Coursing cruelty complaint - No prosecution
26 September 2013
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has described as "astounding" a decision by Gardai not to prosecute a coursing club which released hares back to the wild in conditions "ranging from very poor to almost dead".
Following a coursing meeting in Murrintown last December, a National Parks & Wildlife Ranger noted in his monitoring report that on release by the Wexford coursing club of the hares into the wild after the meet, 2 hares were "in poor condition", and that at another release site, 3 hares had "injuries so serious they couldn’t move and a fourth limped off". He further described the condition of the hares as "ranging from very poor to almost dead".
Meanwhile, a veterinary report accessed under Freedom of Information, stated that 9 hares were considered unfit for coursing, 7 hares were injured, 1 hare died and 17 hares were "sick or otherwise unfit after coursing".
ICABS was informed by the Wexford Gardai that there was "insufficient evidence" of a breach of animal welfare legislation, which we find absolutely astounding, given that the cruelty was clearly outlined in the Wildlife Ranger’s official’s report.
ICABS was also told that it would require a vet to state that the animals were in bad condition, yet the Gardai were also provided with a vet’s report (also accessed by ICABS under FOI) which stated that 17 hares were “sick or otherwise unfit” after the coursing meeting. Despite the fact that we reminded the Gardai of this vet’s statement, and called for the investigation to be re-opened, we have been informed that "the decision not to prosecute stands".
Aideen Yourell of ICABS said: "The statement by the ranger regarding the condition of these hares is clear and unequivocal, and is backed up by the vet’s report. We are at a loss to understand why the Gardai will not prosecute what we contend is a clear breach of the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, which states that it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, and to neglect the suffering of an animal, which would certainly appear to be the situation in this case where these unfortunate animals were abandoned to the wild with 'injuries so serious they couldn’t move' and 'ranging from very poor to almost dead'."
Every year in Ireland, thousands of hares are violently netted from the wild and used as lures for greyhounds in coursing. These timid, delicate creatures suffer the fear and stress of running for their lives. Those hit by the muzzled greyhounds sustain painful and life-threatening injuries. See our 2013 coursing cruelty catalogue for a list of some of the victims from last season -
Murrintown, Co. Wexford - December 26/27, 2012
NPWS RANGER REPORT:
18 hares hit by dogs, 13 injured, 1 "declared killed". Ranger noted in a memo that at a release site, 2 hares were "in poor condition". He further noted that at another release site, 3 hares had "injuries so serious they couldn't move and a fourth limped off", adding: "So while only one hare was declared killed, I am recording at least another 6 were in conditions ranging from very poor to almost dead, therefore a minimum of 7 were in very poor condition."
The veterinary report stated that 9 hares were considered unfit for coursing. 7 hares were injured, 1 died and 17 "sick or otherwise unfit after coursing".
Urgently contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Ask them to show compassion for wildlife and introduce an immediate ban on hare coursing and all bloodsports.
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore
Office of the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail) or 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)
Urge Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to remove exemptions for coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.
Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Contact all your local TDs now. Demand that they urgently push for bans on coursing and foxhunting.
If you prefer to post a letter to your TDs, address your correspondence to:
Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics. Contact us for details.
A Garda investigation has commenced into what the Irish Council Against Blood Sports contends is a breach of the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, i.e. injured hares were released into the wild after a coursing meeting in Wexford without veterinary attention.
The National Parks Ranger, who monitored the December 2012 coursing meeting at Murrintown and supervised the release of the hares afterwards, noted in his report (obtained by ICABS under Freedom of Information) that at one release site, 2 hares were "in poor condition” and that at another release site, 3 hares had "injuries so serious they couldn’t move and a fourth limped off” adding: "So while only one hare was declared killed, I am recording at least another 6 were in conditions ranging from very poor to almost dead, therefore a minimum of 7 were in very poor condition."
The ranger also noted in his report that 18 hares were hit by dogs, 13 injured, 1 "declared killed”, while the vet who attended the meeting stated in his report that 9 hares were considered unfit for coursing, 7 hares were injured, 1 died and 17 "sick or otherwise unfit after coursing”.
Meanwhile, hares continue to be struck and mauled by muzzled dogs at other coursing meetings around Ireland - for more details see our new Coursing Cruelty Catalogue 2013
There was a golden opportunity to bring an end to this cruelty last month, via an amendment tabled by Deputies Clare Daly and Maureen O’Sullivan which sought to remove an exemption for coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Bill. The amendment was defeated by the Fine Gael and Labour contingent and so this barbarity, now illegal in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is set to continue here.
Please demand a ban on hare coursing in Ireland. Respond now to our action alert above.
Videos: Ireland's hare coursing cruelty
|A hare is hit into the ground at the JP McManus-sponsored coursing meeting at Limerick Racecourse. February 2013
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