latest news

Stop coursing, release hares
01 September 2006

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on the Minister for the Environment to immediately withdraw a licence to net hares from the wild from a midlands coursing club. The call follows allegations that hares were caught and held by the coursing club before the licence came into force today, September 1st.

Minister Dick Roche holding papers
Minister Dick Roche: Licensed yet another season of coursing cruelty.
ICABS received a number of telephone calls from concerned members of the public that a substantial number of hares were spotted in the coursing club's grounds on Wednesday last, which was outside the licence period. National Parks & Wildlife officials were swiftly informed of the situation. We understand that the club's grounds were searched yesterday (Thursday) and that an investigation is now underway into an alleged breach of the Wildlife Act.

ICABS is urging Minister Dick Roche to intervene to ensure that any captive hares found on the club's grounds are returned to the wild immediately and that the club is prevented from capturing further hares.

Sadly, despite repeated pleas to the Minister for the Environment to stop licensing the snatching of hares from the wild, licences continue to be granted. Around 7,000 hares are netted annually to be terrorised and cruelly used as live lures before greyhounds at coursing matches around the country. The licences have been issued even though it is widely believed that hare numbers may be under threat in the wild. The National Parks & Wildlife Service, for example, has designated the hare as a species "of the highest conservation concern", along with the corncrake. The Heritage Council has described the hare as a "declining species".

ICABS is renewing its appeal to Minister Dick Roche to follow the example of the Northern Ireland authorities and stop all forms of hare hunting and coursing in the interests of conservation and animal welfare.

Greyhound mauling hare
A hare is mauled into the ground by a muzzled greyhound during a coursing meeting. This is one of the thousands of hares cruelly captured in the Irish countryside every year for use in the blood sport.


Please contact Minister Dick Roche today and urge him to intervene to prevent the midlands coursing club in question from capturing any further hares from the wild. Remind him that an eighty per cent majority of people in Ireland want coursing banned as it has been in the UK. Demand an end to this cruel blood sport.

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1

Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640

Please also contact your local TDs/Senators and urge them to work for an end to coursing and all blood sports.

Write to your TD at:
Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Write to your Senator at:
Seanad Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 732 623.

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

(Please compose your own personal letter if possible. If you do not have time to do this, please send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Roche,

I understand from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that a midlands coursing club is currently being investigated for an alleged breach of the Wildlife Act. This follows the discovery of hares on their grounds prior to the commencement date on their hare capture licence.

Firstly, may I express my deep disappointment and disgust that you have deemed it appropriate to licence yet another season of this blood sport. It is incredible, considering the cruelty involved and the threat it poses to our fragile hare population, that a licence has been issued for a further coursing season. I am one of the 80 per cent majority of Irish people who want this outdated barbarism outlawed and I implore you to act now to rid Ireland of coursing.

In the meantime, I hope that you will urgently intervene to prevent the midlands club in question from capturing more hares and to ensure that the hares they have already captured are released back into the wild where they belong.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


News Menu | Join | Top | Home