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Coursers plead guilty to poaching hares on Boora bog nature reserve
30 September 2015

Members of Doon coursing club have this week pleaded guilty to breaching the Wildlife Act by poaching hares on Boora bog on November 15 last. Boora in County Offaly is a state-owned wildlife sanctuary managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service. ICABS is calling on Minister Humphreys to revoke the coursing licence she issued or, at the very least, prohibit Doon from holding a coursing meeting on 28th and 29th November.

The nine defendants who appeared at Tullamore District Court on 28th September 2015 got off very lightly by having the Probation Act applied and ordered to pay just Ä350 each to charity.

Responding to an Irish Council Against Blood Sports appeal for Doon to be excluded from the 2015 coursing licence, the office of Minister Humphreys has replied to say that the matter is "under consideration". If this club is not strongly sanctioned, Minister Humphreys' earlier statement that licence breaches would no longer be tolerated will amount to empty rhetoric.

In a July 2015 document obtained by ICABS under Freedom of Information, a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) representative stated: "We are trying to deal with an upsurge of illegal hare hunting in the midlands area. The efforts of our staff are stretched to the limits. When, through the efforts of our already stretched staff, cases are detected, we are anxious then for success. The Boora offences occurred on our property - a property managed for nature conservation purposes. The entrances to our property are clearly marked with signage, indicating this is a conservation area and with 'no hunting' signage."

We have absolutely no doubt that these coursers were at Boora to catch hares for Doon coursing club, which was scheduled to have its meeting some three weeks later. That coursers would travel 110km from Limerick to Offaly to catch hares in a wildlife sanctuary raises troubling questions about the state of the hare population in the open countryside and should be sounding alarm bells for the Department of Arts & Heritage and the NPWS.

To-date, none of the many licence breaches identified by ICABS have led to meaningful sanctions. It seems that coursers around the country may do as they like, routinely flouting licence conditions, for which they merely receive a slap on the wrist. For example, two clubs who breached conditions last year were not excluded from the licence but instead asked to shorten their next meetings by ten courses. Among the serious breaches in recent years are intimidation, verbal abuse and a lack of co-operation with National Parks rangers.

Given the animal cruelty inherent in hare coursing and the fears for the future of the species, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports is continuing to push for a complete ban on the bloodsport. Hare coursing is outlawed in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and itís high time it was outlawed here in the Republic.

 ACTION ALERTS 

Urge Minister Heather Humphreys to revoke the 2015-16 hare coursing licence or, at the very least, strike Doon from the licence.

Email "Strike Doon from coursing licence" to Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie
[Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie,ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie,taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie,joan.burton@oireachtas.ie,wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie,Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie]
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/heather.humphreysfg

SAMPLE LETTER
(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below.)

Dear Minister,

Members of Doon coursing club have pleaded guilty to breaching the Wildlife Act by poaching hares on Boora bog nature reserve on November 15 last.

It is imperative that your response to this reflects the seriousness of the offence. Please strike Doon from the coursing licence and prohibit them from holding a coursing meeting on 28th and 29th November.

That coursers would travel 110km from Limerick to Offaly to catch hares in a wildlife sanctuary raises troubling questions about the state of the hare population in the open countryside.

Given the cruelty inherent in coursing and fears for the future of this beleaguered species, I urge you to immediately revoke the coursing licence you issued.

Yours sincerely,

[Name/Location]

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

Stop Licensing Cruel Hare Coursing
https://www.change.org/p/minister-heather-humphreys-stop-licensing-cruel-hare-coursing

Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/minister-simon-coveney-replace-hare-coursing-with-drag-coursing

Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland
https://www.change.org/petitions/taoiseach-prime-minister-of-ireland-support-a-bill-to-ban-the-cruel-practise-of-live-hare-coursing-in-ireland

Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-sponsoring-hare-coursing-in-ireland

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.

Email: Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie
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
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie

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.

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

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