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Arts Minister shamefully gives go-ahead to extra day of cruel coursing "rehearsals"
01 February 2018

Minister for Arts & Heritage, Josepha Madigan, has given permission to the Irish Coursing Club to hold a second day of cruel hare coursing trials tomorrow in Clonmel (after trials today and ahead of the three-day coursing "finals" on February 10, 11 and 12).

These trials - which involve releasing greyhounds to chase hares up a field - became subject to the hare coursing licence last November, after ICABS brought them to the attention of the then Minister Heather Humphreys. A revised licence subsequently included the condition: "Trials may be only held on one day, but a coursing club may apply to to the Minister to hold a second day of trials in 'exceptional circumstances'."

The purpose of these trials is to assess novice coursing greyhounds, similar to trials held at greyhound racing tracks, with greyhound owners paying an entry fee of €25/30 euro. This is very lucrative for coursing clubs - the more trials they hold, the more money they make.

However, the National Parks & Wildlife Service and the Minister have interpreted these trials as hare training sessions - condition 23 of the licence states: "Trials should only be run for the express purpose of familiarising hares with the most direct route to the escape and no more than one dog should take part in any trial run".

This despite the fact that the Director of the National Parks & Wildlife Director previously stated in a memo to an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Arts Heritage: "It is understood that the purpose of such trials is apparently to assess the greyhounds...In many ways they could be viewed as a rehearsal for coursing meetings."

When Deputy Tommy Broughan this week asked Minister Josepha Madigan if she had granted permission to the Irish Coursing Club to hold a second day of trials, the response was: "My Department has, in the circumstances outlined to it, acceded to a request to hold a second day’s trial in relation to a coursing meeting which is scheduled on 10, 11 and 12 February". The Minister declined to outline the "exceptional circumstances" which led to this decision.

As far as we are concerned, the exceptional circumstances for the Irish Coursing Club is the amount of money they will make on these trials, in which timid, defenceless hares will be forced to run for their lives in front of greyhounds in a grotesque "rehearsal".

ICABS appealed to the Minister this week to, at the very least, give the hares respite from a second day of terror and trauma tomorrow, while they face three more days of barbarism the weekend after next, but she preferred to accede to the animal abusers instead.


Please join us in a fresh appeal to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish Government to put in place a permanent ban on hare coursing.

Email "Stop the cruelty - Ban hare coursing NOW" to,,

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook:

Contact Minister Heather Humphreys and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and demand an immediate withdrawal of the current coursing licence.

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

Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook -
Tweet to: @HHumphreysFG

Gerry Leckey
Wildlife Licensing Unit
National Parks & Wildlife Service
Ely Place, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 888 3289

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

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing

Stop Licensing Cruel Hare Coursing

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

Video: Ireland's hare coursing cruelty

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