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Minister Gormley urged to refuse coursing licence
15 August 2008

Greyhounds mauling hare

One-click Action Alert: I want coursing banned

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has this week called on the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to refuse the granting of a licence to the Irish Coursing Club to net hares from the wild for use as live lures before greyhounds at coursing matches. Please join our urgent appeal to Minister Gormley now.

Now more than ever, there are compelling and urgent reasons for the Minister to stop the netting of hares. Only last May, Minister Gormley himself issued a report on the Status of EU Protected Habitats & Species in Ireland, which signalled grave cause for concern about some of our native species, including the Irish hare, whose overall conservation status was rated as "POOR". The reasons given included loss of habitat, increased urbanisation and hunting.

The coursers themselves are complaining about a lack of hares. For example, a National Park and Wildlife Service monitoring report outlined that Offaly's Ballinagar coursing club complained of a scarcity of hares, with one official admitting to the NPWS ranger that the club found "this particular year the most difficult ever to find and capture wild hares". He went on to tell the ranger that "more man-hours were spent this year looking for hares and yet the number caught was low...the hares are just not out on the land anymore."

ICABS has reminded Minister Gormley of Ireland's obligations in relation to the EU Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora. As we understand it, the exploitation of protected species must be "compatible with their being maintained at a favourable conservation status." (Article 14, 1). We believe that the hare, which, ironically, is designated a highly protected species in this country, should now get that much needed protection, if Ireland is to avoid being in breach of the EU Directive. All hare hunting should be suspended as has been done in Northern Ireland. Minister Gormely's counterparts in the North suspended all hare hunting, due to a decline in the hare population there. However, not to be outdone, the two Northern Ireland coursing clubs now travel south and are welcome guests of the Republic's coursers, with Co. Cavan and Tubbercurry hosting them since 2004.

Please help save hares from the cruelty of coursing and hare hunting. Urgently contact Minister Gormely - for your convenience we have set up a one-click sample letter below. (If you have time, please consider writing your own personal letter to the Minister). Also, contact all of your local TDs and Senators and urge them to support the call for Ireland's hares to be given the protection they so desperately need. Thank you very much for your help.


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.

One-click email letter:
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,


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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