As the three-day so-called “National Hare Coursing Festival” opens today at Powerstown Park, Clonmel, County Tipperary, CACS and other animal protection campaign groups protested outside the venue where captured hares were forced to run from hyped-up greyhounds.
Though muzzled, the dogs can and do inflict horrific injuries on the hares. The animals are routinely struck, pinned down, mauled, or tossed about like broken toys by the greyhounds. Reports filed by rangers attached to the NPWS confirm this, as does video footage taken by animal welfare observers.
With the election looming, we are hopeful that the tide may be turning against this blood sport: Many independent candidates have pledged to seek a ban on hare coursing, and the Green Party has made a manifesto pledge to press for a ban in government.
Pearse would have backed hare coursing ban...
We are also are releasing a document to coincide with the National Coursing Meeting which indicates very strongly that patriot Padraig Pearse would have backed a ban on hare coursing. We hope present day politicians, especially in the run-up to the election, will be inspired by Pearse’s example and press for the abolition of this horribly cruel blood sport.
In a letter (attached) written in 1967 to actor John Cowley (best known as Tom Riordan in the RTE drama series), Senator Margaret Pearse stated in reference to her brothers, Padraic and Willie: “I am certain that were they alive today, they would be foremost in condemning coursing for the sadistic spectacle it is.”
Then 89 years old, and writing from Linden Convalescent Home in Blackrock; she asserted that both brothers “would have been totally opposed to the inhuman treatment meted out to the innocent little hares at the coursing matches. At all times during their lives, they were kind to dumb animals and Padraic’s writings give many instances of his love for animals and birds.”
In this the year of the 1916 Rising Centenary, we suggest another way to honour Pearse’s supreme sacrifice for Ireland would be to end the scandal of live hare coursing that continues to shame this country after many other jurisdictions have outlawed it.
The hare is a precious part of Ireland’s multi-faceted wildlife heritage that is at the mercy of heartless, cruel minority. We have today written to all TDs and Senators asking them to follow in the brave footsteps of the Pearse brothers and fully back the protection of that heritage.