latest news

12 August 2010

Just weeks after an historic ban outlawing hare coursing in Northern Ireland, Minister John Gormley has issued a hare netting licence to coursers here in the Republic. The licence gives the go-ahead to another season of coursing cruelty from the end of September with the netting of hares starting this Saturday, August 14th (a fortnight earlier than previous years).

The continuation of coursing puts even more pressure on our beleaguered hare population, which continues to be identified as a species under threat. In its submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity last May, the National Parks & Wildlife Service stated that the Irish Hare is "experiencing pressure from loss of suitable habitat and hunting and consequently its status is considered poor".

Last season, as in every other season of coursing, hares continued to be terrorised, stressed, injured and killed, as revealed in monitoring reports obtained from the National Parks under Freedom of Information. For example, in Gorey, Co. Wexford last October, 12 hares were hit, 7 badly, with three deaths. Two days after coursing, the ranger discovered three more hares dead from injuries; in Ardpatrick & Kilfinane last December, 16 hares were hit, 5 injured, 3 killed and another dead hare was found afterwards; 1 hare suffering from a dislocated hip was put down. At Tralee last December, 7 hares were hit, 1 put down, and a further 4 found dead afterwards; a ranger described a mauled hare with "marks on its back and bare areas", while a vet noted the cause of a hare death as "knocks sustained during coursing the previous day". Another ranger noted that the muzzle came off a greyhound which caught a hare in its mouth and ran up the coursing field with the "hare hanging limp", while a hare with a damaged leg was noted at Fermoy. Another issue was ear tags used to identify hares, with one ranger stating that "tags were coming off and infecting ears". ICABS understands that cattle and sheep tags are used on hares.

In addition, licence conditions were routinely flouted or not properly adhered to with some clubs netting hares without the permission of the landowner, taking sick hares from the wild and hares not being released on time after meetings and not returned to their original habitat, as stipulated in the conditions. One club even kept hares for a further 6 weeks after a coursing meeting in Donegal in November '09 for use at their next meeting last January. Regarding the re-coursing of hares on the same day (a breach of the licence), rangers could not tell in some instances if this had happened or not, with coursed hares being returned back to slipping area at the interval. This prompted one official to note: "There is no way of proving that no hares were coursed twice."

Minister John Gormley has made history with the outlawing of the Ward Union carted deer hunt and he is to be rightly commended for this brave stand. We appeal to him to now follow the example of Northern Ireland and the UK mainland and urgently bring this barbarism to an end.


Urge Minister John Gormley to stop licensing coursing. Send a copy of your correspondence to all of your TDs and encourage them to back a ban on the blood sport.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
[CC - An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen]
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

(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.)

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am disappointed to learn that you have issued a licence to the Irish Coursing Club for another season of coursing cruelty.

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 your NPWS division. 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 urge you to act on the wishes of the electorate who want this activity outlawed. Please stop licensing coursing.

Thank you, Minister.

Yours sincerely,


Minister Gormley urged to stop licensing coursing
03 August 2010

ICABS is calling on Environment Minister, John Gormley, to stop issuing licences for the cruel blood sport of hare coursing. Please support our action alert now.

Minister Gormley reportedly issued last year's licence "with a heavy heart". According to documents obtained by ICABS, the suffering and death of hares continued last season due to the issuance of that licence. One of the victims was a hare that was destroyed after suffering a dislocated hip.

Fears for the future of the species as a whole remain. In its submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity earlier this year, the National Parks and Wildlife Service division of Minister Gormley's Department confirmed that hunting activities remain a threat to the hare species.

"The Irish hare is experiencing pressure from loss of suitable habitat and HUNTING and consequently its status is considered 'poor'," the NPWS stated.

Some of the victims of coursing which have been brought to the attention of Minister Gormley are:

Campaign Videos: Ban Coursing in Ireland

More ICABS Videos

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

Further Reading
The Facts About Hare Coursing
Stress and Capture Myopathy in Hares
Irish Hare: "conservation status is poor"
Hares and rabbits factsheet

More information about hare coursing

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

Make a donation to ICABS

Please consider making a small donation to ICABS. For more details, please click on the button below or follow this link to find out how to become a campaign supporter. Thank you.

News Menu | Join | Top | Home