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Taxpayers want coursing outlawed, not grant-aided
25 May 2004

Bord na gCon, the Irish Greyhound Board, has approved "in principle" a quarter of a million Euro for hare coursing from their annual 12 million Euro grant from the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism.

So the public purse may now fund animal cruelty, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Irish taxpayers are opposed to this barbarism (80 per cent in last independent poll) and want it outlawed, not grant aided! To add insult to injury, Bord na gCon states that this proposed grant to the coursers is for "ANIMAL WELFARE" purposes. This spin is utterly stomach churning and hypocritical in the extreme. We have no doubt that the funds will go towards prizemoney for hare coursing events.

In any event, welfare for hares in coursing can't be improved as taking hares from the wild and using them as live lures is inherently and intrinsically cruel, and there is no way the cruelty can be alleviated by one cent, never mind a quarter of a million Euro. This ludicrous suggestion is a spin too far and the Irish public will not buy it. Welfare for hares can only be improved by leaving them alone in the wild and outlawing hare coursing.

If there is a quarter of a million Euro up for grabs, then we suggest that it could be put towards some real animal welfare causes. There are many struggling animal rescue centres around the country which would be grateful for even a fraction of this grant.

Two coursers holding dead hare
The public purse may now fund animal cruelty, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Irish taxpayers are opposed to this barbarism (80 per cent in last independent poll) and want it outlawed, not grant aided! Image shows two coursers holding a dead hare by its back legs.

Urgent Action Item

Please join us in calling on the government to ensure that not a penny of taxpayers' money is given to the Irish Coursing Club.

Minister John O'Donoghue
Department of Arts, "Sports" and Tourism
Frederick Buildings
South Frederick Street
Dublin 2

Tel: 01-631 3802.
Locall: 1890-383 000 (from outside 01 telephone area).
Fax: 01-679 9291.

An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
Department of the Taoiseach
Government Buildings
Merrion Street
Dublin 2

Tel: 01-662 4888
LoCall: 1890-227 227(from outside 01 telephone area).
Fax: 01-678 9791

Limerick TD presses Minister for coursing funding

During a meeting of the Select Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs held on 26 May 2004, Michael Collins, TD pressed Minister John O'Donoghue for funding for hare coursing. Mr Collins is a Fianna Fail TD for Limerick West.

Mr Collins: By the end of 2004, Horseracing Ireland will have received over €200 million and Bord na gCon over €50 million from the horse and greyhound racing fund. When this fund was founded a few years ago, it was under the Department of Agriculture and Food. I got a commitment in the Dáil that a certain percentage of that money allocated to Bord na gCon would go to the coursing section. Could the Minister inform me of the current position on this? A number of people made representations to him in the past couple of years, but that commitment was given by the Minister for Agriculture and Food at the time. Is the Minister for Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in the position to honour the same commitment?

Mr O'Donoghue: On the horse and greyhound situation, Bord na gCon is in discussion with the Irish Coursing Club regarding the provision of funding for some of its activities, mainly for welfare. Bord na gCon is awaiting detailed proposals from the Irish Coursing Club. It is a matter for Bord na gCon, and under the relevant legislation it is the board's function.

Coursers demand taxpayers’ money
And Minister Joe Walsh says they’ll get it!

(Article from ICABS "Animal Watch" newsletter - Issue 1, 2003)

The Irish Coursing Club are demanding Exchequer funding to help support their blood sport activities, ICABS has learned.

The club is desperate to get its hands on a chunk of the grant aid doled out by the Government to Bord na gCon.

But Bord na gCon are resisting the demands because they believe that if money is given to coursing, "it will mark the beginning of the end for greyhound sports"

According to the Bord’s chairman, any such move would lead to anti-blood sports campaigners "putting pressure on the Minister and on Brussels".

Meanwhile, the hare coursers appear to have a friend in Minister for Agriculture, Joe Walsh. They claim Minister Walsh promised them funding at a Select Dáil Committee meeting in 2001.

They quoted the Minister as stating that the coursing clubs "are the linchpin of the whole [greyhound] industry and deserve to get their proportionate amount of funding and I will make sure that happens."

The danger that coursing clubs might actually get taxpayers’ money to carry on their barbarity is unthinkable.

It is bad enough that coursing is now attached to the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, thus elevating this despicable activity to the status of "sport".

A statement on the Department’s website outlines that its goal is to "formulate and oversee the implementation of policies for the promotion and development of sport and to encourage increased participation in sport and recreation". We hope that this doesn’t include live hare coursing.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, to ensure that not a penny of taxpayers’ money is given to coursing. Funding a cruel activity which is opposed by eighty per cent of the population would be highly unacceptable.

More Information: Coursing Cruelty

For more information on hare coursing cruelty in Ireland, please visit our Ban Hare Coursing website at

Please sign our Ban Blood Sports in Ireland petition.

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