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Hare found with bleeding leg: More coursing cruelty revealed
09 July 2008

ICABS has learned that a hare with a bleeding leg was discovered by a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger at a coursing meeting in Balbriggan last November. According to a document obtained by ICABS, a ranger also reported hearing hares "crying out" while being handled at the meeting.

The NPWS Memo reveals that "at the boxing stage, it was noted that one of the hares was bleeding from its hind leg" and adds that after being seen by a vet, the animal was considered unsuitable for coursing.

Another hare was seen by the club's vet after it was hit by two greyhounds. The ranger outlines that, the following day, he was "shown two dead hares - including the animal that was seen by the vet the previous day". It is unclear if this includes the hare with the bleeding leg.

A second ranger present at the Balbriggan meeting described how one hare was chased by three greyhounds - "a third dog slipped on to the pitch and resulted in 3 dogs chasing the hare." Another hare was hit and pinned to the ground after the muzzle of a greyhound "seemed to loosen". "The dog held the hare in the air," the ranger states. "After the intervention of 2 coursing men the hare got away and ran into the escape hatch." [ICABS note: It is very likely that this hare sustained serious internal injuries]

Reporting on observations made at the Balbriggan and Trim coursing meetings, this ranger goes on to highlight the coursing-related stress caused to hares. "At both meetings, the odd hare will cry out while being handled when the ear tag is being identified, causing more stress to the animal. This is the first year I have heard hares crying out."

The ranger also highlights how coursers attempt to hide the suffering caused to hares, saying that "I have noticed at several meetings down through the years that if the dogs hit and pin the hare, the guy on the horse always gets in front of the ranger to prevent us from seeing what is happening."

ICABS has brought these further instances of coursing cruelty to the attention of Minister John Gormley as part of a renewed appeal to him to ban coursing. Please join us in asking Minister Gormley to protect the Irish Hare from the cruelty of blood sports.


Please urgently contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to him to prohibit all forms of hare persecution, including hare hunting and hare coursing.

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Dear Minister Gormley,

The conservation status of the Irish Hare has been described as "poor" in the recently published "Report on Status of Habitats and Species in Ireland". Furthermore, the NPWS division of your department has confirmed on its website that "numbers have decreased in recent years". This is cause for enormous concern to myself and the majority of Irish people who value the hare as an important part of our precious heritage.

Minister, as you are no doubt aware, most people in this country want the hare to be allowed to live free from persecution by coursing and hare hunting clubs. We oppose the cruelty inherent in these outdated activities but also the threat they pose to regional hare populations and the species as a whole.

In coursing, hares continue to die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity, during the coursing meetings and also subsequent to their release back to the wild. Such deaths have been documented by the NPWS. These timid and fragile creatures die as a result of physical injuries or from the stress caused by human handling and being chased by greyhounds.

I implore you to act on the wishes of the electorate, and on the stark findings of the habitats and species report, and immediately ban coursing and hare hunting.

Thank you, Minister.

Yours sincerely,


Hare Coursing Gallery - Image 1
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.

Video: Coursing cruelty

Video: Drag Coursing

For more videos of drag coursing, please view our Drag Coursing Playlist

More information about blood sports

Foxhunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition
Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition
Carted deer hunting: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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