latest news

Letter to Editor: Threat to the Irish Hare is a horror story that shames us
06 March 2014

A letter to the editor in today's Irish Independent calls for a ban on hare coursing and complete protection for the Irish Hare. Read the letter below.

Threat to hare is horror story that shames us
Letter to Editor
Irish Independent, 6th March 2014

While welcoming the major conservation initiative to save the curlew and restore habitats essential to its survival, we should not lose sight of other species that are endangered or threatened.

It would be sad indeed if the haunting cry of the curlew, a feature of rural life from time immemorial and celebrated in Irish literature, song and folklore, were to become a mere memory kept alive only in books and ballads.

It has been quietly slipping away, with about 80pc of the curlew population lost to us since the 1970s.

But this evocative bird is not alone. Though not threatened to the same degree as the curlew, the Irish hare is listed by conservationists as vulnerable to extinction. Like the curlew, the hare is a precious and evocative part of our wildlife heritage. It is a living link to the Ice Age of 10,000 years ago, one of nature's great survivors.

Unfortunately, increasing urbanisation and the effects of modern agriculture, especially the vast monocultural grass and cereal tracts in the countryside and the mass cutting of hedges, have eroded its habitat, leading to what to the hare might as well be a desert. Compounding this is the grotesque practice of hare coursing.

Contrived chasing and disturbance of hares induces a form of stress that can kill them. Dr Donald Broom, professor of animal welfare at Cambridge University, has stated: "When a mammal like a hare is chased by a predator like a dog it will show physiological changes associated with extreme fear."

Such extreme responses, he adds, can result in reduced life expectancy and risk of cardiovascular breakdown. The number of hares killed outright or injured in coursing annually is only a tiny part of the horror story.

It is the long-term impact on the animals captured and subjected to this traumatic and unnatural ordeal that represents the greater coursing-related threat to the hare.

This unique mammal, which under legislation may be netted and used as bait by coursing clubs, should be designated a completely protected species.

The hare belongs to all of us. It is not the preserve of a heartless minority that sees it as a mere plaything for their "sport".

John Fitzgerald,
Campaign For The Abolition Of Cruel Sports
Co Kilkenny

Leave a comment on the Irish Independent website


Help raise awareness about Ireland's animal cruelty issues - write letters to the editors of local and national newspapers to speak out against hare coursing, foxhunting, etc.

Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign a petition:

Minister Coveney: Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
Ban horrific Hare Coursing Cruelty in Ireland
Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland
Protect the Irish Hare

Urgently contact An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Eamon Gilmore. Ask them to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048

An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore
Office of the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Iveagh House,
80 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Tel: 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)
Fax: 01 408 2400


Contact Minister Deenihan now and urge him to refuse the coursing licence.

Jimmy Deenihan, TD
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

[with a copy to An Taoiseach -]
Tel: (01) 631 3804
Fax: (01) 661 1201

Constituency Details
18A The Square, Listowel, Co Kerry
Telephone: 068-57446
Fax: 068-57805

(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.)

Dear Minister Deenihan,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares suffer and die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and refuse to licence this cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please appeal to the Minister for Agriculture to remove an exemption for coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
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 a ban on hare coursing and all bloodsports. Tell them you are one of the majority who want coursing banned. Remind them that coursing is already illegal in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Urge them to respect the wishes of the majority of the electorate and back a ban.

Find out their contact details
Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

The victims of coursing

All hares used in coursing are victims and they all suffer the fear and stress of being violently snatched from their habitats, thrown into crates, transported to coursing compounds and kept in captivity for months. Among the hare injuries and deaths recorded are:

Video: Hare terrorised at Clonmel coursing cruelty festival

Video: Coursing cruelty

Photos: Coursing cruelty

More information about blood sports

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition
Foxhunting: 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