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Anti-blood sports appeal to Press Photographers Association
20 November 2008

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has expressed its disappointment to the Press Photographers Association of Ireland over the inclusion of a coursing image in its new "Beyond The Moment" photo book. In an appeal, ICABS asked the association to stop presenting coursing and hunting as "sports".

Writing to the PPAI president, ICABS stated: "It is saddening that out of a pool of 6,000 photographs, one of the images your association chose was one depicting the most horrendous cruelty to the Irish Hare. As pointed out previously to the PPAI and as vividly conveyed in the photograph, hares are subjected to a horrific ordeal in coursing. Some suffer broken bones and other fatal internal injuries."

We also highlighted to the PPAI, the abuse, intimidation and violence experienced by ICABS photographers over the years as they documented the suffering endured by hares on coursing fields. Such incidents have included a photographer being dragged from the top of a car and threatened by a stick-wielding coursing club official, placards being waved in front of camera lenses to try and hide the cruelty and water being thrown at photographers.

The PPAI's inclusion of the coursing photograph in the book is offensive not only to these photographers but also to the majority of Irish adults who want coursing made illegal.

ICABS also complained to the PPAI about:

  • The categorisation of foxhunting as a "sport" - one of the images considered for the book under the heading of "SPORTS" (and which is included in the "SPORTS" section of a slideshow on the PPAI website) shows a member of the Kildare Hunt riding through a quarry "during a fox hunt outside Athgarvan, County Kildare".
  • The presence of a coursing photo in the "SPORTS ACTION" category of a past awards

The PPAI website showing the coursing photo which appears in the association's new book.

The PPAI website displaying a photo of a foxhunter which appears as part of a "Sports" slideshow.

ICABS welcomes photos which expose the cruelty of blood sports but we have objected to the PPAI over its categorisation of this coursing cruelty as "Sports Action".


Please join our appeal to the PPAI to stop presenting foxhunting and coursing as sports and to exclude these cruel activities from future AIB Photojournalism Awards, unless they purposefully aim to capture the barbarity involved.

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

Mr Ray McManus
President, PPAI

Dear Mr McManus,

I am writing to register my objection to the PPAI's categorisation of foxhunting and coursing as "Sports" on your website and in your photo awards. I am also disappointed at the inclusion of a hare coursing photo in your association's "Beyond the Moment" book.

I urge you to challenge your members to help expose the absolute barbarity of foxhunting and coursing by explicitly capturing the victims in their moments of suffering. The look of terror in the eyes of a fox in its desperate dash for life and when it is dragged out of the ground by terriers and torn apart by the pack. The agony of a hare as greyhounds smash into it and break its bones. The type of violence that captures the essence of these disgusting activities and gives the viewer a real insight into why a majority want blood "sports" banned.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,


Video: Coursing cruelty

More information about hare coursing

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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