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Smell led ranger to injured hare in box at coursing meeting
29 April 2015

A National Parks & Wildlife Conservation Ranger, monitoring a coursing meeting at Thurles last October, found a badly injured hare in a box. Documents recently released to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the ranger discovered the hare after detecting a smell emanating from a box.

"What caught my attention on the Sunday was the smell coming out of the box," the ranger stated in her official report. "When I took the hare out, I noticed a large injury to the shoulder and front of one of the legs."

She continued: "I asked the attending vet to check the hare. He said it wasn’t too bad, would give it some antibiotics. I did ask should it be put down right there but he disagreed. He later approached me in the day and said that he had given the hare a long acting antibiotic (3 days) and a steroid for pain and that the injury appeared worse than he initially thought. He said to bring the animal to a vet in 3 days. I did that and the vet I brought it to recommended it be put down."

At the same meeting, hares were brought down from the escape area for boxing (in preparation for being coursed, i.e used as live bait) at the interval on the first day of coursing. The ranger had requested that hares not be brought down from this area, as it's the same area that coursed hares escape into after being coursed. Taking hares from this area during a meeting points to re-coursing of hares, which is in breach of licence conditions.

In an internal email from a NPWS official for the mid-south area to NPWS HQ, it was stated: "Contrary to the Conservation Ranger’s request, hares were brought down for boxing at the interval on the first day of the event and also the ranger was informed that only three had been boxed, whereas it became apparent later that seven had been boxed at the time. This appears to be a breach of Section 34 Licence granted by NPWS to the ICC, as it is in contradiction of condition 18 of said license."

Another email revealed that on the second day of coursing, NPWS officials found that "the attitude of the club was uncoopertive and intimidating." There was also an issue regarding the health of the hares outlined in this email, which stated: "It is also noted that on the second day, the number of courses was reduced to 35 (21 courses were cancelled) apparently due to the fact that not all the hares were fit for coursing. However, there was no issue with regard to the health of hares flagged with Conservation Rangers the previous day, which would have suggested a curtailment of courses."

And another breach was highlighted as follows: "Contrary to the Conservation Ranger’s request, the boxing of hares for release was not commenced until 3pm the day after the event, with the result that not all hares were released in daylight hours. This appears to be a breach of Section 34 Licence granted to the ICC as it is in contradiction of both 13 and 18 of the said license." The official also stated: "Due to the above non-cooperation with NPWS staff, NPWS cannot confirm definitively that ho hare was coursed twice in one day (condition 9 of Section 34 Licence) and that all hares were released (condition 13 of Section 34 License)."

It will be interesting to see what sanctions the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Minister Heather Humphreys will impose on the Thurles coursers, given that breaches the previous year by coursing clubs were not sanctioned in any way. A ranger was intimidated and abused verbally at Liscannor in the 2013/14 season, and the coursers failed to cooperate with the ranger at Mallow, both breaches of the licence conditions. The Mallow coursing club secretary then wrote an unapologetic and arrogant letter to the National Parks, totally contradicting the ranger's account of events and criticising her. Despite this, no sanctions were imposed, Minister Heather Humphreys deciding to accept their promise that they would behave in future.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is renewing its call on Minister Humphreys to stop licensing cruel hare coursing.


Get in touch with all your local TDs now and urge them to back a ban on hare coursing.

Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses

Email TDs online at -

Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign and share petitions

Stop Licensing Cruel Hare Coursing
Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland
Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

Urge Minister Heather Humphreys to show compassion for the persecuted Irish Hare and stop licensing cruel hare coursing.

Email "Stop licensing cruel hare coursing" to
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook -
Tweet to Heather Humphreys: @HHumphreysFG

(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,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to stop licensing this cruel bloodsport

In coursing, hares suffer 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. Every season, hare injuries and deaths are documented.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and stop licensing coursing.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

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

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Urgently contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and ask him to back a ban on hare coursing.

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

Videos: Ireland's hare coursing cruelty

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