Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 21 - Answered on 24th September, 2015

Maureen O'Sullivan: (Dublin Central, Independent) To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason the National Parks and Wildlife Service has decided to no longer seek copies of post mortems carried out by vets at coursing meetings; and if she acknowledges that only a post mortem can reveal true cause of death and that for transparency, this should be requested to ensure no clubs can claim deaths from natural causes which could prove to be untrue.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys

Hare coursing is administered by the Irish Coursing Club, a body set up under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958, which is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Under the terms of the Wildlife Acts, licences are required by the Irish Coursing Club, covering their affiliated coursing clubs, if they wish to capture or tag hares for use at regulated hare coursing meetings. Such licenses are issued on an annual basis by my Department. I recently gave approval to the granting of the annual licence to the Irish Coursing Club for the 2015/2016 coursing season.

There are a total of 26 conditions attached to the licences. Where resources allow, officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department attend coursing meetings, on a spot-check basis, to monitor compliance with conditions on the licences granted by my Department. Veterinary officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine also attend some meetings on an annual basis.

To assist my officials in the monitoring of these events, my Department also receives reports from the Irish Coursing Club Control Stewards and Veterinary Surgeons in attendance on the day of hare coursing meetings.

It is a licence condition that a qualified veterinary surgeon should be in attendance during all coursing meetings and that a signed report on the general health of the hares and on any injuries or deaths of hares that occur during the meeting should be submitted to my Department. While I understand that post-mortem examinations are carried out at coursing meetings in certain circumstances, it has never been a licence condition that reports on these examinations are submitted to my Department.


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

Email "Minister Humphreys - Stop licensing cruel hare coursing" to Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
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(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 Humphreys,

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

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 hare 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.

Email: Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie
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.

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