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Renewed call for coursing ban as cruelty continues
06 February 2007

As the so-called national finals of hare coursing take place in Clonmel this week, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports once again calls for a ban on this outdated animal abuse.

It is now two years since hare coursing was outlawed in Britain, leaving Ireland as the last bastion of this backwoods cruelty - somewhat of an irony since we inherited this "sport" from Britain.

And so the cruelty continues, courtesy of the Minister for the Environment, who grants an exclusive licence to the Irish Coursing Club to snatch around 7,000 hares from the wild every year - this despite the fact that the hare has been designated by his own department as being of "the highest conservation concern" and all hare hunting has been suspended in Northern Ireland for the past number of years in response to a decline in hare numbers in that jurisdiction.

Hares continue to be struck and mauled to death at hare coursing meetings, according to reports obtained by ICABS under FOI. In the 2005/06 season, a ranger reported that "hares were not in great condition" at a meeting in Gorey, and in Tubbercurry, a ranger reported that six hares were "badly mauled by dogs" at Tubbercurry, while in Westmeath, a hare's leg was "almost completely broken off", 15 hares were hit by greyhounds, with four of these injured. ICABS believes that these occurrences are only the tip of the iceberg as only a small percentage of all coursing meetings are monitored by the National Parks and Wildlife Service due lack of manpower.

As the country remembered the heroes of 1916 in April of last year, we called on Bertie Ahern to introduce legislation outlawing coursing. This, we told an Taoiseach, would be a fitting tribute to Padraic Pearse, whose ideals he admires, given that, according to his sister, Senator Margaret Pearse, both her brothers, Padraic and Willie would have been opposed to hare coursing. In a letter to actor John Cowley (alias Tom Riordan), written from her nursing home in 1967, Senator Pearse wrote: "In my letter to the press, I invoked the names of my two brothers, Padraic and Willie, and I was absolutely correct in affirming that they would both have been totally opposed to the inhuman treatment meted out to the innocent little hares at coursing matches... I am certain that were they alive today, they would be foremost in condemning coursing for the sadistic spectacle that it is."

ICABS has urged Minister Roche and the Taoiseach to view our drag coursing presentation at and to force the coursers to adopt this humane alternative.

Muzzled greyhound mauling a hare
A hare being mauled by a greyhound during a coursing meeting. Ireland is one of the last remaining countries in the world to allow this terrible abuse of nature's most gentle of creatures.


Please write to Minister Dick Roche and demand that he stop licensing hare coursing.

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

Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
LoCall: 1890-202021
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640.

Please appeal to Minister Mary Coughlan (she is responsible for animal welfare and the Protection of Animals Act) to intervene to end hare coursing.

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Please also contact your local TDs/Senators and urge them to put pressure on the Environment Minister to ban hare coursing and to protect the precious hare species from all forms of persecution.

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:

Video Presentations: Hare coursing and Drag Coursing

To witness what happens to hares during coursing activities, please click on the link below. Please also have a look at our video presentation showing the humane alternative to hare coursing - drag coursing.

Hare Coursing - Blood Sports in Ireland

Drag Coursing - The humane alternative

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