Hare coursing cruelty continues to shame Ireland...
Another Saint Patrick's Day...A Great Day for the Irish...what a pity that the Irish Hare, part of our wonderful wildlife heritage, is still at the mercy of coursing gangs backed by our government...
The hare coursing season runs from about the last week in September to the third week in February and involves approximately 7000 hares each season that are captured for the purpose. Though most coursing events are staged in the southern counties, coursing has a presence in twenty two of the twenty six counties. Clubs become “thinner on the ground” the further north one goes. For example, counties Mayo and Donegal have only club each. The counties without coursing clubs are Longford, Leitrim, Wicklow, and Monaghan. It is banned in Northern Ireland since 2011. The actual number of clubs has been declining since the 1930s.
Hare coursing is a blood sport that has nothing to do with any alleged “pest control”. It exists purely for the amusement of the people involved. It consists basically of contests in which pairs of greyhounds are set on hares, the aim being to test the speed and stamina of the dogs. While the intention is not to harm the hare (it serves as a mere lure for the dogs), the animal inevitably suffers when the dogs come into contact with it.
Hares are forcibly struck by the dogs, or mauled, or pinned to the ground, or tossed up in the air. The hare is a brittle-boned creature and its injuries in most cases cannot heal. This is why so-called “dispatchers” are used by every coursing club to kill off injured hares. Hares also suffer when being captured (with nets), and during captivity as they await coursing. Coursing can be held in all weather conditions...literally hail, rain or snow. Videos have been posted on YouTube of hares being coursed in water-logged fields.
The cruel nature of live hare coursing that all animal welfare groups, and (according to opinion polls) the majority of the Irish people, object to, has been repeatedly captured on film. The veracity of the following footage has not been questioned. As you will see, the “action” filmed is very similar to the types of incidents observed and reported by NPWS rangers.
The following three pieces of footage were filmed at the 2013 “Irish Cup” live hare coursing event, held at Limerick Racecourse in February:
Cruel coursing scene at Limerick Racecourse
Hare cries out when hit and mauled
Hare severely mauled and carried off field
A brief film about hare coursing in Ireland: