Campaigners at Dail protest call for hare coursing ban
animal rights |
Saturday February 02, 2013 13:59 by Campaign to Protect the Irish Hare
A well supported protest was mounted outside Dail Eireann yesterday (Friday, February 1st) to coincide with the opening today of the three-day “National Hare Coursing Festival” in Clonmel, County Tipperary
Toby the greyhound on picket duty...
ULA Deputy Clare Daly was among those who attended. Together with Maureen O’ Sullivan TD, she has been to the forefront of the campaign to protect the Irish Hare.
Members and supporters of several animal protection groups including the Association of Hunt Saboteurs (AOHS), Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports (CACS) and the Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS) will come together to protest against the government’s refusal to include a ban on live hare coursing in its Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which is proceeding slowly through the Oireachtas. Instead, it has declared its intention to EXEMPT the cruel blood sport from prohibition under the provisions of the Bill.
The protest was staged on the eve of the 3 day National Hare coursing Festival which opens today... an annual event that will see scores of hares terrorized by pairs of greyhounds on a specially converted section of Powerstown Park Racecourse in Clonmel, County Tipperary.
Our objection to hare coursing is that hares are snatched from their natural home in the countryside, held in unnatural captivity, and then used as live bait for the greyhounds to chase. Despite the fact that coursing greyhounds have been muzzled since 1993, the dogs continue to inflict agonising injuries on the hares.
Hares at coursing events nationwide in the season shortly to end have been mauled, forcibly struck, pinned down under the weight of the powerful dogs, battered into the ground, and tossed into the air as if they were paper toys.
Reports on coursing meetings held in the 2011/2012 season obtained under FOI reveal that hares were subjected to an appalling range of injuries, and suffered horribly, throughout that season. The reports were filed by rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) who attend a number of coursing events each season in a monitoring capacity.
Below are extracts from those reports, proving that muzzling has not, despite the claims of government TDs and the Minister for Agriculture, eliminated cruelty from hare coursing.
Progress in campaign against hare coursing
The campaign to abolish hare coursing has been around since 1966, and with each year we feel we are drawing closer to a ban on this nightmarish practise. Only yesterday evening we learned that a graphic promoting the National hare coursing finals in Clonmel is no longer being displayed on the Irish Greyhound Board website. The image, featuring the dates and location for the coursing event along with the statement "first time on a weekend", was being prominently displayed on IGB web pages.
We hope this development presages a further distancing of the greyhound industry as a whole from hare coursing. We have appealed on many occasions to the IGB to sever its links with the blood sport. Hare coursing is a stain on the reputation of the industry, especially since the blood sport was banned in Britain and Northern Ireland. It has been banned in many other countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, for decades.
Drag coursing an alternative to coursing of live hares
We advocate the replacement of the live hare in coursing with a mechanical one, as happens in many countries that once permitted live coursing but have now banned it. Drag coursing replicates all the fun and excitement, the social aspect, the camaraderie etc of live coursing but without the cruelty.
A switch to drag coursing nationally would improve the greyhound industry’s currently appalling national and international image, apart from alleviating the plight of the Irish Hare, the gentlest and most inoffensive creature in the Irish countryside.
There are signs that the viability of drag coursing as an alternative is beginning to catch on. In early March, a major drag coursing event will be held at Listry, near Killarney in County Kerry. Greyhounds will chase a non-live lure and big crowds are expected.
We would pose the question: why make hares suffer needlessly when this humane alternative is available?
Deputies Clare Daly and Maureen O’ Sullivan will be moving a Private Members Bill to ban hare coursing if the government presses ahead with its proposed exemption for the blood sport in the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.
Here are extracts from the NPWS ranger reports for the 2011/12 hare coursing season:
Ennis/Clarecastle, December 10/11, 2011
According to ranger’s report, on day 1, 5 hares were hit, with 3 dying in escape after coursing. On day 2, 7 hares were hit, 2 killed, 4 injured, 1 put down and 2 died from injuries. This amounts to a total of 8 fatalities.
Gorey, 29/30 October, 2011
Over the two days of coursing 16 hares were hit by dogs, with 9 pinned and 7 dying of their injuries, according to NPWS ranger’s report. However, the vet’s report does not cite any hares injured or killed or euthanised.
Listowel, Co. Kerry, Oct 12/13, 2011
7 hares hit by greyhounds, 3 killed, 3 injured and 2 put down because of injuries, plus 1 died in coursing compound, a total of 7 fatalities.
Millstreet, December 30/31, 2011
3 hares were hit by dogs, 3 hares were dead at end of coursing. Ranger noted that “a number of hares (at least 3, probably more) had conjunctivitis, as confirmed by Vet. At least 9 hares had foot injuries.”
Murrintown, Wexford, 26/27 December, 2011
Ranger reported 6 hares hit by muzzled dogs on Day 2, with 6 injured and 2 killed. Meanwhile veterinary report cited 12 hares unfit for coursing, 4 hares injured and 16 “sick or otherwise unfit” after coursing. According to this coursing club’s Hare Capture Return, 86 hares were captured for coursing. However a number of 75 were cited at the start of coursing on day 1, leaving a discrepancy of 11 hares. In a memo from the ranger to his superior, he cited that the club informed him that they had a “break in on their hare paddock” and that “8 hares were missing and 3 killed”.
Tradaree, November 12/13, 2011, 2011
On day 1, 2 hares were hit and 1 killed. On day 2, ranger noted that 4 hares had died overnight and 1 after coursing. Vet’s report stated that 9 hares were “unfit for coursing, 1 injured and 1 unfit after coursing.
Thurles District, 29/30, October, 2011
10 hares hit over the two days, 2 hares killed, 2 injured and 2 died overnight in coursing compound.
Kilflynn, Co. Kerry, October 1 & 2, 2011
12 hares hit by dogs, 3 hares killed, 3 died of “natural causes”, 1 injured and 1 put down because of injuries.
Sevenhouses, Kilkenny, January 14/15
12 hares hit by muzzled dogs, 1 killed, 4 injured and 1 put down because of injuries.
Lixnaw, Co. Kerry, November 4/5/6, 2011
2 hares hit by greyhounds, 1 killed and 1 died of “natural causes”. Veterinary report answers ‘Nil’ to all questions regarding welfare of hares and makes no reference to any hare killed or dying of “natural causes”, despite the ranger’s ticking the yes box to veterinary involvement question.
Parksgrove, North Kilkenny, December 26/27, 2011
13 hares hit by muzzled dogs, 2 killed 2 put down because of injuries, with 2 “escaped”. Veterinary report states 2 hares injured, but no reference to 2 hares that had to be put down. The vet was noted as being “on call”. Who put down the hares, if not the vet?
Mitchelstown, November 5/6, 2011
7 hares hit by dogs, 3 injured and 2 put down as a result of their injuries, plus 1 found dead in escape.
Abbeydorney, Co. Kerry, October 22/23, 2011
6 hares hit by greyhounds, 1 killed.
Limerick City, November 5/6, 2011
10 hares struck by greyhounds, with 4 injured and 1 put down because of injuries, 1 “escaped”.
Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, November 26/27, 2011
7 hares struck by greyhounds with 3 injured. Despite the fact that it was indicated on the ranger’s report that there as veterinary involvement in the meeting, the vet cited nil hares injured at the meeting, so it would appear that these hares were not examined
Balbriggan, November 26/27, 2011
9 hares hit, 1 injured, according to NPWS ranger, with vet’s report stating that 2 hares were injured and 2 “sick or otherwise unfit” after coursing, and ICC control steward stating that 1 died of natural causes, and 1 injured hare released – did this receive veterinary attention?
Westmeath United, October 15/16, 2011
Ranger described coursing as follows: “There were 9 hares hit on Day 1. Of these, one hare was tossed and rolled on the ground; another hare was tossed and mauled; another was mauled on the ground by the two dogs and placed in a wooden box; another was hit about five times and mauled on the ground by the dogs. When the dog owners came running in, one of them grabbed the hare and lifted it away from the dogs by its side and then the steward took it from him and handled it in a more appropriate manner. The hare cried with what I presume was distress during this incident. The steward placed this hare in the wooden box. Another hare was tossed and badly mauled by the dogs later in the day. In all, 3 hit hares were retrieved and placed in a wooden box,” which was subsequently taken away by the vet, who stated in his report that 1 died and 2 were released.
Fermoy, October 19/20, 2011
6 hares hit by muzzled dogs, 1 injured and 1 put down because of injuries, with the ranger being informed that a hare was found dead the morning after in the escape. Vet’s report stated that 5 hares were injured (4 more than ranger stated) with 1 hare euthanised.
Ballyduff, Co. Kerry, November 18/19, 2011
4 hares hit by dogs, and 1 died of “natural causes”. Despite the fact that it was stated that there was veterinary involvement, the vet’s report made no mention of the hare death.
Ballyheighue, Co. Kerry, October 14/15/16, 2011
Ranger didn’t attend on Day 1. 4 hares struck over 2 days, with 1 hare killed and 1 dying of “natural causes”.
Limerick Regional, Clarina, October 15/16, 2012
15 hares hit by dogs, 5 “pinned” and 10 “tipped”, 5 injured and 2 died of injuries. Ranger stated that a post mortem was sought on the hares that died, with his line manager requesting via a note on the form the findings of the post mortem, stating “I presume it was internal injuries rather than muzzles coming off?” Ranger noted “Yes – muzzles did not come off.”
Ballinaboola, New Ross, October 8/9, 2011
14 hares hit by dogs, 14 hares injured, 1 killed and 1 died from injuries. Vet noted just 1 hare injured and 1 “sick or otherwise unfit after coursing”, in contrast to the 14 noted by the ranger. Did vet inspect any injured hares?
Loughrea, October 22/23, 2011
14 hares hit by muzzled dogs, with 3 put down because of injuries. It was noted that 3 hares were “unaccounted for” on release. According to the ranger’s notes, it was realised on release that a hare was injured, and it was then brought to the vet and euthanised.
Glin, Co. Limerick, October 7/8/9, 2011
Ranger stated that 2 hares were killed.
Nenagh, December 17/18, 2011
4 hares hit by muzzled dogs.
Mallow, October 22/23, 2011
9 hares hit by muzzled dogs, and 1 “escaped” from paddock.
Galway & Oranmore, Nov 10 & 11, 2011
10 hares hit, 4 pinned.
Charleville, Oct 29/30,2011
5 hares hit. It was stated that no vet was present, but on call, while the ICC control steward said there was veterinary involvement. The vet completed a veterinary report, despite not being present.
Castleisland, Co.Kerry, October 30/31, 2011
1 hare hit by muzzled dogs.
Castletown-Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath, December 17/18, 2011
6 hares hit by muzzled dogs, with 1 “bad grazing”. Vet stated 2 hares were injured.
East Donegal, December 3 and 4, 2011
Ranger stated 1 hare hit, 1 injured and died from injury.
End of extracts)
Coursing happens in the worst of weather
Hares untouched by coursing horror