Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 167 - Answered on 8th December, 2004
Trevor Sargent: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will consider the threat of myopathy for the hare species, which is a stress induced condition; and if he will end licences for hare coursing to minimise the threat.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8th December, 2004
Ref No: 29372/04
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr Dick Roche): Under section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976, my Department is responsible for the issue of an annual licence to the Irish Coursing Club and its affiliated clubs to capture live hares for the purpose of coursing.
There is no evidence that hare coursing in Ireland adversely impacts on the conservation of hare populations and there are no proposals to change existing arrangements for the licensed netting of wild hares for live hare coursing.
In the case of the coursing meeting last season in which the mortality was exceptionally high, the possibility of stress (myopathy) as a constructive factor was considered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department. While it was not possible to establish why, in this particular case, the hares should have been particularly vulnerable, my Department regarded this level of mortality as a serious matter. Accordingly, the club in question will, this year, be holding a scaled down event, closely monitored by my Department to ensure that its management regime does not increase the risk of myopathy.