latest news

Disappointment expressed to NPWS over latest coursing recommendation
26 August 2010

ICABS has expressed disappointment to the National Parks and Wildlife Service over their latest recommendation to issue a licence to hare coursers to net thousands of hares. We reminded them of a report from earlier this year in which they reiterated that the conservation status of the Irish Hare is poor.

Stressing that the NPWS is entrusted to conserve the hare species, we pointed to the body's submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity in May in which they once again confirmed that the status of the hare is poor and that one of the contributing factors is hunting activities.

Also flagged was a statement in a NPWS document which casts uncertainty over the "reproductive viability of hares post-coursing and the impact on local population demographics of hare removal and return". (Background to the conservation assessment for the Mountain Hare Lepus timidus,6278,en.pdf ) This acknowledgment should itself prompt the NPWS to block the exploitation of the species instead of continually recommending its continuance.

"Given the current poor conservation status of the hare and the negative impact that coursing is known to have on the species, it is highly surprising that the NPWS continues to facilitate this deplorable activity which is now illegal in all our neighbouring jurisdictions," we stated.

ICABS also enquired if the NPWS took into account the breaches of the 2009/10 coursing licence before recommending another licence for 2010/11. We are currently awaiting a reply.


Please join us in asking the NPWS Species Protection Unit to explain why it has recommended the licensing of a blood sport that causes massive interference to the Irish Hare species and which results in stress, injury and death to hares.

Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe
Director, NPWS Species Protection Unit
National Parks & Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2

Tel: +353-1-888 2000
Fax: +353-1-888 3272

Email: ciaran.o'

(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.)


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,



Species Protection Unit questioned over coursing licence
9 December 2009

ICABS is calling on the National Parks and Wildlife Service's Species Protection Unit to explain why it recommended that a coursing licence be granted for another season of hare coursing. "Given that coursing results in stress, injury and death to hares, we wish to know how your unit's recommendation fits in with its 'species protection' role," ICABS stated.

The details of the Species Protection Unit's recommendation are contained in a document recently obtained by ICABS following a Freedom of Information request.

A letter signed the unit's Assistant Director, Gerry Leckey, states that: "It is recommended that licences issue to the Irish Coursing Club under the Wildlife Acts to mark hares, capture hares and undertake coursing outside the Open Season Order on 1 March 2010. The licence will cover all clubs affiliated to the Irish Coursing Club."

Referring to a request by the Irish Coursing Club for an extension to the licence, the document states that "We have facilitated the Irish Coursing Club in the past and it is recommended that the ICC be granted this extension."

The extension, which we have learned has been approved by Green Party leader and Environment Minister, John Gormley, is to be granted in the new year and will allow the coursers to extend their blood sport into March 1st 2010.

In a letter to Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe, the director of the NPWS Species Protection Unit, ICABS has enquired about the unit's justification for recommending the issuance of a licence for the 2009-2010 coursing season and a licence to extend the coursing season.

We are continuing to urge Minister John Gormley to revoke the current licence, to cancel the season extension and to put in place permanent protection for the Irish Hare.

Hare Coursing Gallery - Image 1
A majority of Irish people want the hare to be protected from this disgusting cruelty.

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