost our regular bulletins. If you have a website, we would be grateful if you could link to us or display an ICABS banner (For linking options, please click on Links at and choose Link To Us). Thank you very much.

The addresses are:, and

ICABS Campaign Text Alerts

Subscribe to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' Campaign Text Alerts service and receive occasional campaign updates to your mobile phone. Text the word GO to our textline on 086-0386617 (this is free service). To unsubscribe at any stage, simply text the word STOP to the same number. Your number will not be passed on to anyone else.

Fund an ICABS campaign postcard

Campaign postcards are an important part of our campaign to highlight cruelty and call for change. Please consider funding an ICABS postcard. The printing costs for a postcard are approximately 150 Euro. ICABS postcards are made available on demand to individuals and animal welfare groups. If you are interested in funding a postcard, please contact us for further details. Thank you.

Tune in to the ICABS Channel

Footage of blood sport cruelty and the humane alternatives can be viewed on the ICABS Channel on Youtube - or by clicking on "Videos" at Please ask your local TD/Senator to view our videos and back a blood sports ban.

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