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Clare Daly drafting Bill to outlaw hare coursing
Saturday January 31, 2015 14:32 by Ban Hare Coursing in Ireland
On the day that an alliance of animal welfare and conservation groups protested outside the office of main sponsor of the National Hare Coursing event, independent socialist TD for Dublin North, Clare Daly, confirmed that she was drafting a Bill to abolish the cruel so-called “sport” of hare coursing.
Clare Daly with campaigners outside the Boylesports office in Westmoreland Street, Dublin on January 30th
Clare, who joined us on the protest outside the Westmoreland Street, Dublin office of betting agency, Boylesports, has spoken out strongly against the blood sport in the past, especially during the debate on the Animal Health and Welfare legislation two years ago, a law that contained shameful exemptions for hare coursing from anti-cruelty measures.
Along with Dublin Central TD Maureen O’ Sullivan, she will now follow in the footsteps of the late Tony Gregory who, in 1993, introduced the first Private Members Bill that aimed to protect hares from the horrors of live coursing.
That Bill failed, but forced the muzzling of greyhounds at coursing events and other measures that the government of the day and the Irish Coursing Club promised would make coursing more humane.
Unfortunately the cruelty continued, as muzzling failed to prevent the greyhounds mauling and otherwise injuring the hares. Though the dramatic live “tug of war” scenes that Tony Gregory had described in the Dail, with hares being pulled asunder between competing dogs- came to an end, hares are still subjected to the terror of the chase, the stresses of unnatural captivity, and reports from wildlife rangers observing coursing events prove that at virtually every coursing fixture hares are forcibly struck by dogs, pinned to the ground, or tossed about by the faster and stronger greyhounds. Muzzling, instead of “eliminating the kill” from coursing as the politicians and the ICC pledged it would, just rendered it less visible.
The Bill that Clare Daly is now drafting aims to take up where Tony Gregory left off back in 1993. Though Private Members Bills rarely make it onto the statute books, they can, as demonstrated repeatedly over the decades, serve to bring issues to the fore and place them firmly on the political agenda.
We will be appealing to all parties in the Dail to allow a free vote on the Bill. The whips were ruthlessly applied when Tony Gregory tackled the issue. Even TDs who had vigorously opposed hare coursing were coerced into voting down the Gregory Bill.
We hope that a more enlightened approach will be adopted this time around.
With hare coursing banned in Britain and Northern Ireland, we are among the last nations that permit this cruel practise.
The following clip shows what happens at a typical hare coursing event, the “Irish Cup” fixture in County Limerick; and why we believe legislation is necessary to tackle this barbaric activity.
Protesters calling on Boylesports betting agency to stop sponsoring cruel hare coursing
Demo against sponsorship of hare coursing on January 30th, 2015