ICABS plea to British Government: No Compromise On Cruelty
16 November 2004
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports issues a plea to the British government, in this the final countdown to a ban on hunting wild animals with dogs, not to accept any last minute compromises from the hunting fraternity.
For example, we are aware that in an effort to save their cruel "sport", the hare coursers are offering to muzzle the greyhounds. Muzzling was introduced here in Ireland in 1993 as a compromise to a ban on hare coursing. It is purely a cosmetic exercise and does not mitigate the fear and terror endured by hares running for their lives before greyhounds.
The Irish Coursing Club, prior to muzzling being introduced, had always decried muzzling, and their Chief Executive, Mr. Gerry Desmond stated on Irish radio in 1991 that following trials carried out by his association, "it was found that the hares were being damaged by the muzzles." He further stated that "we felt it led to suffering by the hares afterwards. When hares get injured, they find it very difficult to recuperate from any form of injury."
More recently, a spokesperson for the Coquetdale and Border coursing club in England acknowledged that muzzles do not eliminate the suffering of hares. Quoted in The Times in February 2002, he said: "They course with muzzles in Ireland and it's worse. The hares get battered to death. Because the dogs can't pick the hare up, they batter it with their heads. It's a more painful death."
We have video evidence of hares receiving severe batterings and maulings from muzzled greyhounds during hare coursing, and this can be accessed from the Videos section of our website. Not a coursing season goes by in Ireland without hare fatalities due to such incidents.
There is also a mention of the National Coursing Club considering establishing enclosed or park coursing such as is practised here in Ireland. We would warn that this would be a very retrograde step, if this were allowed, and would lead to further suffering for the hares which would be snatched from the wild in nets and kept captive in compounds for weeks on end until the day of coursing. We now have compelling veterinary evidence (if such were needed) that the stress of capture, confinement, etc. of these timid wild animals can lead to disease and death. For example, following post mortems on 40 hares which died in an Irish coursing compound last year, a vet stated that "hares are significantly stressed when corralled and coursed and this combination of circumstances had resulted in the deaths in this case."
Meanwhile, as the UK is poised to consign these barbaric blood sports to oblivion, we in Ireland continue our campaign to rid our country of the same cruel practices, which, ironically, we inherited from Britain in the first place.
Action Item 1
Visit the UK Government's website and send an email directly to Tony Blair. Ask Mr Blair to respect the wishes of the majority and ensure that a full hunt ban is introduced. You may also write to Tony Blair at: 10 Downing Street, London SE1 2AA, England.
Action Item 2
Please also write to the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern. Tell him that a majority of Irish people are opposed to hunting with dogs. Demand the immediate introduction of legislation which would make these blood sports illegal in Ireland.
An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
More Information: Coursing Cruelty
Latest News - Coursing: