Licence to net hares for coursing heralds 'season of cruelty'


THE ISSUING of a licence to allow the capture of hares for coursing has been described as “a huge disappointment” by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.

It said the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, by issuing the licence to the Irish Coursing Club to capture hares from the wild, heralded “a new season of coursing cruelty”.

“From today, coursers will be out with their nets, snatching timid hares from the wild for use as live lures before greyhounds at coursing meetings,” said Aideen Yourell, campaign director with the anti-blood sports council.

“There are in the region of 70 coursing clubs in the country and each club requires approximately 100 hares for their two- or three- day meetings which take place from October to February.

“Pregnant and nursing hares may also be snatched up in the nets, leaving vulnerable young behind in the wild,” Ms Yourell continued.

The council said captured hares were subjected to utter terror, stress and the risk of injury and death from being struck and mauled by muzzled dogs.

“Not a season goes by without hares dying from such batterings, according to documents obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act over the last number of years,” the council’s statement said.

“This is . . . a huge disappointment to the majority who want blood sports banned. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports’ campaign will continue until the day coursing becomes history.”