Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 41 - Answered on Thursday, 7th July 2016

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD (Dublin Central, Independent)

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on the National Parks and Wildlife Services's reports of the injuries to and deaths of hares at live coursing meetings; and how she will address the illegal taking of hares for the hare trade?

Heather Humphreys TD (Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

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.

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. In the event of a hare dying while in the care of the coursing club, the veterinary surgeon will examine the hare, determine the cause of death and consider if a post mortem is necessary.

A very high proportion of the hares captured for hare coursing are, in fact, returned to the wild each year - an average of 99% of the hares used at hare coursing meetings have been returned to the wild over the past four hare coursing seasons.

There is an Open Season for the hare species, which extends from 26 September to 28 February of the following year and which allows for the hunting of hares. My Department is aware of the prevalence of illegal hare hunting around the country and successful prosecutions have been taken in recent years by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department relating to such illegal hunting. All incidents of illegal hare hunting should be reported to An Garda Síochána or to the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department.


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

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing

Save Irish hares from cruel coursing

Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland

Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

Contact Minister Heather Humphreys now and urge her stop licensing hare coursing

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

Email: Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie, ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie, taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie, Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/heather.humphreysfg
Tweet to: @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 refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares suffer and die 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.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and refuse to licence this cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Urgently contact An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Frances Fitzgerald. Ask them to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

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

An Tanaiste, Frances Fitzgerald
Department Of Justice
51 St. Stephen's Green
Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 1 602-8202 or +353 1 457 7712
Email: frances.fitzgerald@oir.ie
Tweet to: @FitzgeraldFrncs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frances-Fitzgerald/302584593224671

Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

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

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Email: michael.creed@oir.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=32&disp=mem

Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.
Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

The victims of coursing

All hares used in coursing are victims and they all suffer the fear and stress of being violently snatched from their habitats, thrown into crates, transported to coursing compounds and kept in captivity for months. Among the hare injuries and deaths recorded are:

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

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